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Jul 01, 2015

Sunoco Logistics agrees to settle case involving drilling-fluid spills in Pennsylvania
 

Sunoco Logistics has agreed to pay $95,400 to settle a civil complaint arising from accidental drilling-fluid spills during construction of the Mariner East pipeline in Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. According to a consent decree with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the spills occurred in Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties in 2014 during boring operations associated with construction of the pipeline. The Business Times says DEP claims that more than 1,000 gallons of fluid spilled in six separate instances. Sunoco Logistics declined comment. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jun 30, 2015

Magnum Hunter looks to sell interest in natural gas pipeline subsidiary
 

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. is pursuing a sale of its stake in the company’s Ohio and West Virginia natural gas pipeline subsidiary, reports Columbus Business First. By divesting its 45.53% interest in Eureka Hunter, the company can raise between $600 million and $700 million, according to the newspaper. Business First also says that Magnum Hunter CEO Gary Evans said the sale's proceeds would enable the company to pay down $300 million to $400 million in debt and resume its drilling operations. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Jun 30, 2015

Mark West opens Utica shale headquarters in Cadiz, Ohio
 

MarkWest Energy Partners LP has opened its new 20,000-square-foot building in Cadiz, Ohio that will house the company’s headquarters for its operations in the Utica Shale play. Some 70 to 80 people will work there, but the building has room for up to 110 employees, according to the New Philadelphia Times-Reporter. The building is in the Cadiz Industrial Park, across the road from a MarkWest natural gas processing facility. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 30, 2015

Saudis moving toward maximum oil production to keep pressure on U.S. drillers
 

Not content with the blow it has dealt to U.S. oil drillers, Saudi Arabia is set to escalate the battle for market share by raising production to maximum levels, reports FuelFix.com. Citing comments from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc., the energy news site says the Saudis have already increased oil output to a 30-year high of 10.3 million barrels a day and “will add even more to the global glut.” Having abandoned its role of swing supplier of oil — adjusting production in line with demand — Saudi Arabia will maximize sales to increase pressure on producers outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the banks said. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 29, 2015

17 pipeline projects planned to move natural gas from Marcellus region
 

The Marcellus shale region can expect to see 17 pipeline projects over the next three years to ship about 17.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas out of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Citing an analysis by IHS Energy, the newspaper says the pipelines will transport gas to New England, the Midwest, eastern Canada and the South. New pipeline infrastructure is in high demand, the Post-Gazette notes, because the existing network to move gas from well sites in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays has been maxed out. For more, read the full story.
 


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

 

Jun 29, 2015

Blue Racer planning fifth processing plant in Utica shale play
 

Blue Racer Midstream LLC is planning a fifth cryogenic processing plant in the Utica shale play as natural gas drillers prepare to ramp up activity again, reports the Dallas Business Journal. The Dallas-based company’s fourth Utica shale processing plant was commissioned recently in Monroe County, Ohio, but the fifth was delayed about six months when commodity prices fell, a Blue Racer executive told the newspaper. Blue Racer will have capacity to handle 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas once the fifth plant comes online in the first half of 2016. No location has been chosen yet. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 29, 2015

New natural gas pipeline will serve northern West Virginia
 

A pipeline under construction in northern West Virginia will help fill a need for infrastructure to transport natural gas produced in the state, reports the Wheeling Intelligencer/News-Register. The newspaper says Momentum’s Stonewall Gas Gathering pipeline will connect gas-producing areas in and around Doddridge and Harrison counties with Columbia Transmission's interstate pipeline that runs through Braxton County. Momentum said it expects construction to continue through the end of 2015. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Jun 26, 2015

FirstEnergy power plant site could house Ohio ‘cracker’ plant
 

An executive with FirstEnergy Corp. has indicated that the company’s R.E. Burger power plant property is the site for a proposed ethane “cracker” plant in Belmont County, Ohio, reports Columbus Business First. According to the newspaper, James Lash, president of FirstEnergy Generation, recently said the company is moving a machine shop from the Burger plant to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in part because the cracker facility could take over the Burger property. FirstEnergy plans to retire the power plant in 2016, opening the door for the site to house the cracker facility should Thailand's PTT Global Chemical Public Company and Japan's Marubeni Corp. decide to proceed with the project.  For more, read the full story. More articles related to the Ohio cracker project can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 26, 2015

Iran needs $100 billion to revive natural gas industry
 

Iran needs $100 billion to rebuild it natural gas industry and has met with European energy companies about funding as an end looms to decades of international economic sanctions against the country, reports BloombergBusiness. The news service says the importance of Iran’s natural gas industry was underlined by recent data from BP Plc that showed Iran held its position as the nation with the largest proven gas reserves. Bloomberg also says that an official at the National Iranian Gas Compay recently said the country will “welcome and appreciate investment by (foreign) countries.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Miscellaneous   |  Permalink

 

Jun 25, 2015

American Water Works acquires water services company from Rex Energy
 

Wastewater utility American Water Works Company has executed an agreement to acquire Keystone Clearwater Solutions from Rex Energy Corporation for $130 million, according to Bloomberg.  Based in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Keystone offers water-related services to the oil and natural gas industry, primarily in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. For more, read the full story.
 


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

 

Jun 25, 2015

Report: Magnum Hunter faces deadline to raise $9.4 million
 

Columbus Business First reports that Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., an active driller in the Utica shale play, needs to raise $9.4 million for its lenders in less than three weeks. The newspaper says the company has already raised $55.6 million of a required $65 million. Magnum Hunter told Business First that it intends to meet the July 10 deadline set by lenders. For more, read the full story. More stories about Magnum Hunter can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 24, 2015

Chinese energy firm looks to invest in U.S. shale projects
 

China’s Sinopec, the world’s second largest oil refiner, is on the hunt for minority investments in U.S. shale oil and natural gas projects as it seeks to diversify China’s energy supply sources, reports Energy Voice. Citing comments from a Sinopec D.C. official, the energy news site says the Chinese state energy firm wants to take a 10% to 15% stake in projects that export liquefied natural gas from the United States. Energy Voice says that any new deals would come more than two years after Sinopec spent over $3 billion to buy various U.S. shale holdings from Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 24, 2015

Pennsylvania agency issues air emissions permit for Shell ‘cracker’
 

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air emissions permit for Royal Dutch Shell's proposed ethane “cracker” plant in Beaver County, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the move is significant because the permit is considered one of the last things the company needs before it can make a final decision on whether to proceed with the plant. As we reported in our June 19 blog, “Shell closes deal to purchase site for possible ‘cracker’ plant in Pennsylvania,” the company has already acquired the land for the facility. For more about the air permit, read the full Business Times story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jun 23, 2015

Energy secretary says U.S. needs to spend big on natural gas pipelines
 

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said the United States should spend $270 billion to improve natural gas pipelines and build new energy connections if the nation is to take full advantage of its burgeoning growth in energy production, reports the ICIS news site. Moniz recently told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that the country must focus on energy transmission, storage and distribution, “including the networks of pipelines, wires, storage, waterways, railroads and other facilities that form the backbone of our energy systems.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 23, 2015

Kinder Morgan seeks contracts for new Ohio-to-Texas pipeline
 

Houston-based Kinder Morgan is soliciting shipping contracts along a new 1,100-mile natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that would run from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Appalachia to the Texas Gulf Coast, reports FuelFix.com. According to the energy news site, the proposed $4 billion Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline would carry NGLs from the shale plays to processing centers along the Gulf Coast. Kinder Morgan has said the $4 billion project will include converting 964 miles of existing pipeline to carry NGLs from Ohio to Natchitoches, Louisiana as well as the installation of about 120 miles of new pipelines and storage facilities in Ohio. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 22, 2015

Ohio Supreme Court to hear important DMA arguments
 

This week, the Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Walker v. Shondrick-Nau, an important case involving many highly-contested issues relating to the Ohio Dormant Minerals Act (R.C. 5301.56), including whether the 1989 version of the statute was self-executing. The ruling in this case likely will unlock a backlog of dozens of Ohio Dormant Minerals Act cases in lower courts and jump-start development in the Utica shale play. To live-stream the argument on June 23, click here. More stories about the Dormant Minerals Act can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Jun 22, 2015

Range Resources hit with record fine by Pennsylvania agency
 

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has levied a record-setting $8.9 million fine against Range Resources Corp.'s Appalachia division for allegedly failing to fix a leaking natural gas well, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the fine arises from a well drilled in 2011 in Lycoming County, with DEP claiming the well wasn't cemented properly and leaked natural gas into a stream and contaminated nearby water wells. Range is appealing the fine, arguing that the methane at the well site is leaking from the ground naturally and is not the result of its operations. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jun 19, 2015

Judge sides with insurers in dispute involving Louisiana oil well project
 

A federal judge in Louisiana has granted summary judgment in favor of two insurance companies, holding they need not indemnify a drilling company in a $12 million lawsuit filed by Solstice Oil & I Gas LLC (“Solstice”) over an allegedly botched oil well project, reports the Law 360 news site. In Solstice Oil & Gas I LLC v. OBES Inc., et al., E.D. Louisiana Case No. 2:12-cv-02417, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled that Solstice’s claims against OBES, Inc. (“Ole Brook”) over Ole Brook’s drilling of a well in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana in 2011 are only for economic damages that are not covered under the insurance policies issued by Ole Brook’s insurers, Seneca Insurance Company (“Seneca”) and Commerce & Industry Insurance Company (“C&I”). Law 360 reports that Solstice sued Ole Brook and the two insurers in October 2012, claiming that Ole Brook “didn’t drill the well according to specifications,” resulting in a “compromised wellbore with unnecessary twists and turns making it in adequate for efficient completion and production.” Seneca and C&I filed motions for summary judgment, arguing “their contracts of insurance with Ole Brook do not cover the damages allegedly suffered by Solstice, and even if they did, such damages are excluded from coverage under the policies’ exclusions.” In granting the insurers’ motions, the Court held that none of Solstice’s or Ole Brook’s evidence of property damage was convincing and it was difficult to see how Solstice’s inability to enjoy the use of a well not yet in existence could constitute the loss of tangible property . . . and does not constitute property damage.”


