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Jan 29, 2015

Production, price issues complicate Kasich’s severance tax plan
 

Low production, plus a sharp drop in oil prices, may complicate Ohio Governor John Kasich’s plan to help pay for a statewide income tax cut by hiking taxes on oil and natural gas producers, reports the Daily Signal, the Heritage Foundation’s news site. The Signal says that an analysis of Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) records by Matt Mayer, president of the free-market think tank Opportunity Ohio, shows that yearly oil production in Ohio has been tens of millions of barrels short of Kasich’s projections. Mayer said the less-than-projected production and low oil prices guarantee a severance tax hike would not be the revenue source that Kasich has been counting on. For more, read the full story. More stories related to severance taxes can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 29, 2015

Range Resources fined $800,000 for water violations in Pennsylvania
 

Oil and natural gas drilling company Range Resources has agreed to pay an $800,000 fine, plus fund a mine reclamation project in Pennsylvania, to settle charges that it didn't accurately record how much water it was withdrawing from waterways and was taking more than allowed, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The violations occurred between July 2009 and February 2014, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP says that Range has since changed its withdrawal, monitoring and reporting practices so they meet the requirements of its water management plan. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 28, 2015

Oilfield-services company Schlumberger to cut 9,000 jobs
 

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield-services provider, plans to cut 9,000 jobs, or about 7 percent of its work force, as it focuses on controlling costs in response to the fall in oil prices. The newspaper says that Schlumberger’s customers have slashed capital budgets and reduced the number of rigs amid a nearly 60 percent decline in oil prices in the past six months. Schlumberger has operations in Ohio, where it is involved in drilling in the Utica shale play. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 28, 2015

West Texas ‘hunkers down’ as shale oil boom goes bust
 

With oil prices falling by more than 50 percent since June 2014, the gleeful mood of recent years has turned glum in the West Texas oil patch as the frenzy of shale drilling has come to a halt, reports the New York Times. The newspaper says oil companies are decommissioning drilling rigs and announcing layoffs, and small companies that lease equipment have fallen behind on their payments. But the Times notes that West Texas is accustomed to the boom-and-bust nature of the oil business, with a jewelry store owner telling the paper, “We are always prepared for slowdowns. We just hunker down.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 27, 2015

Plunging oil prices threaten growth of Ohio’s shale industry
 

Columbus Business First reports that plummeting oil prices are threatening to devalue the fruits of shale drilling at a time when Ohio's oil and natural gas industry is trying to find solid footing. The newspaper says that companies and governments operating in the eight counties at the heart of Ohio's shale gas boom are pained by the price drop and preparing for the worst – waning investments by drillers, less consulting work for engineering firms, lower sales tax collections, fewer jobs and drops in spending at stores, restaurants and hotels. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 26, 2015

Antero closes deal to acquire 12,000 net acres for drilling in Ohio
 

Denver-based Antero Resources Corp. has added to its Utica Shale holdings, closing on an acquisition of 12,000 net acres in Ohio, primarily in Monroe County, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Antero said it paid $240 million for the acreage, giving it 115 new locations for drilling, plus five producing horizontal wells and an eight-mile, high-pressure gathering pipeline. For more, read the full story. More stories related to Antero can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 26, 2015

Drop in oil prices likely to affect debate over Ohio severance taxes
 

The drop in oil prices will likely affect debate in the Ohio Statehouse this year over taxing and regulating the oil and gas industry as the future of Ohio's young shale boom becomes more uncertain, reports Gongwer Ohio. Tom Stewart, principal at Oilfield Policy Advisors LLC, and Chris Zeigler, executive director of the American Petroleum Institute Ohio, told Gongwer that low oil and natural gas prices will make it more difficult for Governor John Kasich to follow through on his effort to raise the state’s severance tax on oil and gas production. Kasich’s latest proposal is expected to emerge when the governor unveils his two-year executive budget in February.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 23, 2015

Columbia Gas president takes new position with parent company NiSource
 

Longtime Columbia Gas of Ohio President Jack Partridge is taking a new leadership position at parent company NiSource Inc., serving as chief policy officer across the company’s seven-state region, reports Columbus Business First. Partridge told the newspaper that he will be involved in policy issues and Columbia Gas’ proposed shale-gas pipelines and other infrastructure projects. He will be succeeded as president on Feb. 1 by Dan Creekmur, currently the general manager of Columbia Gas' Ohio operations. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 23, 2015

Falling prices to hurt industries tied to oil and natural gas producers
 

U.S. manufacturers and other industries are bracing for the impact of plunging crude oil prices that are forcing energy producers to cancel or postpone new drilling projects, reports the International Business Times. The news site says the slowdown in activity by drillers may deliver a hit to steelmakers, local banks and construction firms. The Business Times notes that the largest industrial victim of crashing oil prices so far is United States Steel Corp., which recently said it will lay off more than 750 workers at its plants in Lorain, Ohio and Houston that make pipes and tubes for oil and gas exploration and drilling. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 22, 2015

Report: Oil price decline could slow fracking growth in Ohio
 

The drop in oil prices could slow the growth of hydraulic fracturing operations in Ohio, reports the Telegraph Forum in Bucyrus, Ohio. The newspaper says that Houston-based PacWest Consulting Partners recently revised its 2015 expectations from a 6 percent increase in horizontal wells fracked across the country to a 12 percent decrease. However, a PacWest consultant said that young shale formations such as the Utica play in Ohio are expected to continue to see some growth because they're still ramping up production, but at a much slower rate than had been forecasted. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 22, 2015

Walker v. Noon case makes list of top stories for 2014
 

The Supreme Court of Ohio’s decision last year to accept a case that would resolve disputes over the state’s Dormant Minerals Act has been named one of the top stories of 2014 by Farm and Dairy. Bricker & Eckler LLP represents the mineral rights owners in the pending case, Walker v. Noon (Supreme Court of Ohio Case No. 2014-0803). The decision by the Supreme Court likely will affect thousands of acres of mineral rights across the state. (See our Sept. 5, 2014 blog “Ohio Supreme Court Accepts Landmark Dormant Minerals Act case.”)  For more, read the full Farm and Dairy story.
 


 
Posted by D. Gerken in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Jan 21, 2015

Gulfport to lease Ohio land from Murray Energy for natural gas drilling
 

Murray Energy Corp. has agreed to lease nearly 6,000 acres in eastern Ohio to Oklahoma City-based Gulfport Energy for natural gas drilling, reports the Intelligencer/News Register in Wheeling, West Virginia. The newspaper says the agreement calls for American Energy Corp., the Murray subsidiary that operates the Century Mine near Beallsville, Ohio, to lease 2,075 acres to Gulfport. In addition, Murray’s Ohio Valley Coal Co., which operates the Powhatan No. 6 mine in Alledonia, Ohio, will lease 3,848 acres to Gulfport. For more, read the full story. More articles related to Gulfport can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 21, 2015

Obama administration pushes for lower methane emissions from oil and gas wells
 

The Obama administration has set a goal of cutting methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector by nearly half in the next 10 years as part of an effort to reduce the release of greenhouse gases, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose rules this summer to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas wells, compressor stations and other sources. It also will issue guidelines for cutting emissions of smog-forming compounds from existing oil and gas facilities in areas of the country that need to improve their ozone air quality levels. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 20, 2015

Kasich among governors renewing push for oil and gas severance taxes
 

Bloomberg reports that some states, including Ohio, are renewing efforts to pass taxes on oil and natural gas extraction, but drillers say it is the wrong time to raise their costs with oil prices plunging. At least 17 states in 2014 considered imposing or amending severance taxes, according to Bloomberg, and many are expected to introduce similar bills this year. The news service notes that Ohio Governor John Kasich plans to seek a higher tax on drillers to offset an income-tax cut, and Democratic Governor-elect Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania wants a severance tax to fund education and infrastructure. For more, read the full story. More articles related to severance taxes can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 20, 2015

New company will look for natural gas in Marcellus, Utica shale plays
 

A new company, Laurel Mountain Energy LLC, is being launched in Pittsburgh to look for and produce shale gas in the Appalachian region, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says that Laurel Mountain has been created by TPH Partners, the private equity arm of investment and merchant bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., and Clark and David Nicklas, whose Vista Resources Inc. has drilled more than 1,000 wells in Pennsylvania and the Rocky Mountain region. The new company will focus on the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian shale formations in western Pennsylvania. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 20, 2015

Pennsylvania agency probes possible problem with gas royalties
 

Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is looking into whether some companies operating in the Marcellus shale gas region are shortchanging the state on royalty money, reports National Public Radio’s State Impact news service. The state agency manages natural gas drilling on public forest land and has 117 active leases with nearly 20 companies. According to State Impact, DCNR Chief Counsel Richard Morrison said the agency is “proactively and aggressively pursuing” some royalty issues, but he declined to specify which companies are being investigated or whether DCNR plans to file lawsuits. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 16, 2015

Pennsylvania still waiting for answer to ‘forced pooling’ question
 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the first modern test case of a controversial section of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Conservation Law ended with a fizzle in 2014 when the drilling company that sought to use its provisions withdrew its application. The newspaper says the company, Hilcorp Energy, wanted to use the “forced pooling” provisions of the law to drill and hydraulically fracture the Utica shale formation in northwestern Pennsylvania at a site where a fraction of the property owners had refused to lease their drilling rights. Legal observers had hoped the case would clear up questions about how the provisions in the 53-year-old law apply to gas production, but the Post-Gazette says Hilcorp decided to pull the application and move forward with drilling on 99 percent of the acreage it had under lease in the targeted area. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 15, 2015

Expert thinks crude oil prices could go as low as $30 a barrel
 

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, is predicting that crude oil prices could bottom out at $30 a barrel in 2015 in a market he called “unprecedented and volatile,” reports the Dallas Business Journal. Kloza told the newspaper that overall, the price of crude will average between $60 and $70 a barrel over the course of the year. He also said that gasoline prices will average $2.45 a gallon nationwide. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 15, 2015