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

 

Jun 19, 2015

Shell closes deal to purchase site for possible ‘cracker’ plant in Pennsylvania
 

Horsehead Holding Corp. has closed a deal to sell the site of its former zinc smelter in Beaver County, Pennsylvania to Shell Chemical for possible development of an ethane “cracker’” plant, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Shell has yet to make a final decision on building the plant at the 1,000-acre site, but the Business Times says the company is “proceeding all the same with site development,” having demolished the smelter plant and grading the site and working on relocating power lines that run through the property. For more, read the full story. More stories about the Shell cracker project can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jun 18, 2015

‘BuzzFeed-y’ website takes aim at critics of hydraulic fracturing
 

A new website backed by the oil and natural gas industry takes a “BuzzFeed-y Hollywood-inspired” approach in hopes of swaying criticism of hydraulic fracturing, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says FrackFeed.com uses “listicles” and a “meme gallery” to attack those opposed to oil and gas drilling. The website has pictures with short lines of text featuring cartoon and movie characters, environmentalists, President Barack Obama and even anti-fracking celebrity chef Mario Batali. For more, read the full story. FrackFeed.com can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 17, 2015

U.S. surpasses Russia as world’s largest oil and natural gas producer
 

The United States has overtaken Russia as the world’s biggest oil and natural gas producer “in a demonstration of the seismic shifts in the energy landscape emanating from America’s shale fields,” reports BloombergBusiness. The news service says U.S. oil production rose to a record level in 2014, and natural gas output also climbed, putting the country ahead of Russia as a producer of oil and gas on a combined basis. The U.S.’s emergence as the top driller confirms a trend that has helped America reduce oil imports, caused a slump in global energy prices and shifted U.S. foreign policy priorities, according to Bloomberg. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 17, 2015

Williams Partners increases stake in Utica East Ohio Midstream
 

Williams Partners LP's Utica Gas Services subsidiary has completed a $357 million acquisition of approximately 13% of additional equity interest in Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC from a subsidiary of EV Energy Partners, LP, according to Bloomberg. With the acquisition, Williams Partners has increased its equity stake in Utica East Ohio, a natural gas midstream business in the Utica shale play, from 49% to 62%. Utica East Ohio is developing infrastructure for the gathering, processing and fractionation of natural gas and natural gas liquids in eastern Ohio. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 16, 2015

American Energy Appalachia changes name to Ascent Resources
 

American Energy Appalachia Holdings LLC is changing its name to Ascent Resources LLC and will spin off later this year to become a stand-alone operating company independent of American Energy Partners (AEP), reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. AEP is an Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas exploration company founded in 2013 by former Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon. The Post-Gazette says the newly named Ascent Resources has 235,000 net acres of leasehold in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays in eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Jun 16, 2015

Fed research says low oil prices will have negative impact on loans in region
 

Crain’s Cleveland Business reports that new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland says that depressed oil prices could have a negative effect on banks that have made loans to oil and natural gas businesses in Ohio and three other states. Bankers in the Federal Reserve’s Fourth District, which covers Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia’s northern panhandle and eastern Kentucky, say they’re anticipating that some loans to drillers and others in the oil and gas business may not be paid per their respective terms, and some will be written off as losses. But Crain’s also says the Fed research concludes the overall impact on loans is expected to be minimal, and bankers aren’t terribly worried. For more, read the full story.
 


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

 

Jun 15, 2015

Big oil companies pushing natural gas as successor to coal
 

BloombergBusiness reports that oil companies that have pumped trillions of barrels of crude from the ground are now saying the future is in their other main product, natural gas, which they are promoting as the logical successor to coal. With nearly 200 nations set to hammer out a binding pact on carbon emissions in December 2015, Bloomberg notes that companies led by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA say they’re refocusing on gas as a cleaner-burning alternative to coal for electricity generation. The news service says that approach has sparked a war of words between the oil and coal industries and raised concern that Big Oil is more interested in grabbing market share than fighting global warming. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 15, 2015

Chesapeake has large number of wells with 'refracking' potential
 

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has a large number of horizontal wells with the potential to be “refracked” because of advancements in drilling technology and techniques, reports Investopedia. The investment site says that Chesapeake Executive Vice President Jason Pigott recently said during a conference call that the company has drilled 6,750 horizontal oil and natural gas wells since 2004, including nearly 4,600 prior to 2012. “We consider these wells under-stimulated, compared to our current designs and based on their vintage,” he said, adding Chesapeake has refracking potential throughout its portfolio. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 12, 2015

American Energy-Utica to sell some Ohio acreage to Gulfport
 

American Energy-Utica LLC will sell approximately 35,000 acres of leasehold in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale play to Gulfport Energy Corp. for more than $400 million, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says the acreage is in Belmont, Monroe and Jefferson counties, which are among the top counties for natural gas production in Ohio. Once the sale goes through, Oklahoma City-based Gulfport will have 243,000 acres under lease in the heart of the Utica shale play. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by J. Bell in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 12, 2015

Midstream MLP to invest $1.5 billion in southwestern Pennsylvania project
 

Midstream MLP Energy Transfer Partners plans to invest $1.5 billion in a new natural gas pipeline network and support facilities in southwestern Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. According to the newspaper, the Dallas-based company said the project will support long-term midstream agreements with EdgeMarc Energy, which has drilled more than 20 wells and has 25,000 acres under lease in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Midstream MLP said the pipelines will feed into a cryogenic processing plant to be built in southwestern Pennsylvania. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jun 11, 2015

EPA study: ‘Fracking’ has not caused widespread pollution of drinking water
 

Reuters reports that a new study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that hydraulic fracturing in oil and natural gas drilling operations has not led to widespread, systemic pollution of drinking water. The news service says the study, requested by Congress, found specific instances where fracking affected water sources but said that they were small relative to the overall number of fracking sites around the United States. For more, read the full story. The EPA study can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 11, 2015

Sunoco may add second pipeline to move LNG through Ohio, West Virginia
 

Sunoco Logistics may add a second pipeline to its Mariner East 2 project, potentially increasing the daily flow of liquefied natural gas for domestic and international markets, reports the Daily Times in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The newspaper says the company announced it is acquiring the rights to build two 350-mile pipelines from Ohio and West Virginia to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex near Philadelphia as part of the Mariner East 2 project. Sunoco had planned to build one pipeline, but a company spokesman said the addition of a second line now would be less disruptive to property owners along the route and save on business costs. For more, read the full story.
 


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

 

Jun 10, 2015

Pipeline claims it should not have to pay local taxes in Ohio
 

A Houston-based energy services company that operates a cross-country underground pipeline running beneath 13 Ohio counties claims it should not have to pay millions of dollars in taxes to local governments in the state, reports the Dayton Daily News. The newspaper says Enterprise Products Partners’ ATEX Express travels through 265 miles in Ohio, and county auditors along that stretch are discussing what to do about the company’s tax strategy. Rick Hoffman, a lawyer studying the issue, told the Daily News that Enterprise’s claim is based on the fact that the pipeline transports natural gas liquids, not natural gas, and the company is not a public utility. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 09, 2015

New Oklahoma law prohibits local governments from banning fracking
 

Oklahoma cities and counties will no longer be able to ban hydraulic fracturing or other oil and natural gas operations within their boundaries under a bill recently signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin, reports the Associated Press. According to the news service, the bill, pushed hard by the oil and gas industry but opposed by municipalities and environmental groups, prohibits communities from banning operations such as drilling, fracking, water disposal, recovery operations or pipeline infrastructure. As reported in our May 26 blog, “Texas governor signs bill to give state sole authority over oil and gas regulation,” a similar ban was signed into law in May by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as lawmakers in energy-producing states push back against efforts by local governments to limit oil and gas practices. For more about the Oklahoma law, read the full AP story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 08, 2015

American Energy involved in dispute over acquisition of oil and gas assets in Texas
 

Forbes reports that allegations of fraud have thrown into doubt the viability of American Energy Permian Basin’s $2.5 billion acquisition of oil and natural gas holdings from Enduring Resources in west Texas last summer. The magazine says that in February 2015, Enduring Resources sued American Energy Permian Basin (AEPB) in the District Court of Harris County, Texas for breach of contract, alleging that AEPB had failed to pay $25 million in post-closing adjustments. In addition, Forbes reports that AEPB alleges in counterclaims that Enduring Resources engaged in “fraud and misrepresentation” and in “a course of duplicitous conduct to entice AEPB to purchase the assets under pretenses of certain operational costs that turned out to be grossly understated.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Jun 05, 2015

Pennsylvania agency fines Chevron for role in fatal well fire
 

Chevron Corp.'s Appalachia division is being fined $940,000 for violations related to a fatal natural gas well explosion and fire in Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the incident occurred on Feb. 11, 2014 at one of the company’s wells in Greene County and resulted in the death of a contractor working for Cameron International. In a statement announcing the fine, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said the penalty "points to Chevron’s failure to construct and operate the well site to ensure that health, safety and (the) environment were protected.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jun 04, 2015

Oil and gas producers seek efficiencies to combat low prices
 

Oil and natural gas producers and service companies are wringing efficiencies out of their processes as they continue to deal with the fallout of lower commodity prices, reports the Examiner-Enterprise in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. “We can’t control prices, so we have to focus on how much it costs to get it out of the ground,” said Chesapeake Energy Corp. Executive Vice President Jason Pigott during an energy conference at Oklahoma State University. Pigott said his division at Chesapeake is concentrating on the wells with the best flow rates and focusing on drilling longer laterals — up to 10,000 feet — as it tries to reduce its costs. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 03, 2015