Utica Shale Academy looks to expand in eastern Ohio
 

The Utica Shale Academy, Ohio's first and only charter school geared toward the oil and gas industry, is looking to expand as soon as the next school year, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says the academy, which is located in Columbiana County, is looking at neighboring counties such as Belmont and Jefferson to become sites for similar schools that would offer online and in-classroom teaching to train students in various aspects of oil and gas work. The Utica Shale Academy opened in September 2014. (See our June 23, 2014 blog “Utica Shale Academy gearing up for September opening.”) For more, read the full Business First story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 14, 2015

Gulfport Energy adds 22 new wells in Utica shale play
 

Gulfport Energy Corp. added 22 new wells in eastern Ohio's Utica shale play during the fourth quarter of 2014, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. According to the newspaper, Gulfport says six of the wells are located in the condensate window of the play, 12 wells are in the wet gas window, and four are in the dry gas window. Gulfport also has six horizontal drilling rigs operating in the Utica shale region. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 14, 2015

Latest drop in crude oil prices the steepest since 2009 recession
 

Oil prices took another sharp turn downward on January 12th to levels not seen since the depths of the 2009 recession, reports the New York Times. The newspaper says several international banks predicted even lower prices later this year because of an oversupply of crude oil in the global market. According to the Times, the latest price drop of more than 5 percent has brought several crude oil benchmarks down by more than 55 percent since June 2014 in one of the fastest declines ever for the commodity. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 14, 2015

Report: Production declines quickly at Ohio shale gas wells
 

Quick drops in production are showing up in nearly all of Ohio’s horizontally drilled natural gas wells, reports the Akron Beacon Journal. The newspaper says such declines are a common and expected occurrence for shale wells, even in ones expected to produce for 30 years or more. The bottom line, according to the Beacon Journal, is that shale wells produce the most in the first few years or, as evidenced in the sharply declining production rates in Ohio, their first few months. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 13, 2015

Economist: $60-a-barrel oil is ‘sweet spot’ for U.S. economy
 

Economist Bud Weinstein says oil priced at $60 a barrel is the “sweet spot” where the U.S. economy gets a boost without putting the brakes on oil-producing states, reports the Dallas Morning News. “A strong case can be made that with oil in the $60 range, the pluses for the U.S. economy outweigh the negatives, even in the state of Texas,” Weinstein, associate director of Southern Methodist University’s Maguire Energy Institute, told the newspaper. He said that when oil is selling for $55 to $60 a barrel, drivers save about $100 per month per household, and American manufacturers can make products cheaper, increasing their competitiveness abroad. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 13, 2015

U.S. oil companies may see tightening of credit because of fall in crude prices
 

U.S. oil companies could see the amount of money they can borrow shrink significantly in April when banks reassess credit conditions amid falling oil prices, according to FuelFix.com. The energy news site says that tighter credit would reduce the cash that companies need to drill pricey wells in shale basins, a painful prospect for firms that rely on high spending levels to maintain oil production and their income levels. Unless crude prices climb back by spring, financial institutions will reset their credit assumptions about the value of oil reserves, says FuelFix. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 12, 2015

American Energy Partners combines Utica, Marcellus shale subsidiaries
 

American Energy Partners LP is combining its two Appalachian shale gas production subsidiaries into one business that controls more than 300,000 acres in eastern Ohio and West Virginia, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says that American Energy-Utica LLC, which focuses on Ohio natural gas exploration and drilling, and American Energy-Marcellus LLC, which concentrates on the Marcellus play in West Virginia, will merge to form American Energy Appalachia Holdings LLC. The transaction creates one of the largest “pure-play” Appalachian companies in the country, according to American Energy. For more, read the full story. More articles related to American Energy Partners can be found here.

 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Jan 12, 2015

Helmerich & Payne’s idling of drilling rigs is sign of oil industry downturn
 

With oil prices plunging at an ever-quickening rate, producers are beginning to slash the number of drilling rigs around the country, reports the New York Times. The newspaper says that Helmerich & Payne, the Tulsa, Okla.-based contract rig company, has announced it plans to idle up to 50 rigs over the next month, sending shudders through the oil and natural gas industry. The Times says Helmerich & Payne’s announcement was an early indication that the oil industry, with its history of booms and busts, was in the early stages of its latest downturn. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 12, 2015

Pennsylvania natural gas industry dependent on Ohio injection wells
 

The Herald in Sharon, Pennsylvania reports that Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry has been able to grow in part by sending drilling waste to injection wells in Ohio. As an example, the newspaper points to five injection wells in Vienna, Ohio near Youngstown that accepted 350,000 barrels of waste from Pennsylvania in the first half of 2014, according to records at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Herald says it is far easier to dispose of drilling waste in Ohio where the state monitors injection wells, but the longer the gas industry drills in Pennsylvania, the greater the pressure will be to place disposal wells closer to drilling sites. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 09, 2015

EID posts blog regarding new report on seismic events in Ohio
 

A blog post by Energy In Depth (EID) Ohio says that a new report by the Seismological Society of America linking hydraulic fracturing to seismic events in Poland Township, Ohio last March should sound familiar. EID says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) studied that same event almost a year ago, using it as the basis to impose new permitting requirements on drilling operators. For more, read the full EID blog.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 09, 2015