Energy firms 'go Hollywood' in naming oil wells
 

The Wall Street Journal reports that naming an oil well is an afterthought for many companies but an obsession for others as energy firms look for a way to distinguish their oil fields as drilling sites proliferate. That has led to names for wells in North Dakota's Bakken shale play that include “Ron Burgundy,” “Dean Wormer” and “Ty Webb” from characters in the movies Anchorman, Animal House and Caddyshack. The Journal notes that every well that’s drilled must have a name from the time a permit application is filed with state regulators, and there are few rules guiding their naming. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Jun 03, 2015

West Virginia county will require permits for injection wells
 

Operators of future underground injection wells in Fayette County, West Virginia will have to obtain a permit from county officials, reports the Charleston Gazette. The newspaper says the Fayette County Commission recently amended the county’s development code to require permits for injection wells and holding ponds for drilling waste from oil and natural gas operations. The approval process includes public hearings before the county zoning board, planning commission and county commissioners for wells on property not zoned for heavy industrial use. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Jun 02, 2015

Magnum Hunter to sell some of its Utica shale acreage in West Virginia
 

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. will sell nearly $41 million of undeveloped Utica shale acreage in Tyler County, West Virginia, reports Columbus Business First. According to the newspaper, the Houston-based oil and natural gas company said the 5,210 acres in Tyler County were not in its long-term drilling plans, and many of the leases are set to expire soon. Magnum Hunter also recently announced that it’s looking to sell $450 million worth of its Ohio acreage as part of efforts to improve its liquidity. (See our May 13 blog, “Magnum Hunter looks to sell some Ohio leases to raise cash.”) The full Business First story can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Jun 02, 2015

Nexus pipeline to provide natural gas for Wadsworth industrial park
 

The new Brickyard Industrial Park in Wadsworth, Ohio has signed an agreement to buy natural gas from the proposed Nexus pipeline that would cross northern Ohio, reports the Akron Beacon Journal. The newspaper says PJS Properties will supply natural gas from the pipeline to the industrial park, which is planned for a site off Route 94 on Wadsworth’s south side. The 250-mile pipeline would run from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio to Defiance in the northwest part of the state before heading north into Michigan where it will connect with existing pipelines. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Jun 02, 2015

Shell tells residents what to expect if ‘cracker’ project gets green light
 

Royal Dutch Shell has still not committed to building an ethane “cracker” plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, but the company recently held a public hearing to tell residents and business people what to expect if a decision is made to proceed with the project, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the meeting addressed what residents may see, hear and smell during the construction phase of the plant and after its completion. A Shell manager said construction for such a project typically takes five years from initial site preparation to full operations. For more, read the full story. More stories about Royal Dutch Shell can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Jun 01, 2015

Kentucky appeals court upholds eminent domain ruling in Bluegrass Pipeline case
 

An appeals court in Kentucky has upheld a lower court ruling that prevents the developers of the Bluegrass Pipeline from using the power of eminent domain to acquire pipeline easements, reports the Courier-Journal in Louisville. In Bluegrass Pipeline Company LLC v. Kentuckians United to Restrain Eminent Domain, the Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd that only pipeline companies regulated by Kentucky’s Public Service Commission can use the eminent domain power. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Jun 01, 2015

U.S. drilling technology could drive oil production in other countries
 

The technology that has powered the shale oil boom in Texas and other states could produce 141 billion barrels of crude oil in other parts of the world, reports the FuelFix energy news site. Citing findings from Colorado-based research firm IHS, FuelFix says that horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other technological breakthroughs could pump that much oil out of 170 older, largely unproductive fields in the Middle East, Latin America and Russia. The assessment by IHS found that 96 percent of the oil that could be recovered from those fields would have to be released from rock formations by using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 29, 2015

Bricker & Eckler celebrates opening of office in Barnesville, Ohio
 

Bricker & Eckler LLP recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house at its new office in the eastern Ohio community of Barnesville. The Barnesville Enterprise reports that Bricker has been working with clients in the Ohio Valley region for more than 25 years and that growth in the oil and natural gas industry played an important part in the firm selecting Barnesville for its newest location. Bricker attorney Aaron Bruggeman, a native of Barnesville, practices in the new office. “Aaron’s focus is on connecting many aspects of our firm’s experience — in business law, employment law, complex estate planning, oil and gas, economic development and public-sector services — to the community,” said Bricker Managing Partner Kurt Tunnell. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 29, 2015

Thai company: Aggressive incentive package sealed deal for Ohio ‘cracker’
 

Columbus Business First reports that the Thai company behind a proposed $5.7 billion ethane “cracker” plant in Belmont County, Ohio says state officials offered an “aggressive incentive package” to land the project. According to the newspaper, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Ltd. said JobsOhio offered job-creation tax credits, work-force training grants, local tax credits and infrastructure improvement grants. In April, PTT and its partner, Marubeni Corp. of Japan, confirmed they have selected a site in Belmont County for the cracker project instead of West Virginia or Pennsylvania. (See our April 23 blog, “Thai company looks at building ‘cracker' facility in eastern Ohio.”) For more, read the full Business First story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 28, 2015

Oil and gas group challenges findings in Ohio air pollution study
 

Energy In Depth (EID) Ohio says the authors of a recent study that found elevated levels of air pollutants near oil and natural gas wells in Carroll County, Ohio, have admitted the sample size used for their study was too small, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. The newspaper also says that EID, an oil and natural gas advocacy group, claims the chief assumption used in the research model for the study was “totally impractical according to multiple media reports.” The study by scientists at Oregon State University and University of Cincinnati found that people living or working near active natural gas wells may be exposed to certain air pollutants at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure. For more, read the full story. The EID Ohio analysis can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 28, 2015

PDC Energy may take another look at drilling in Ohio
 

Denver-based PDC Energy Inc. may bring back a drilling rig sooner than expected to Ohio’s Utica shale play, reports Columbus Business First.  PDC suspended its Ohio drilling operations in December 2014 because it saw better economics in the Wattenberg shale field in Colorado. But Business First says the company recently told analysts that its Dynamite well pad in Guernsey County, Ohio is outperforming cost and production projections and indicated PDC could look at drilling in Ohio again if the price of oil climbs to the mid- to high $60-a-barrel range. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 27, 2015

Drilling decline reduces revenue for Pennsylvania’s oil and gas regulatory program
 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that low natural gas prices that have energy companies dispatching fewer drilling rigs to Pennsylvania are taking a toll on the state’s oil and gas regulators. The newspaper says that Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is exploring additional funding options for its oil and gas regulatory program because permit applications to drill shale gas wells — the program’s dominant revenue source — are down about 30 percent compared to this point in 2014. DEP uses permit fees, fines and $6 million a year from the Pennsylvania’s impact fee on unconventional wells to fund the oil and gas program’s $21 million annual budget. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

May 27, 2015

Natural gas industry facing ‘high-intensity” opposition to infrastructure projects
 

The United States is producing record amounts of natural gas, but building the infrastructure to bring that gas to market is increasingly difficult for the industry, reports USA Today. "While this may be the most exciting time in our history, it also may be the most challenging," Dominion Energy President Diane Leopold said during an event held by America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). She cited an increase in “high-intensity opposition" to infrastructure projects such as pipelines, saying it is becoming “louder, better funded and more sophisticated." ANGA President Marty Durbin suggested that opponents of projects such as Dominion's Atlantic Coast Pipeline are taking a cue from resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 26, 2015

Texas governor signs bill to give state sole authority over oil and gas regulation
 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill that prohibits cities and towns from banning hydraulic fracturing, giving the state sole authority over oil and natural gas regulation, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Texas lawmakers have been under pressure to halt an anti-fracking push since November 2014 when voters in Denton, Texas banned the oil and gas extraction technique in their city. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 26, 2015

Utica Shale Academy is adding satellite program in Columbiana County
 

The eastern Ohio charter school that trains high school students for jobs in the oil and natural gas industry is expanding with a new location in Columbiana County, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says the Utica Shale Academy near Salineville, Ohio, will open a satellite program at Columbiana High School to serve students in the northern part of Columbiana County. The academy opened at Southern Local High School near Salineville in the fall of 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

 

May 22, 2015

Report: Inexpensive natural gas gives edge to U.S. plastics industry
 

A new report says the nation's shale gas fields have given the United States a competitive advantage in the plastics industry, helping to spur $130 billion in new capital investments, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the report by the American Chemistry Council found that inexpensive supplies of natural gas are tipping the favor of the plastics industry toward the United States because plastics producers in North America primarily use natural gas as a feedstock, while other parts of the world use oil. The council said it is tracking billions of dollars in investments in new manufacturing capacity tied to that price advantage, including nearly $25 billion in the production of polyethylene. For more, read the full story. The American Chemistry Council report can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 21, 2015

Oil and natural gas producers to face another credit-line crunch
 

A wave of credit-line reductions the past two months has left oil and natural gas producers scrambling to raise cash to keep drilling, or in some cases, to pay down overdrawn loans, reports BloombergBusiness. The news service says the clock is ticking again on more credit reductions when banks will recalculate borrowing bases -- which are tied to the value of oil -- in October. Mid-Con Energy Partners LP Chief Financial Officer Mike Peterson told Bloomberg that he estimates the oil industry faces potential credit-line cuts of 10-20% in October. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 20, 2015

Expert says oil and gas industry not in a panic over low prices
 

American Petroleum Institute Chief Economist John Felmy says the fall in commodity prices has not sparked a panic in the oil and natural gas industry, including in Ohio, reports the Canton Repository. Times have been worse for the industry, Felmy said at an oil and gas forum in Canton, Ohio, and development of U.S. shale formations makes the current situation different than past declines. The United States now ranks as the world’s leading producer of natural gas and is on its way to becoming the world’s top oil producer, he said, adding that Ohio has more rigs drilling shale wells today than it did five years ago despite retrenchment by some companies. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 20, 2015

Thai company looks for third partner on ‘cracker’ project in Ohio
 

Thailand's PTT Global Chemical PCL hopes to sign a deal in the second half of 2015 with Japan's Marubeni Corp. and a still-to-be-named third partner to invest in a $5.7 billion petrochemical complex in eastern Ohio, reports Reuters. The news service says a PTT Global executive told reporters that the company is looking to select one of five potential partners that are interested in the ethane “cracker” project that was announced in April. (See our April 23 blog, “Thai company looks at building ‘cracker” facility in eastern Ohio.”) PTT will hold more than a 50 percent ownership stake in the project, according to Reuters, while stakes for Marubeni and a third partner are under negotiation. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 19, 2015