GreenHunter hits snag on pipeline project in Pennsylvania, West Virginia
 

GreenHunter Resources Inc. is dealing with a setback on its plan to build a pipeline system from Claysville, Pennsylvania to the Ohio River at Benwood, West Virginia, reports the Intelligencer/News-Register in Wheeling. Citing the company’s most recent earnings report, the newspaper says that Texas-based GreenHunter canceled an agreement with Major Pipeline of Michigan after Major Pipeline failed to obtain funding for the project, which calls for separate pipelines for fresh water, brine and hydrocarbons. The newspaper says that GreenHunter has taken over the project and will seek financing to build the system on its own. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Jan 08, 2015

Ohio oil and gas industry had its ups and downs in 2014
 

Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry experienced a number of highs and lows during 2014, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The newspaper says the high notes included big increases in drilling and production and the industry having spent or committed to invest more than $6 billion in oil and gas infrastructure. The lows were reports of seismic activity near oil and gas operations as well as problems at well sites that included a fire in Monroe County and a fatal explosion in Noble County. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jan 08, 2015

Vantage to pay nearly $1 million for stream damage in Pennsylvania
 

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Colorado-based gas well operator Vantage Energy has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in fines for damage to streams caused by a landslide and wastewater spill at a Greene County shale well pad in southwestern Pennsylvania.  The newspaper says an agreement signed by Vantage and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection requires the company to remove blockage from the streams and restore the land around the Porter Street pad in Franklin Township by the end of 2015. Vantage issued a statement saying the violations were isolated, and some “were related to legacy development projects that Vantage acquired,” according to the Tribune-Review. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 07, 2015

Murder charges tied to oil industry cast cloud over North Dakota reservation
 

The New York Times reports that charges of murder for hire and other crimes connected to the oil industry have upended business as usual on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Two murder cases, one in Spokane, Washington and the other in North Dakota, have been tied to oil business on the reservation, according to the newspaper. The Times also says that anxiety about the environmental and social costs of the oil boom, as well as about tribal mismanagement and oil-related corruption, have risen to the surface after six years of rapid oil development on the reservation. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 07, 2015

Oil and gas companies expected to look for acquisition opportunities
 

An analysis by energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie says upstream oil and natural gas companies are waiting out volatility in the commodities markets, reports FuelFix.com, but many are expected to be on the hunt for acquisitions after the dust settles in the crude oil market. Wood McKenzie says that attractive deals will come as companies struggling with lower crude prices meet with others looking to take advantage of lower-valued assets. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 06, 2015

Declining costs should help balance lower prices for U.S. oil producers
 

Bloomberg reports that a new analysis by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says U.S. oil producers battling the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for market share may still increase output as costs decline almost as fast as oil prices. According to Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs says that the slump in benchmark U.S. crude futures, which are down more than 40 percent this year, is driving producers to move drill rigs to lower-cost fields. “Costs are falling nearly as fast as the price, which means oil producers can spend less to get the same or potentially even more in terms of production,” the bank said in the report. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 06, 2015

Southwestern Energy closes deals in Marcellus, Utica shale plays
 

Norway-based Statoil has sold part of its stake in an oil and natural gas field in the Marcellus shale play to Southwestern Energy for $394 million, reports the Business Times in Singapore. The newspaper says Statoil, like its rivals, is stepping up efforts to sell assets and preserve cash as the energy industry faces a slump in the price of oil. The Business Times also reports that Houston-based Southwestern Energy has closed an additional acquisition of oil and gas assets in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in a $4.98 billion transaction with Chesapeake Energy Corp. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jan 05, 2015

Oil and gas states preparing for cuts as falling prices hurt their economies
 

States dependent on oil and natural gas revenue are bracing for layoffs, slashing agency budgets and growing increasingly anxious about the ripple effect that falling oil prices may have on their local economies, reports the New York Times. The newspaper says the concerns are cutting across traditional oil states such as Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Alaska as well as those like North Dakota that are benefiting from the nation’s latest energy boom. But experts and elected officials told the Times that an extended downturn in oil prices seems unlikely to create the economic disasters that accompanied the 1980s oil bust, because energy-producing states have diversified their economies. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 05, 2015

Reports say outlook is stable for natural gas pipeline and midstream industries
 

Two recent reports by Fitch Ratings show the credit ratings and sector outlooks for the North American natural gas pipeline and midstream industries are generally stable, according to Platts. The news service says that is the case despite the dramatic drop in crude oil prices and the continued weakness of prices for natural gas liquids. "We expect continued stability as we've seen in the past in regard to natural gas pipelines," Peter Molica, a Fitch senior director, told Platts, adding that natural gas has not been under the same price pressure as crude oil. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 02, 2015