Columbia Pipeline Group to spend $10 billion in Ohio and neighboring states
 

Columbia Pipeline Group plans to spend $10 billion in the next five years on natural gas projects centered in Ohio and its neighboring states, reports Columbus Business First. In outlining its plans, the new company, which will separate from parent company NiSource Inc. on July 1, said it has "significant scale (and an) unparalleled strategic footprint" anchored over the Utica and Marcellus shale plays. Business First says Houston-based Columbia Pipeline has 15 natural gas-projects planned for operation by 2020, many of which will crisscross Ohio. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 19, 2015

Study: Pennsylvania severance tax would reduce well development and jobs
 

A new study by the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania (APIP) says a severance tax on natural gas production proposed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf would mean fewer new wells, less gas production and lost jobs in the state over the next decade, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The study found that the proposed severance tax would result in 1,364 fewer wells, nearly 18,000 fewer oil and gas-related jobs and 2.86 trillion cubic feet less natural gas being produced by 2025 compared to projected levels without the tax. A spokesman for the governor told the Post-Gazette that the study is “misleading and its conclusions have no merit.” For more, read the full story. The APIP study can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

May 18, 2015

Oil and gas association challenges new federal rail rules
 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is challenging new federal rules to improve the safety of oil-by-train transportation, opening the first legal fight in a two-year effort to reduce the risks of moving hazardous materials on railroads, reports the New York Times. The newspaper says API has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to block key provisions of the rules, which were unveiled in May by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. According to the Times, API’s petition, American Petroleum Institute v. United States, D.C. Cir., Case No. 15-01131, seeks to block a requirement that older tank cars be retrofitted with new safety features designed to prevent them from spilling oil or rupturing in the event of a derailment. API also challenges a requirement that tank cars be equipped with new electronic braking systems or face operational restrictions. For more read, the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

May 18, 2015

Waterless fracking yields disappointing results at well in eastern Ohio
 

Columbus Business First reports that the waterless hydraulic fracturing method tested at a well in eastern Ohio has produced disappointing results, “dealing a blow to the innovative technology” that could reduce water use in oil and gas operations in the Utica shale play. The $22 million test well, drilled by EV Energy Partners LP and eight other companies in Tuscarawas County, produced half the amount of oil as a nearby well “fracked” by using a lot of water, EV Energy Chairman John Walker told analysts in an earnings call. Additionally, the Akron Beacon Journal reported that EV Energy may form a joint venture with other companies to develop the crude oil window in the Utica shale play. For more, read the full Business First story. The Beacon Journal story can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 15, 2015

Federal judge rules pipeline can cross holdout properties in Pennsylvania
 

A federal judge has ruled that the company building a 124-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from the Marcellus shale play to New York can build across seven Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to provide access to their land, reports Farm and Dairy. In Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC v. A Permanent Easement for 1.84 Acres, M.D. Pa. Case No. 3:14-cv-02458-MEM, Judge Malachy Mannion of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that Constitution Pipeline Company (“Constitution”) has the right of “immediate entry and access onto the subject property” because, among other things, it possesses a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Court further held that: (i) Constitution “has a substantive right to condemn the subject property”; (ii) Constitution “will suffer immediate and irreparable harm” without immediate possession of the property; (iii) the landowners “will receive just compensation” and, thus, “will not suffer significant harm”; and (iv) “the public interest will be best served” by granting Constitution access to the properties. Constitution was ordered to post a $1.6 million bond prior to accessing the properties.


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

 

May 15, 2015

Noble Energy’s $2 billion deal may signal start of mergers and acquisitions
 

Noble Energy Inc. said it will acquire Rosetta Resources Inc. for about $2 billion in stock in what Reuters reports is the first significant deal among U.S. shale oil producers following a steep fall in global crude prices. The news service says the nearly 50 percent drop in crude prices since June 2014 has raised expectations for months about a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas industry, and the acquisition by Noble may be a precedent for other companies plotting shale deals. The Rosetta Resources acquisition will give Noble Energy, which is active in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, entry into the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale fields in Texas. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 14, 2015

U.S. oil producers hedge bets by locking in prices for 2016 and beyond
 

U.S. oil companies are rushing to take advantage of the rebound in oil markets by locking in prices for 2016 and beyond as they safeguard future supplies and possibly pave the way for a rebound in production, Reuters reports. The news service says the flurry of hedging activity in the past month will help sustain producers' revenues even if oil markets tumble again. That is bad news for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is counting on low prices to stunt the rapid rise of U.S. shale and other competitors, according to Reuters. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 14, 2015

XTO Energy looks to expand gas processing plant in western Pennsylvania
 

XTO Energy is looking at expanding in Butler County in western Pennsylvania where it is planning to build a second natural gas processing plant at its Penn Cryo facility, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the plant would be capable of processing up to 125 million cubic feet of gas per day and double the facility's current capacity. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

May 13, 2015

Magnum Hunter looks to sell some Ohio leases to raise cash
 

Oil and natural gas producer Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. wants to sell $450 million of its Ohio lease holdings in the Utica shale play, reports Columbus Business First. According to the newspaper, the Houston-based company said it is negotiating a joint venture in which it would sell some of its undeveloped and unproven Utica acreage to provide cash for future capital expenses. Business First says the move is one of five initiatives that Magnum Hunter is undertaking to improve its liquidity. For more, read the full story. More stories about Magnum Hunter can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 13, 2015

MarkWest may need more capacity to serve Utica, Marcellus shale plays
 

MarkWest Energy Partners, the predominant natural gas processor in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, has 19 capital projects on the books but may need more to serve producers in those gas-rich areas, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. Citing comments made by MarkWest Chairman and CEO Frank Semple during a first quarter earnings call, the newspaper says the company is evaluating the need for additional fractionation capacity to keep up with development in the Utica and Marcellus region. MarkWest already operates gas processing facilities in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more, read the full story. More stories about MarkWest can be found here.
 


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

 

May 12, 2015

Buoyed by efficient operations, Chesapeake looks for more Ohio acreage
 

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is looking for opportunities to take on more acreage in Ohio, believing it can drill the land more efficiently than its rivals, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says executives at the Oklahoma City-based company, a top driller in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale play, have hyped Chesapeake’s operating efficiency, especially in Ohio, where a third-party researcher said it the most-efficient driller by 40 percent. Business First says Chesapeake wants to use that operating advantage to pursue mergers and acquisitions. For more, read the full story. More stories about Chesapeake can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 12, 2015

U.S. drillers, refiners are at odds over oil export ban
 

The drop in oil prices is opening a rift in the U.S. petroleum industry over whether to end a circa-1970s federal ban on most exports of oil pumped from U.S. wells, reports BloombergBusiness. The news service says drillers want the restrictions to end in the face of a 40 percent decline in oil prices over the past year, but refiners enjoying a surge in profits from the cheap oil want to keep the export ban in place. Bloomberg says both sides are making their case through stepped-up lobbying, advertising campaigns, congressional hearings, think-tank studies and social media, including Twitter. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 11, 2015

Chevron looks to sell more Marcellus shale acreage in Pennsylvania
 

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Chevron Corp.'s Appalachia business unit is continuing to restructure its operations, which includes putting about 11,700 acres in the Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania on the market. The newspaper says that according to a listing on EnergyNet, Chevron is accepting sealed bids on the acreage in Clearfield and northern Cambria counties until May 21. In February, Chevron listed for sale about 15,600 acres in Cambria, Blair and Bedford counties in Pennsylvania. (See our February 10, 2015 blog, “Report: Chevron looking to sell acreage in Marcellus shale play.”) For more, read the full Business Times story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

May 11, 2015

Low prices drive energy companies to terminate drilling contracts
 

As commodity prices remain low, oil and natural gas companies are spending millions to terminate drilling contracts, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says the latest example in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays comes from Denver-based Antero Resources Corp., which recently reported it spent $9 million in the first quarter of 2015 to delay or cancel drilling contracts. Business First also says that Whiting Petroleum Corp., the biggest oil producer in North Dakota, said it paid almost $27 million to end drilling rig contracts. For more, read the full story. More stories about Antero Resources can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 08, 2015

'Monster well' draws attention to Pennsylvania’s Utica shale play
 

High production rates for natural gas wells in Pennsylvania’s Utica shale formation -- the lesser known cousin of Marcellus shale -- have been raising eyebrows in recent months, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That includes Range Resources’ “monster well” in Washington County with an initial flow rate in December that was the best ever in the Appalachian Basin, according to the newspaper. The Post-Gazette says drilling activity in the Utica play is generally focused in eastern Ohio where “wet gas” is plentiful, but some operators in Pennsylvania have reported remarkable production results for “dry gas” — mostly methane — from wells hundreds of miles east of the heart of the Utica play in Ohio. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

May 08, 2015

Lower costs for hydraulic fracturing may allow companies to keep drilling
 

U.S. oil and natural gas companies have pushed down costs for hydraulic fracturing faster than expected, and if the trend holds, it could allow drillers to keep working in oilfields that just months ago looked uncompetitive after the oil price crash, according to Reuters. The news service reports that oil and gas producers are insisting on steep price cuts from oilfield service companies that provide everything from drilling rigs to hydraulic fracturing. In fourth-quarter earnings calls, oil and gas operators were looking for price cuts of about 20 percent for such services, but Reuters says the savings appear to be steeper, especially on hydraulic fracturing costs. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 07, 2015