Oil-service companies expected to lower prices to help struggling customers
 

Oilfield contractors hired to drill wells and fracture rock to bring crude oil and natural gas to the surface will have to lower their prices by as much as 20 percent to help keep their cash-strapped oil and gas customers working, according to Bloomberg. The news service says the price cuts could carve out more than $3 billion from the 2015 earnings outlined by analysts for the world’s four biggest oil-service companies: Schlumberger Ltd., Halliburton Co., Baker Hughes Inc., and Weatherford International Plc. The potential losses loom just as the service providers were looking ahead to higher rates, Bloomberg says. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jan 02, 2015

Saudi Arabia won’t cut output to drive up the price of oil
 

The New York Times reports that the oil minister of Saudi Arabia has said that his country would not cut production to prop up oil markets even if nations outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) do so. The Times called the comment by Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi one of the strongest signals that the world’s top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market’s biggest slump in years. Al-Naimi was quoted as saying that speculators were responsible for the fall in oil prices to half their levels of six months ago and what he called a lack of cooperation from non-OPEC producers. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Miscellaneous   |  Permalink

 

Dec 31, 2014

Summit Midstream, XTO Energy to develop $400 million project in Utica shale play
 

Summit Midstream Partners and XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, have announced that they will develop and operate a $400 million natural gas gathering system to service XTO’s production from Belmont and Monroe counties in southeastern Ohio, according to the Youngstown Business Journal. The newspaper says the system will be owned and developed by Summit Midstream Utica LLC, a new subsidiary of Summit Investments. XTO will be the anchor shipper and has dedicated 29,000 acres to Summit Midstream Utica under a long-term gathering agreement, the companies said. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 30, 2014

Ohio legislators pass bill that deals with oil and natural gas leases
 

The Ohio General Assembly recently passed Substitute House Bill 9, which among other things, specifies that an oil and gas lease creates an interest in real estate. This seemingly minor change could have far-reaching implications in light of recent debates over the nature of an oil and gas lease in the context of the Ohio Dormant Minerals Act (See our Sept. 18, 2014 blog "New video addresses key issues of Ohio's Dormant Minerals Act") and Ohio real estate broker statutes.The full House Bill 9 can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 29, 2014

Drillers shutting down rigs as oil prices fall below $60 a barrel
 

Facing oil prices that have fallen below $60 a barrel amid escalating competition from suppliers abroad, U.S. oil drillers have idled the largest number of rigs in almost two years, reports the News-Journal in Longview, Texas. Citing a report from Baker Hughes Inc., the newspaper says the number of rigs targeting oil fell by 29 in mid-December for the biggest weekly decline since December 2012. The drop in rig count comes at a time when plunging global oil prices are threatening to slow the U.S. shale-drilling boom. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 29, 2014

Monroe County, Ohio problem results in precautionary evacuations
 

The Columbus Dispatch reports that about 25 families in eastern Ohio had only restricted access to their homes for more than a week because of a natural gas leak at a well operated by Triad Hunter LLC in Monroe County. A spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said crews lost control of the well on December 13th, and families were evacuated from within a 1.5-mile radius of the site. Crews brought the well under control on December 23. According to a press release from Triad Hunter’s parent company, Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., the previously drilled and completed Stalder 3UH well had been temporarily plugged and abandoned in preparation for the drilling of three additional horizontal wells on the Stalder pad. The company said the well began to flow uncontrollably while re-commencing production operations. For more, read the full Dispatch story. The Magnum Hunter release can be found here.

 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 26, 2014

Long-time OOGA Executive VP Stewart announces his retirement
 

After serving 23 years as executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), Tom Stewart has announced his retirement and his new role as a consultant to the association. In addition, OOGA says its Executive Committee has elected Shawn Bennett, currently the association’s senior vice president, as the new executive vice president. A press release from OOGA calls Stewart “an unwavering advocate for the oil and gas industry,” who has worked with Ohio lawmakers to craft “effective, sensible legislation to improve industry safety and oversight.” Prior to joining OOGA in August 2014 (See our August 27, 2014 blog, “Bennett leaves EID-Ohio for post at Ohio Oil and Gas Association") Bennett served as director of Energy In Depth-Ohio (EID), a grassroots advocacy, research and education initiative for responsible oil and gas development. For more, read the OOGA release. More articles about Stewart can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 23, 2014

Groups accuse U.S. EPA of lack of oversight of Ohio injection well program
 

Ohio Citizen Action and the Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund have released a report that highlights what they claim are failures by state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to properly operate Ohio’s oil and gas waste disposal well program. The report’s conclusions are based on an audit by 16 citizen investigators who compiled profiles of 43 injection wells.  For more, read the full report.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 23, 2014

Plunge in oil prices could drive mergers and acquisitions
 

The plunge in the price of oil to a five-year low may trigger a new wave of mergers and acquisitions in the United States energy sector, reports Smart Investor. The magazine says highly leveraged and smaller producers struggling to cope with oil prices below $70 a barrel could be forced to sell assets to remain financially viable. “I think you will see a bunch of companies with fairly strong balance sheets start looking to be acquirers,” John Howell, chief executive of Houston-based Portfolio Decisions, told Smart Investor. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 22, 2014