Marathon Petroleum to boost size of condensate pipeline in Ohio
 

Marathon Petroleum Corporation's planned Ohio condensate pipeline will be able to move more than five times as much of the super-light crude as initially estimated as the company aims to expand its service to more refineries, reports The Gulf Today, a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. Marathon said the 49-mile pipeline from southeast Ohio to a tank farm near the company’s oil refinery in Canton, Ohio, will be 16 inches in diameter, twice the originally planned 8 inches. The Gulf Today says the bigger pipeline will be able to move 180,000 barrels per day of condensate, up from 35,000 barrels per day, in the Utica shale play “where output of the super-light form of crude is prevalent.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 06, 2015

Analysis: Oil at $65 a barrel would ease ‘fracklog’ of U.S. crude
 

BloombergBusiness reports that oil prices need to recover to $65 a barrel for U.S. drillers to tap a pent-up supply locked in shale wells and unleash more crude on commodity markets. Dipping into this “fracklog” would add 500,000 barrels a day of oil to the market by the end of 2016, Bloomberg Intelligence said in an analysis. Bloomberg also says that the number of wells waiting to be hydraulically fractured has ballooned as companies wait for their drilling costs to drop. That could slow the recovery of oil prices if drillers quickly finish wells at the first sign of higher prices. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 06, 2015

WPX Energy inks $200 million deal to sell Marcellus shale assets
 

WPX Energy Inc. has signed a $200 million agreement to sell assets in the Marcellus shale play to an undisclosed buyer, reports the Denver Business Journal. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company said in a release that the sale includes various long-term natural gas purchase and sales agreements along with 135 million British Thermal Units per day of transportation capacity on Transco’s Northeast Supply Link project. WPX had also sold $300 million worth of assets in the Marcellus region earlier this year. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

May 05, 2015

Bricker analysis: More than $6 billion invested in Ohio oil and gas projects since last fall
 

Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry continues to invest billions in new projects despite a downturn that has led to cutbacks in jobs and drilling rigs in the state, reports Columbus Business First. The newspaper says that Bricker & Eckler LLP’s new “Shale Economic Development Overview” for spring 2015 finds that investment in oil and gas projects in Ohio has risen about $6 billion since last fall. In total, more than $28 billion in projects have been announced since Bricker began tracking such developments in October 2013. Business First says that oil and gas exploration and production activity in eastern Ohio is down from a year ago but most other portions of the sector, especially pipelines, are going forward. “Even though there’s been kind of a pause button hit on the E&P side, the infrastructure is still going full-steam ahead,” Bricker & Eckler attorney Matt Warnock, chair of the firm’s oil and gas industry group, told the newspaper. For more, read the full story. The Bricker & Eckler shale overview can be found here.
 


 
Posted by J. Bell in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

May 05, 2015

Improvements by drillers in Marcellus shale play drive up natural gas supply
 

Major improvements by natural gas exploration and production companies, including ones operating in the Marcellus shale play, have allowed them to continue to drill profitably in a period of depressed prices but have also added to the glut of natural gas and put more pressure on prices, reports Platts, an energy news site. "What's happening is that we continue to get better and get more production per rig," Kyle Mork, president of Energy Corporation of America, said at an energy conference in Houston. Platts says that natural gas production in the Marcellus region has increased eightfold since 2010 “due to a combination of the play's vast resource base, industry-leading production costs and continued efficiency gains by operators.” For more, read the full story.
 


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

 

May 05, 2015

Ohio appeals court rules in favor of Chesapeake and Statoil in lease dispute
 

Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Chesapeake Appalachia LLC and Statoil USA Onshore Properties Inc. in a dispute with landowners over the extension of mineral rights leases in Columbiana County, Ohio, reports Farm and Dairy. According to the newspaper, at issue was alleged ambiguity in the language of lease extensions for acreage that Range Resources had assigned to Chesapeake and Statoil in December 2011. In Patrick R. Kenney et al. vs. Chesapeake Appalachia LLC et al., Seventh App. Dist. Case No. 14 CO 24, the landowners appealed a decision by the Columbiana County Court of Common Pleas that granted summary judgment in favor of Chesapeake and Statoil. Farm and Dairy says that the appellants “argued that the renewal clause did not create a legally binding offer, as required for an option, because there was no certainty as to the terms of the extension.” But the Seventh District Court of Appeals rejected that argument, along with three others, in upholding the lower court’s decision. For more, read the full Farm and Dairy story.
 


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

 

May 04, 2015

Chesapeake agrees to pay $25 million to settle lease dispute in Michigan
 

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has agreed to a $25 million civil settlement with the state of Michigan to settle claims that the Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas producer conspired with another energy company to fix bids on oil and gas lease sales in 2010, reports Platts, an energy news site. Citing a news release from the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Platts says the settlement resolves allegations that Chesapeake "had conspired with Calgary-based Encana Oil & Gas to avoid bidding wars against each other in Michigan public auctions for oil and gas leases that caused lease prices to plummet in October 2010.” Chesapeake did not respond to a request for comment from Platts. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

May 04, 2015

Trans Energy hit with $600,000 fine for violations in West Virginia
 

Oil and natural gas exploration company Trans Energy Inc. has been put on two years of probation and ordered to pay fines totaling $600,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act in connection with its drilling activity in West Virginia, reports WDTV in Bridgeport, West Virginia. Citing a new release from the office of William Ihlenfeld, II, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, the television station says that Trans Energy discharged materials such as rock, sand, soil and stone into streams in Marshall County to build large impoundments to supply water to nearby natural gas well sites. The release also said that Trans Energy “failed to properly train and supervise its employees and relied upon the unsubstantiated representations of a nearby property owner when determining whether environmental laws were being followed.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

May 01, 2015

Economist says shifting landscape could reverse oil industry bust
 

The factors that led to the bust in the nation's oil and natural gas industry could just as easily switch, sending oil prices upward again, John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, told the Denver Business Journal. Felmy listed several factors that led to the downturn, including rising U.S. oil production during the last five years and the international market becoming glutted with oil in 2014. According to the Business Journal, Felmy declined to forecast where oil prices are headed, but said “for the reasons (prices) came down, they can go back up just as quickly. What will OPEC do? Will there be hurricanes (that shut down production)?” Allowing exports of U.S. crude oil could also change the global supply-demand equation and affect prices, Felmy said. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

May 01, 2015

Southwestern starts drilling on new acreage in Pennsylvania and West Virginia
 

Southwestern Energy Co. has drilled its first five wells on its new Appalachia acreage as the company continues to integrate assets it acquired from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Statoil in 2014, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Citing Southwestern’s first-quarter earnings statement, the newspaper says the Houston-based company is now operating in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia as a result of those acquisitions. (See our January 6, 2015 blog, “Southwestern Energy closes deals in Marcellus, Utica shale plays.”) In addition to drilling the new wells, Southwestern completed four others, which are to be put into service during the second quarter of this year. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Apr 30, 2015

Energy companies trying to ease funding squeeze in oil-price slump
 

Energy companies trying to head off a potential funding squeeze are getting a second chance in the bond market, allowing them to keep drilling as they seek to weather the oil price slump, reports BloombergBusiness. For example, the news site says Halcon Resources Corp., which is run by one of the architects of the U.S. shale boom, recently sold $700 million of bonds that pay junk yields while pledging assets to back the debt. Energy firms are getting a lifeline through such bond sales, according to Bloomberg, as banks shrink credit lines that are tied to the value of oil reserves. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 30, 2015

Geological Survey issues maps on seismic events in oil and natural gas areas
 

The New York Times reports that the United States Geological Survey has released its first comprehensive assessment of the link between seismic events and oil and natural gas operations. According to the Times, the Geological Survey has identified and mapped 17 regions where tremors have occurred, noting that Oklahoma is by far the state with the most seismic events. The report also mapped parts of eight other states from Lake Erie to the Rocky Mountains. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 29, 2015

Oil expert: Crude prices are headed ‘all over the place’
 

Oil historian and economist Daniel Yergin said in an interview with BloombergBusiness that the price of crude oil is headed “all over the place.” According to the news service, Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Inc., said the much-debated shape of the oil price curve will take the form of a “W” as crude is whipsawed by mixed signs from a rattled U.S. shale boom as Saudi Arabia refuses to balance a global supply glut. He also indicated that the fate of world oil markets is largely in the hands of myriad U.S. wildcatters, all with different strategies and an unusual ability to respond quickly to changed circumstances in the energy sector. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 29, 2015

Xcoal Energy plans to tap natural gas from Marcellus shale region
 

Xcoal Energy & Resources LLC, the largest exporter of U.S. coal, is expanding into the natural gas business as the world’s appetite for the cleaner-burning fuel grows at coal’s expense, reports BloombergBusiness. The news service says that Xcoal Founder Ernie Thrasher is starting XLNG Energy & Resources, which plans to begin exporting liquefied natural gas no later than 2018. Bloomberg says the company will focus on selling gas from the Marcellus shale region that includes the historically coal-rich states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Xcoal’s move comes as cheaper gas and tighter clean-air regulations shrink coal consumption in power plants. For more, read the full story.
 