American Energy Utica secures 12 well permits in Utica shale play
 

American Energy Utica LLC recently secured 12 new permits for horizontal wells in the Utica shale play in Ohio, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. Citing data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the newspaper says American Energy Utica was awarded seven well permits in Guernsey County and five permits in Harrison County. According to the Business Journal, the permit activity is a sign that energy companies are not letting up on their focus on developing the southern portion of the Utica shale play. For more, read the full story. Articles related to American Energy Partners can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 22, 2014

Commodity prices drive PDC’s decision to idle drilling rig in Ohio
 

Columbus Business First reports that PDC Energy Inc. will temporarily idle its drilling rig in Ohio’s Utica shale play in 2015 and concentrate on the Wattenberg field in Colorado as a result of dropping commodity prices. The newspaper says Denver-based PDC will spend $38 million in Ohio next year to complete a four-well pad in Guernsey County and maintain its leasehold interests, but that spending is down 80 percent from $190 million in 2014. The company said it expects to resume its Utica shale drilling program “when commodity prices and netback realizations rebound.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 19, 2014

Bricker & Eckler presents: Forecasting Energy Initiatives
 

On January 15, 2015, Bricker & Eckler LLP will host its next Energy Exchange, which will take place from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the firm’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. This Energy Exchange event, titled “Forecasting Energy Initiatives,” will feature key presenter, Adam Ward, Assistant Chief at Ohio EPA, Central District Office. Adam will provide an update on Ohio’s response to the Clean Power Plan under section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act and future implications of the legislation. Additionally, Bricker attorneys Matt Warnock and Thomas Siwo will discuss legislative changes and issues to watch in 2015, including recent energy developments, shale's economic impact on Ohio, important industry fluctuations and notable energy regulations. 

There is no cost to attend Energy Exchange. A cocktail reception and networking session will follow the presentations. For additional information or to register, click here.


 
Posted by . Shale Task Force in  Miscellaneous   |  Permalink

 

Dec 19, 2014

Estimate of recoverable gas in Marcellus shale play rises 50 percent
 

A new federal estimate of the volume of recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus shale play puts the amount at 50 percent more than the previous estimate, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently estimated there are 64.9 trillion cubic feet of "proved reserves" locked up in the Marcellus shale. EIA says proved reserves are “estimated volumes of hydrocarbon resources that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Dec 19, 2014

Range Resources reports record gas flow from Utica shale well
 

Range Resources Corp. believes the initial natural gas flow rate for its exploratory Utica shale well in Washington County, Pennsylvania is a record for any shale developer in the Appalachian basin, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the Fort Worth, Texas-based company reported its Claysville Sportsman's Club No. 1 well posted a record initial flow rate of 59 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Range Resources’ officials also said that they believe the test confirms the company's interpretation of the underlying geology of its southwestern Pennsylvania acreage. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Dec 18, 2014

FERC signs off on pipeline to move Marcellus gas to New England, New York
 

U.S. energy regulators have approved a $700 million pipeline project designed to bring cheap natural gas from shale wells in Pennsylvania to higher priced markets in New England and New York, reports the Pipeline & Gas Journal. The industry publication says the project's backers, including Williams Partners LP and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., have reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has signed off on the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline that will run from Pennsylvania's Susquehanna County to the existing Tennessee and Iroquois pipelines in Wright, New York. The project is the first to be approved out of a number of proposals designed to bring Marcellus shale gas to New York and New England. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Dec 17, 2014

Natural gas from Pennsylvania will be exported to India
 

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that a natural gas company in India has signed a long-term agreement to buy gas sourced from shale fields in Pennsylvania. According to the newspaper, the midstream subsidiary of Washington, D.C.-based WGL Holdings Inc. will sell between 3.4 million and 4.3 million cubic feet of natural gas to India's leading natural gas company, Gail Ltd., over the next 20 years. The gas will be transported via pipeline to Dominion's Cove Point export facility on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where it will be liquefied and shipped overseas. For more, read the full story.

 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Dec 16, 2014

Drop in oil prices may signal slowdown in global economy
 

The New York Times reports that oil prices have continued to drop with mounting evidence that the frenzy of American oil production would continue well into 2015 even while growth in global demand is declining. The newspaper says the swoon in oil prices led to a steep decline in equities on December 12, as investors feared that declining energy demand meant the global economy was slowing. “People are scared that the drop in oil demand is the first leg down for the global economy that had been led by the growth in the emerging markets,” Nancy T. Schmitt, president of Taum Sauk Investments, told the Times. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 16, 2014

Ohio pipeline project given green light by federal agency
 

Federal regulators have approved a $468.5 million pipeline project that will send natural gas from the Utica shale play in eastern Ohio to the Gulf Coast, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently signed off on the project by Texas Eastern, a subsidiary of Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. The pipeline, slated for completion by the end of 2015, will stretch from the Kensington gas processing plant in Columbiana County, Ohio, through Carroll, Jefferson and Belmont counties before tying into a Texas Eastern interconnection in Monroe County. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 15, 2014

Expert predicts Utica shale play will be productive for 50 years
 

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that an energy analyst is predicting that Ohio’s Utica shale play will produce vast quantities of natural gas and liquids for the next 50 years. “Ohio is going to be very, very busy for a very long time,” Irene Haas of Wunder­lich Securities said at the recent Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Oilfield Expo 2014 and Safety Congress. The newspaper reports that Haas also said shale drillers in Ohio are starting to move away from the so-called wet gas window and moving eastward toward the Ohio River to tap highly productive gas wells in Belmont and Monroe counties. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 15, 2014

Pipeline companies working to move natural gas out of Northeast
 

Spurred by growing natural gas production in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, the pipeline industry is planning to modify its systems to allow bi-directional flow that could move up to 8.3 billion cubic feet of gas per day out of the Northeast region, reports the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). For more, read the full EIA report.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Dec 12, 2014

‘Cracker’ projects advance as Appalachia becomes petrochemical hot spot
 

The Appalachian region has emerged as a hot spot for potential petrochemical projects, with three companies vying for position in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, reports the Youngstown Business Journal.  The newspaper says that progress is being made on the development of: (i) Royal Dutch Shell’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania; (ii) a cracker facility by Brazilian energy companies Odebrecht and Braskem in Wood County, W.Va.; and (iii) a project by Appalachian Resins in Monroe County, Ohio. According to the Business Journal, the companies are drawn to the Appalachian region by the gas resources in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. For more, read the full story. More articles related to cracker plants can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Dec 12, 2014

Report: U.S. shale oil to remain profitable despite oil price plunge
 

Shale Gas International reports that analysts at Colorado-based IHS Inc. are saying that the vast majority of U.S. shale oil deposits will continue to be profitable despite the drop in oil prices in the world market. According to the shale industry news site, a new IHS report says about 80 percent of potential gross U.S. tight-oil capacity additions in 2015 have a break-even price ranging from $50 to $69 a barrel, and would remain resilient at West Texas Intermediate prices of $70 a barrel. IHS also estimates tight-oil production growth at about 700,000 barrels per day in 2015 at an average price of $77 a barrel. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 11, 2014

Natural gas gaining ground on coal in West Virginia
 

Natural gas is showing signs of supplanting coal as an energy source in West Virginia, reports Farm and Dairy. Citing research from Forbes magazine, the newspaper says production reports show West Virginia’s coal industry has waned since its peak in 2008, while natural gas drilling activity has increased substantially. For more, read the full story. The Forbes report can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Dec 11, 2014

Plummeting oil prices hurting conventional wells in Pennsylvania
 

The steep slide in crude oil prices is hurting petroleum producers in Pennsylvania, with Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Producers President Lou D'Amico telling the Oil City Derrick that the price drop is “putting a monkey wrench into the industry's economy.” His comment came after global crude oil prices plummeted at the end of November and the price of PennGrade, the paraffin-rich petroleum produced in shallow wells throughout the four-state Appalachian Basin, was the lowest since May 2010. The newspaper says 2014 has been especially turbulent for producers of Pennsylvania's 11,000 conventional wells, with the price of PennGrade falling from $100 per barrel in July to the recent price of $62.15 a barrel. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Dec 10, 2014

Group negotiations on natural gas rights cool in Pennsylvania
 

While owners of oil and gas mineral rights can still gain leverage by negotiating as groups, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that such deals have become less common in Pennsylvania. That is the case, the magazine reports, now that the push to lease big chunks of land has slowed as acreage in key drilling spots is less available and low gas prices have reduced competition among producers. Energy companies reportedly are doing more business with one another, or focusing on soon-to-expire oil and gas leases. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Dec 09, 2014

OPEC’s decision on oil output to hurt weakest players in energy business
 

The Dallas Morning News reports that the refusal by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to curb crude oil output in the face of plummeting prices has set the energy world on a painful course that will leave the weakest behind, from governments to U.S. wildcatters. But the newspaper says that U.S. oil patch executives have vowed to drill on, asserting they can still profit at oil prices well below $70 a barrel. U.S. supply is expected either to remain flat or rise by almost 1 million barrels a day in 2015, according to the International Energy Agency and ITG Investment Research, because only about 4 percent of shale production needs oil prices of $80 or more a barrel to be profitable. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 08, 2014

Energy companies push for more oil and gas infrastructure in Ohio
 

Energy companies have invested $6.6 billion in midstream projects in eastern Ohio, but they continue to push for more development of infrastructure to transport and process record amounts of oil and natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, according to Oil and Gas magazine. The magazine reports that a representative of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association told the audience at a recent Stark County Oil and Gas Partnership event that 58 wells in Ohio aren't in production as they wait for pipeline connections. Bricker & Eckler attorney Dylan Borchers also spoke at the event, saying the Ohio Power Siting Board has made it possible to fast-track two of the three main approval processes for oil and gas infrastructure projects. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 08, 2014

Federal agency considers new standards on hydraulic fracturing
 

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is close to imposing a suite of new standards governing hydraulic fracturing on public lands, reports FuelFix.com. Citing a fall 2014 outline of rules drafted by federal agencies, the online energy news service says the proposed BLM standards are aimed at boosting the integrity of wells to ensure oil, gas and other fluids are contained within them, recovered water and other fluids are safely stored, and chemicals used in the fracturing process on public lands are disclosed. FuelFix says those rules, as well as ones on offshore drilling and methane emissions at oil and gas drilling sites, are among a number of changes under consideration by the Obama administration. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 05, 2014