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

 

Apr 28, 2015

Expert says energy sector in need of new breed of executives
 

Reuters reports that a Houston-based leadership consultant is saying the energy sector will need a "new breed" of executive who innovates in real-time to effectively navigate through the crude oil price collapse and the industry transformation that is expected to follow. The oil price crash represents for some "a great chance to seize on the crisis and turn it into an opportunity," Les Csorba, a partner with Heidrick & Struggles, told Reuters. He said that as baby-boomer oil executives near retirement, their replacements need to abandon the notion that production growth should be pursued at any cost, a mentality that dominated the sector before drilling for oil and natural gas took off in North America's shale formations. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 28, 2015

OPEC says its price war is driving U.S. producers out of business
 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says the demand for oil will rise during 2015 because the cartel is winning its price war against U.S. shale producers by driving them out of business, reports Time magazine. “Higher global refinery runs, driven by increased [summer] seasonal demand, along with the improvement in refinery margins, are likely to increase demand for crude oil over the coming months,” OPEC said in its “Monthly Market Report” issued April 16. According to Time, the OPEC report also said U.S. shale producers are starting to feel the pinch of low oil prices, citing data gathered by oilfield services company Baker Hughes that shows the rig count in the United States fell by 238 in March. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 27, 2015

Companies re-evaluating plans for ethane ‘cracker’ facility in West Virginia
 

Brazilian companies Braskem and Odebrecht have confirmed they are re-evaluating plans to build an ethane “cracker” plant along the Ohio River in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but stressed the project wasn't being cancelled outright, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. In a joint statement, the companies stated that “under the current energy scenarios, the original configuration of Project ASCENT (Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise) needs to be re-evaluated, and a final investment decision on the project will require more diligence.” The statement was issued by Braskem and Odebrecht prior to an announcement on April 22 that PTT Global Chemical of Thailand and Marubeni Corp. of Japan are looking at building a cracker facility in Belmont County, Ohio. (See our April 23 blog, “Thai company looks at building ‘cracker’ facility in eastern Ohio.”) Click here to read the full Business Times story about the Braskem and Odebrecht project.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Apr 27, 2015

Pennsylvania well permits hit five-year low during first quarter of 2015
 

The number of permits for unconventional oil and natural gas wells issued in Pennsylvania during the first quarter of 2015 fell by 30 percent compared to the same period a year ago, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Citing data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the newspaper says DEP issued 601 permits in the first three months of 2015 versus 863 permits in the first quarter of 2014. That's the fewest number of permits in the first quarter over the past five years, according to the Business Times. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Apr 27, 2015

Report: Shale boom has put United States at center of oil world
 

The latest oil boom gone bust may feel like history repeating itself, but the New York Times reports that this time the center of the oil world has spun from the sands of Saudi Arabia to the shale oil fields of Texas and North Dakota. The newspaper says the United States is overtaking the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as the vital global swing producer that determines oil prices. The change has been building since 2008, says the Times, as American shale fields account for roughly half of the world’s oil production growth and U.S. petroleum output has nearly doubled. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 24, 2015

Antero’s production is strong but rig count falls in Marcellus, Utica
 

Antero Resources announced it came close to doubling its average daily natural gas production during the first quarter of 2015, but it has reduced its rig count in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays by about half, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. In an operational update, the Denver-based company said production rose 89 percent to a daily average of about 1.5 billion equivalent cubic feet of gas compared to the same quarter last year, with production boosted by 41 Marcellus wells being put into service and strong production from wells in the Utica shale play. However, the Business Times reports that Antero is postponing completion of 50 wells in the Marcellus play until 2016 and reducing its rig count from 21 to 11 in the Marcellus and Utica region amid low commodity prices. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Apr 24, 2015

Company plans to move forward on ethane ‘cracker' facility in eastern Ohio
 

The development team at Houston-based Appalachian Resins, Inc. (AR) has agreed to keep moving forward with plans to build a $1.3 billion ethylene/polyethylene “cracker” facility in Monroe County, Ohio, reports DownstreamToday. "Even with changing conditions, Appalachian Resins still appears to be a viable project … because of the plant's location and configuration,” AR Chief Executive Officer Jim Cutler told the oil and gas industry news site. The site says the company expects to build the cracker facility on a 50-acre site abutting the Ohio River in Salem Township, with AR anticipating a 2018 start-up date for the project. Another ethane cracker project is being proposed in nearby Belmont County by PTT Global Chemical of Thailand and Marubeni Corp. of Japan. (See our April 23 blog, "Thai company looks at building 'cracker' facility in eastern Ohio.") For more about the Appalachian Resins project, read the full story by DownstreamToday.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 24, 2015

Report: Great Britain could be sitting on a giant oil field
 

Oil fever has gripped Great Britain after a small company announced the discovery of what it described as “a possible world-class potential resource” in the Surrey countryside south of London, reports the New York Times. According to the newspaper, the company, UK Oil and Gas Investments, said an evaluation by an American firm, Nutech, of a well drilled in late 2014 indicated there were 158 million barrels of oil per square mile in the terrain around it. The Times says investors and others noted that UK Oil and Gas and its partners could be sitting on almost nine billion barrels of oil, which would amount to a giant field if oil can be brought to the surface. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Miscellaneous   |  Permalink

 

Apr 23, 2015

Schlumberger to lay off another 11,000 workers amid oil and gas slump
 

Oilfield services company Schlumberger plans to lay off 11,000 employees in addition to the 9,000 job cuts it announced in January, reports the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, Louisiana. The newspaper says the company cited a downturn in oil and natural gas exploration and production jobs, principally on U.S. land rigs, tied to low commodity prices. Retired Louisiana State University economics professor Loren Scott told the Daily Advertiser that Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas jobs would not suffer the extent of layoffs that will be felt in states such as Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and Ohio where most of the drilling is done on land that demands higher per-barrel prices. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 23, 2015

Thai company looks at building ‘cracker” facility in eastern Ohio
 

The Columbus Dispatch reports that an energy company based in Thailand is considering building an ethane “cracker” facility in Belmont County, Ohio, a project that could lead to a multi-billion dollar investment in the eastern part of the state. The newspaper says that PTT Global Chemical of Thailand, a chemical and fuel-refining company, is working with Marubeni Corp. of Japan on the plans for the cracker. According to the Dispatch, the companies will spend the next 12 to 16 months working on engineering plans and obtaining permits and would likely decide in 2016 on whether to move forward with the project. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 22, 2015

Agency: U.S. may become net exporter of energy due in part to Marcellus, Utica shale plays
 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the United States will reach a new balance in energy trade sometime between 2020 and 2030 and could become a net energy exporter, reports WGBH radio in Boston. The station says the federal agency's prediction cites a rise in domestic natural gas production, including from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and changes in energy demands. Such a shift would end a streak of more than 50 years in which the United States has been a net importer of energy. For more, read the full story.
 


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

 

Apr 22, 2015

Oil companies may start bringing drilled wells into production
 

Energy companies keeping thousands of barrels of crude oil off the market by drilling but not completing wells may soon start flooding the market again, reports FuelFix.com. The energy industry news site says that oil producers earlier this year began announcing plans to defer well completions, essentially storing their oil underground until the market rebounds and they can get a better price for their products. FuelFix says oil prices recently have ticked up slightly and oil-field services companies are charging less, so producers have more incentive to start pumping from those drilled wells. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 21, 2015

Group says $8.1 billion in investment expected in Utica shale play next year
 

Despite the drilling slowdown in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale play, oil and gas exploration continues to have positive ramifications across that region of the state, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. Citing an analysis by Energy In Depth Ohio, an oil and natural gas trade group, the newspaper says investment in Ohio’s shale industry has reached $23.3 billion, with another $8.1 billion of investments expected in 2016. That will include the construction of additional pipelines, gas-fired power plants and oil and gas processing plants. For more, read the full story. The Energy In Depth analysis can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 21, 2015

Six natural-gas fired power plants under development in Ohio
 

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reports that at least six natural gas-fired power plants are being built in Ohio (or in the planning stages) by independent power companies. The newspaper says the companies hope to capitalize on Ohio's plentiful and cheap shale gas; the decision by companies such as FirstEnergy Corp. to close old coal-burning power plants; and proposed federal rules requiring power companies to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. Unlike conventional coal, the new plants combine gas turbines and steam boilers, making them far more efficient than coal-fired boilers. (See our April 14 blog “Swiss company lines up $899 million for gas-fired power plant project in eastern Ohio” for more about one of the projects.)  The full Plain Dealer story can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 20, 2015

Ohio lawmaker says severance tax increase is dead for now
 

Any tax increase on oil and natural gas activity in Ohio is dead for now after lawmakers stripped a proposed tax hike from the state budget bill on April 14, state Rep. Ryan Smith told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Ohio House leaders removed a budget proposal by Governor John Kasich that would have raised the state’s severance tax on horizontal drilling to help pay for income-tax cuts. (See our February 4, 2015 blog, “Kasich’s budget plan calls for big boost in oil and gas severance tax.”) There are no plans to advance any other bill to change the severance tax, said Smith, chairman of the House Finance Committee, adding there's been a slowdown in the oil and gas industry and “we don't want to pile on.” For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 20, 2015

Shell’s purchase of BG Group includes acreage in Marcellus shale play
 

Royal Dutch Shell's agreement to buy BG Group for $70 billion may give it a bigger footprint in the Marcellus shale play, an area that Shell had backed away from in 2014, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says BG has a 50-50 joint venture agreement with Exco Resources Inc. for conventional and unconventional oil and natural gas assets in Pennsylvania. Some of that acreage is not far from what Shell affiliate SWEPI sold to Rex Energy Corp. last summer. (See our August, 19, 2014 blog, “Rex Energy to acquire 208,000 acres from Shell in Pennsylvania, Ohio.”) For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Apr 17, 2015

Shell plans to shed $30 billion in assets once acquisition of BG Group is complete
 

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is planning to sell about $30 billion in combined assets once its planned $70 billion acquisition of London-based BG Group PLC is finalized in early 2016, reports the Houston Business Journal. The newspaper says the combined company, which would be the second-largest energy firm in the world after Exxon Mobil Corp., will look to shed redundant and ancillary assets that could range from holdings in the Houston, Texas region to ones throughout Shell's global operations. "We will focus the company on fewer broad themes," said Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. For more, read the full story. More articles about Royal Dutch Shell can be found here.