American Energy Minerals Holdings LLC has $500 million to expand reach in shale gas regions
 

Columbus Business First reports that American Energy Minerals Holdings LLC has raised $500 million to acquire mineral and overriding royalty interests throughout the United States. According to the newspaper, the company secured its first closing, spending $350 million to acquire 28,000 mineral acres and 29,000 acres of overriding royalty interests in four shale plays, including the Utica in Ohio. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 05, 2014

Russian company accused of backing fracking protesters
 

Protests against shale gas exploration by Chevron in Romania have prompted officials there to claim that Russian energy giant Gazprom is behind the anti-fracking activists, reports the New York Times. The newspaper says that Romanian officials are claiming Gazprom is trying to prevent countries dependent on Russian natural gas from developing their own alternative supplies of energy. The Times says that sentiment is also shared by officials in Lithuania, where Chevron ran into a wave of unusually fervent protests and decided to pull out. But, Gazprom has denied accusations that it has bankrolled anti-fracking protests. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Miscellaneous   |  Permalink

 

Dec 04, 2014

MarkWest hit with $300,000 penalty for spills in eastern Ohio
 

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with MarkWest Energy Partners over repeated spills of drilling slurry into wetlands and streams in eastern Ohio. The newspaper says that the Colorado-based oil and natural gas pipeline company will pay more than $300,000 in fines for 19 spills that occurred between September 2012 and November 2013. Of that sum, $200,000 will go to the village of Cadiz, Ohio for upgrades to the Harrison County community’s sewer system; $95,000 to the State of Ohio; and $25,000 to researchers at Ohio State University to find ways to prevent future pipeline spills. For more, read the full story. More articles related to MarkWest can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 03, 2014

EIA says shale gas wells take the lead for U.S. production
 

Shale gas wells accounted for more natural gas production than any other type of well in 2013, marking the first year that has happened, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Citing data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the newspaper says shale wells provided 40 percent of the gas produced in the United States in 2013. Of the shale gas states, Pennsylvania became the second largest producer with 8 billion cubic feet per day last year. EIA also said that natural gas production from the Utica shale play in Ohio is increasing but the volume remains small by comparison to other shale gas areas. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Dec 03, 2014

Report: New oil and gas technologies attract $7 billion in funding
 

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that a new study by Boston-based Lux Research finds that new technologies to enhance exploration and production of oil and natural gas have attracted $7 billion in funding since 2003. The research firm said waves of innovation have opened up new kinds of energy plays in shale gas, tight oil and heavy oil areas. Lux also noted that there was a surge in megadeals involving oil and gas technologies from 2010 to 2013, with investments in North America’s booming oil and gas market the runaway leader. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 02, 2014

Cheap energy fueled by shale boom reshaping geopolitical landscape
 

A new age of abundant and cheap energy supplies is redrawing the world’s geopolitical landscape, reports Bloomberg News, and it is weakening the legitimacy of some governments while enhancing the power of others, including the United States. The news service says that surging U.S. oil production (driven by the shale boom) has enabled America and its allies to impose tough sanctions on Iran without having to worry much about the loss of oil imports from the Middle Eastern nation. In addition, Bloomberg says that Russia faces what President Vladimir Putin called a potentially “catastrophic” slump in prices for its oil as Russia's economy is battered by U.S. and European sanctions over its role in the Ukraine. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Dec 02, 2014

Pipeline projects will carry Ohio natural gas to much of the nation
 

Pipelines that would take natural gas found in Ohio to seemingly every part of the nation, especially the Gulf Coast region, are showing up on drawing boards with big commitments from drillers to use them, reports Columbus Business First. “Everyone keeps talking about how that's what we need, and now you're starting to see it," Bricker & Eckler energy attorney Matt Warnock told the newspaper. The projects include the $5 billion, 550-mile-long Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia to the Carolinas, the 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline to the mid- and south-Atlantic coast regions, and four pipelines planned by Spectra Energy Corp. to move gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays to the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest and Canada. For more, read the full story. More articles related to pipelines can be found here.
 


 
Posted by J. Bell in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Dec 01, 2014

Shell: Ethane cracker plant would have minimal impact on water, wildlife
 

Royal Dutch Shell claims the impact on drinking water and wildlife will be minimal if it proceeds with its proposed $2.5 billion ethane cracker plant in western Pennsylvania, reports the State Journal in Charleston, West Virginia. A Shell representative told the newspaper that the company has procedures in place that will not disturb osprey that nest at the 300-acre site in Beaver County, has already moved mussel beds from the Ohio River, and will have a management plan to safeguard the area's eagle population. Shell recently agreed to exercise its option and buy the river-front site from Horsehead Holding Corp. (See our November 19, 2014 blog “Shell exercises option rights to buy site for ethane cracker plant in Pennsylvania.") For more, read the full State Journal story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

 

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