 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 17, 2015

Trans Energy shifts focus with sale of acreage in Marcellus shale play
 

Trans Energy Inc. plans to sell some of its oil and natural gas wells and acreage in the Marcellus shale play to focus on its holdings in northern West Virginia, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. According to the newspaper, the West Virginia-based drilling company said it would sell 12 operating wells and 5,159 acres in Wetzel County, West Virginia for $71.3 million to an undisclosed buyer. Trans Energy also said it would focus on what it called its “core acreage” of 10,400 acres in Marion and Marshall counties with plans for about 350 horizontal wells there. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Apr 16, 2015

American Energy-Utica and Chesapeake reach settlement in dispute
 

Columbus Business First reports that American Energy-Utica (AEU) has announced it has reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed against it and other entities earlier this year by Chesapeake Energy Corp. The newspaper says that AEU, an oil and natural-gas company affiliated with American Energy Partners LP (AEP), and Houston investment firm Energy & Minerals Group are no longer part of Chesapeake’s lawsuit. (See our February 19, 2015 blog, “Chesapeake files lawsuit against American Energy Partners and related entities.”) As part of the settlement, AEU will give 6,000 acres in Harrison County, Ohio and pay up to $25 million to Chesapeake, according to Business First. In addition, a statement from American Energy Partners says that former Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, now a director and the single largest non-institutional shareholder in AEU, did not approve the settlement, and that McClendon and AEP “will continue their efforts to have the dispute arbitrated as required by Mr. McClendon’s agreements with Chesapeake.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Apr 16, 2015

Ohio hits dry well on drilling permits as shale boom becomes quiet
 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued no new permits for wells to be drilled during the week of April 4, marking the first time that has happened since the state’s oil and natural gas drilling boom began about five years ago, reports Crain’s Cleveland Business. The newspaper says ODNR issued almost 2,000 permits over the past three years for a pace of more than 12 new permits each week, so the complete lack of activity was a surprise even to industry insiders. But Ohio Oil and Gas Association Executive Vice President Shawn Bennett told Crain’s: “This is a perfect example of what happens when commodity prices in the industry tank. It’s simple economics — when prices are low, why drill?” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 15, 2015

Low natural gas prices driving layoffs at Consol Energy
 

Low natural gas prices are causing Consol Energy Inc. to lay off about 5 percent of its work force, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Consol said in a statement: “Like many of our peers operating in the Marcellus (shale) play, we are evaluating our work force and taking steps to streamline our organization as the industry is confronted by a potentially sustained period of low commodity prices.” The Business Times says Consol employed 3,834 people as of Dec. 31, 2014. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Apr 15, 2015

Oil companies are adapting to the reality of low crude prices
 

As a nine-month downturn in oil prices drags on, the initial panic that swept the energy industry has moderated as companies begin to adapt to drilling in a low-priced crude world, reports the Dallas Morning News. The newspaper says layoff announcements in the oil industry have slowed and the U.S. rig count, a barometer for the industry, fell by 164 rigs over the past four weeks compared to the 276 rigs taken out of service in February. “The rate of decline has slowed, and it will continue to slow,” Chris Lafakis, a senior economist at Moody’s, told the Morning News. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 14, 2015

‘Refracking’ oil wells may not be the best option for drillers
 

While technology now allows companies to go back to wells and spur oil production through “refracking," it remains unclear whether that is the best option in the current crude oil price environment, according to Platts. The energy news site reports that well refractures, which can be done at about 25 percent of the cost of drilling a new horizontal well, have grabbed the industry’s interest as U.S. oil prices stay around the $50-a-barrel mark. But Chris Robart with energy consulting firm IHS told Platts that refracking technology is “not ready for prime time” and identifying wells and deciding how to refracture them is not that simple. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 14, 2015

Swiss company lines up $899 million for gas-fired power plant project in eastern Ohio
 

Swiss company Advanced Power AG has arranged financing for its $899 million natural gas-fired power plant project near Carrollton, Ohio, reports the Akron Beacon Journal. According to the newspaper, the 700-megawatt plant will be powered by natural gas from eastern Ohio’s Utica shale play and could produce enough electricity to power 750,000 homes. Advanced Power said the plant is scheduled to begin operations in late 2017, with an estimated 700 construction jobs and 20 to 30 permanent positions to be created. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 13, 2015

Marietta professor: This is not the time to raise Ohio’s severance tax
 

The timing of Ohio Governor John Kasich’s proposed severance tax increase on oil and natural gas, while possibly “well-intentioned from a political and humanistic standpoint,” couldn’t be worse, writes Marietta College Professor Robert Chase in an op-ed piece in the Akron Beacon Journal. Chase, chairman of the college’s Department of Petroleum Engineering and Geology, contends that Kasich’s tax plan would likely hurt energy investment in Ohio and cost jobs. “The truth is, drilling companies are in trouble,” Chase writes. “The Ohio rig count… is in free fall. (Oil and gas) exploration budgets have been slashed on average by nearly 40 percent for the year ahead. Drilling in Ohio is in danger of coming to a screeching halt.” For more, read the full story. Bricker & Eckler’s analysis of Kasich’s tax proposal can be found here.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 13, 2015

Orders plunge for machinery used in oil and natural gas operations
 

Orders for equipment used in oil and natural gas fields plunged in February in another sign of how energy businesses are preparing for a difficult future now that commodity prices have collapsed, according to MarketWatch. Citing a U.S. Department of Commerce report, the financial news site says that new orders for mining, oil-field and gas-field machinery fell 16.6 percent in February, which was the biggest monthly drop since October 2014. On a year-to-date basis, orders for such machinery are down nearly 30 percent. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 13, 2015

U.S. refineries are ready to produce gasoline at record level
 

Refineries are poised to make gasoline at a record pace this year, keeping the biggest U.S. crude oil glut in more than 80 years from overflowing storage facilities, Bloomberg reports. The news service says that refineries are enjoying their best price margins in two years and will increase output to meet consumer demand. Bloomberg also says refineries have added more than 100,000 barrels a day of capacity since the summer of 2014 when they processed the most oil on record. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 10, 2015

EV Energy Partners sells interest in Utica East Ohio Midstream
 

Utica Gas Services LLC, a subsidiary of Williams Partners LP, will buy EV Energy Partners' 21 percent interest in the Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC operation for $575 million, reports the Canton Repository. Citing a new release from Houston-based EV Energy, the newspaper says the transaction is expected to close in mid-July. In the release, EV Energy CEO Michael Mercer said the transaction, along with the previous sale of the company’s interest in Cardinal Gas Services, “reflects the completion of our divestiture of midstream investments in the Utica shale (play).” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 10, 2015

Kinder Morgan to add second pipeline to move petroleum liquids through Ohio
 

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Texas-based Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP plans to add a second 12-inch pipeline to its previously announced project to ship petroleum-based liquids through northern Ohio. The newspaper says the two pipelines, dubbed UTOPIA West and UTOPIA East, would run side-by-side along a 240-mile route from Harrison County in eastern Ohio to Fulton County in northwest Ohio. From Fulton County, UTOPIA West would carry natural gasoline through existing pipelines to Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. UTOPIA East would connect with existing pipelines in Michigan to carry natural gas liquids, including ethane and propane from Ohio’s Utica shale play, to a NOVA Chemicals Corp. plastics plant in Corunna, Ontario. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 09, 2015

Report from environmental group criticizes states for management of oil and gas drilling wastes
 

A new report from an environmental group opposed to hydraulic fracturing contends that Ohio and other Appalachian states are failing to manage oil and natural gas waste as they would other hazardous wastes, reports Crain’s Cleveland Business. The report by Earthworks claims that the states aren’t tracking the drilling waste generated within their borders or properly monitoring its disposal the way federal regulators once hoped. Officials at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) told Crain’s they had not yet seen the Earthworks report but would review it. ODNR has consistently said Ohio’s disposal wells are safe and the agency’s oversight of them is adequate. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 09, 2015

Ruling on northern long-eared bat softens impact for oil and gas industry
 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the northern long-eared bat is a threatened species but not yet endangered, with Columbus Business First reporting that the ruling “softens the blow a bit for an oil and natural gas drilling industry that dreaded an endangered listing.” The newspaper says the federal agency claims the bat is threatened because of a fungal disease that has killed millions of the flying mammals. Industries that work in wooded areas where the bats live had opposed an endangered designation, saying it would make it costly and difficult to clear woods for projects, including new pipelines. Business First says that state agencies have more flexibility in dealing with a species when it is considered threatened but not endangered. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 08, 2015

Low oil prices spark interest among bargain-hunting investors
 

The drop in oil prices and its effect on energy companies has prompted a surge of interest from bargain-hunting investors and those betting on a price rebound, reports Dow Jones Business News. The financial news site says some investors, including distressed debt specialists, traditional equity funds, private equity companies and hedge funds, believe markets have overshot and the price of oil will rise. Others believe they can profit from the current low price of oil as it continues to take its toll on struggling companies. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 07, 2015

Chesapeake Utilities completes merger with Ohio-based Gatherco
 

Chesapeake Utilities Corp. has completed a merger with Gatherco, Inc., which resulted in the creation of Aspire Energy of Ohio LLC in a transaction valued at $59.2 million, reports the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Based in Orrville, Ohio, Gatherco has operations in 40 Ohio counties, including 16 natural gas gathering systems and more than 2,000 miles of pipelines and right-of-way in central and eastern Ohio. The Plain Dealer says Aspire Energy will use those assets to provide natural gas midstream, processing and transportation services to more than 300 gas producers. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 07, 2015

North Dakota enacts new rules to improve safety of oil shipments
 

ABC News reports that North Dakota has begun requiring the removal of certain liquids and gases from oil before it is loaded onto rail cars in a move that the industry and state regulators believe will make for safer shipments from the Bakken shale play. The rules, developed over the past year, require all crude from North Dakota oil fields to be treated by heat or pressure (to reduce its volatility) before being loaded. "North Dakota's crude oil conditioning order is based on sound science and represents an important step in the ongoing work to ensure that oil-by-rail transportation is as safe as possible," Governor Jack Dalrymple said in a statement. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 06, 2015

Columbia Pipeline plans $1.4 billion project in Ohio, West Virginia
 

Texas-based Columbia Pipeline Group, a unit of NiSource Inc., is seeking federal approval to build a 161-mile pipeline for natural gas, plus three compression stations, in southeast Ohio and northern West Virginia, reports the Akron Beacon Journal. The newspaper says the $1.4 billion Leach XPress Pipeline would carry natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania to markets served by Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission in the Mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Apr 06, 2015

Report: 1.4 million Ohioans live close to tracks that transport Bakken crude oil
 

Almost 1.4 million Ohioans live within a half-mile of railroad lines where volatile crude oil from the Bakken shale play in North Dakota rolls by each week, reports the Columbus Dispatch. According to the newspaper, Ohio is a key junction between the Bakken region and East Coast oil refineries with trains that carry Bakken oil traveling weekly through or near Columbus, Akron, Cleveland and Toledo. While noting most trains don’t derail, the Dispatch says about 12 percent of Ohio’s population could be forced from their homes should a train hauling oil from the Bakken region run off the tracks. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Apr 03, 2015

Chesapeake states its case in widely watched oil and gas royalty dispute
 

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Chesapeake Energy Corp. has gone to the Supreme Court of Texas to defend how the company deducted post-production costs from royalty checks in a case widely watched by the oil and natural gas industry and property owners suing Chesapeake for millions of dollars. In the dispute, Chesapeake Exploration LLC and Chesapeake Operating Inc. v. Martha Rowan Hyder, et al., Sup. Ct. of Texas, No. 14-0302, the company is challenging a 2014 ruling by an appeals court in San Antonio that upheld a state district court decision awarding the Hyder family of Fort Worth at least $1 million in royalties, interest and attorney fees. According to the Star-Telegram, Chesapeake argues that not overturning the appeals court’s decision would create a “sea change in Texas oil and gas law.” The newspaper also reports that attorneys for the Hyder family claim their case involves a “specifically tailored, heavily negotiated” oil and gas lease that says the deal would be “cost-free” for them. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Apr 03, 2015

Dock expansion along Ohio River driven by demand for fracking sand
 

McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises (MRIE) will begin construction on a $1.3 million expansion of its barge dock along the Ohio River in Pittsburgh in a project spurred by the impact that the shale drilling industry has had on the business, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. MRIE moves and stores large amounts of sand used during the hydraulic fracturing process that extracts natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. The newspaper says the company has seen sand shipments by barge increase dramatically, noting that deliveries of fracking sand have been mired by shortages of railroad cars to move the material. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Apr 02, 2015

Once busy Barnett shale play is down to one drilling rig
 

Plummeting commodity prices, along with the lure of bigger payouts in other parts of Texas and across the country, have brought oil and natural gas exploration nearly to a halt in north Texas, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The newspaper says there was only one drilling rig operating in the Barnett shale play as of two weeks ago. That compares to about 200 rigs in October 2008 when “everywhere you turned, someone was poking a hole in the ground (and) money, as well as gas, was flowing,” says the Star-Telegram. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 02, 2015

Pennsylvania sets hearing date on permit for Shell ‘cracker’ plant
 

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a public hearing for May 5th regarding an air quality permit for Royal Dutch Shell's proposed ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says issuance of the permit is considered a critical piece of the development puzzle as Shell continues to evaluate the project. Based on the air permit application, the plant would convert ethane into ethylene and be capable of producing 1.6 million metric tons of polyethylene per year. For more, read the full story. Articles related to the Shell cracker project can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Apr 01, 2015

Oil and gas companies turn to “crowdfunding” for capital
 

Would-be oil and natural gas wildcatters and investors can now turn to equity “crowdfunding,” which is a way to raise money more synonymous with projects in technology, fashion and filmmaking, according to Reuters. The news service reports that at least two small Texas firms, Energy Funders and CrudeFunders, are testing the concept in the oil and gas industry. Potential investors, hoping to tap into smaller projects that big banks would normally pass over, are taking advantage of recent federal legislation that allows crowdfunding by for-profit companies. For more, read the full story.

 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Apr 01, 2015

Oklahoma lawsuit over seismic activity raises liability question for oil and gas companies
 

A home owners’ lawsuit against two energy companies now before the Supreme Court of Oklahoma highlights an emerging liability question on whether companies can be forced to pay for damages from seismic activity if the tremors can be linked to oil and natural gas activity, reports the Wall Street Journal. In the dispute, Sanda Ladra v. New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil Company, District Court of Lincoln County, Okla., No. CJ-2014-115, Ms. Ladra alleges that New Dominion and Spess operated wastewater disposal wells that triggered an earthquake in November 2011 that damaged her home near Prague, Oklahoma. The Journal says that most seismic events under investigation in Oklahoma have been too small to cause major damage. However, the newspaper reports that the prospect of facing juries over claims related to seismic activity is stoking fear among energy companies about lawsuits and tighter regulations that could increase their costs and stall drilling. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Mar 31, 2015

Jobs of energy executives will be in jeopardy if low oil prices persist
 

Energy company executives have held on to their jobs during the crash in oil prices and resulting layoffs of oilfield workers and mid-level employees, but that could be about to change, reports the Houston Business Journal. "If prices stay down, that'll be the next thing (companies will) do," Tom Simmons, the global leader of Spencer Stuart’s energy practice, told the newspaper. "They'll cut into the muscle, which is the management team. Somebody's going to get blamed for the bad decisions." For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 31, 2015

U.S. refiners are going directly to the wellhead to get better crude oil
 

Reuters reports that some U.S. oil refiners are buying tanker trucks and extending local pipeline networks to get more oil directly from the wellhead in an effort to secure a more predictable, consistent and profitable stream of crude oil. As an example, the news service says that Phillips 66, the nation's fourth-largest refiner, has added trucks and offloading equipment at several of its refineries to help reduce its reliance on oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, the nation's biggest crude oil crossroads and storage hub. A growing volume of Canadian oil is often mixed with lighter domestic shale crude at Cushing, Reuters says, resulting in blends that can be less profitable than similar oil from the field. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 30, 2015

Chesapeake cutting capital budget due to low natural gas prices
 

Pointing to low natural gas prices, Chesapeake Energy Corp. is cutting a half-billion dollars from its planned capital expenses this year, just a month after announcing major reductions in spending and rig count, reports Columbus Business First. According to the newspaper, the Oklahoma City-based driller said its capital budget will fall $500 million from the $4 billion to $4.5 billion projection it made in February. (See our March 2, 2015 blog “Chesapeake Energy will reduce capital spending, drilling activity.”) Chesapeake’s average rig count will continue to decline as well, but Business First says the company is keeping its rig count at three to five in the Utica shale play in eastern Ohio. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 30, 2015

Company opts for mineral purchases instead of oil and gas lease agreements
 

It appears a slight shift is taking place on the oil and natural gas front in the Upper Ohio Valley, with at least one firm purchasing entire mineral tracts from property owners instead of entering into lease agreements with them, reports the Intelligencer/News-Register in Wheeling, West Virginia. The newspaper says public records show that Oklahoma City-based Westhawk Minerals LLC paid about $8,750 per acre for a 51.66-acre tract near Shadyside, Ohio, a little more than $6,000 per acre for another tract near Fairpoint, Ohio, and $6,667 per acre for land in Bethlehem, West Virginia. The practice can be beneficial for property owners, according to the Intelligencer/News-Register, in that the up-front payment likely will be higher than what is offered through a lease agreement. However, royalties are not included in such deals. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 27, 2015

Coalition opposes plan to raise Ohio’s severance tax on oil and gas
 

A group of local elected, business, labor and community leaders in Ohio have formed a coalition to oppose Governor John Kasich’s plan to raise the state’s severance tax on oil and natural gas production, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. The newspaper says the Protect Ohio Jobs Coalition announced it is "dedicated to ensuring tax policies do not stop the growth of Ohio's oil and natural gas industry, the Ohio businesses that support it, and the Ohio jobs it creates in related industries." The coalition said it has more than 40 members opposing the severance tax increase proposed in House Bill 64, which continues to be debated in the Ohio House. For more, read the full story. Bricker & Eckler’s analysis of Kasich’s severance tax proposal can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 27, 2015

Ohio rig count drops again as drilling companies pull back
 

The Youngstown Business Journal reports that the drilling rig count in Ohio’s Utica shale play continues to shrink as oil and natural gas producers see no break in the lower energy prices that have caused the industry to pull back on new exploration. The newspaper says that Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported that the rig count now stands at 26, down from 29 the prior week. By comparison, 51 rigs were operating in the Utica play during the week ending January 10, 2015. For more read, the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 27, 2015

Statoil agrees on payment to drill under the Ohio River
 

Norway-based Statoil has agreed to pay an average price of $8,732 per acre to drill on 474 acres of state-owned land under the Ohio River in West Virginia’s Marshall and Wetzel counties, reports the Intelligencer/News-Register in Wheeling. The newspaper says the state of West Virginia will also receive 20 percent production royalties from natural gas drilling under the river. In addition, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Commerce told the newspaper that the state is still finalizing drilling agreements with Gastar Exploration and Noble Energy. For more, read the full story. Click here to read our August 27, 2014 blog, “West Virginia seeks bids for shale gas drilling below the Ohio River”


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 26, 2015

Chesapeake executive: It’s time for companies to deliver results in Utica shale play
 

A Chesapeake Energy Corp. executive told Columbus Business First that it is time for oil and natural gas companies to start proving themselves after years of spending big on development of Ohio’s Utica shale play. "We're entering into a stage now ... where companies are going to be asked to start delivering results," said Chesapeake Executive Vice President Chris Doyle, while adding the caveat that low commodity prices and a continued strain on oil and gas infrastructure in the Utica play could change plans. "This is where you will be able to separate the weak from the strong," Doyle told Business First. For more, read the full story. More articles related to Chesapeake Energy can be found here.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 26, 2015

Frozen market for oil and natural gas deals may start to warm up
 

Merger and acquisition deals in the oil and natural gas industry remain largely frozen as drillers wait for crude oil prices to hit bottom, but signs of a thaw are emerging, reports Bunker Ports News Worldwide. According to the news site, oil and gas exploration and production companies have issued nearly $9 billion in stock this year, well above recent first-quarter totals. Bunker Ports says some industry watchers see that as a precursor to increased mergers and acquisitions activity, as potential takeover targets and asset holders consider previously unacceptable prices. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 25, 2015

Lifting U.S. ban on oil exports remains a hard sell in Congress
 

Despite a lobbying push by oil and natural gas drilling companies and steep job losses in their industry, there has been no significant effort in Congress to lift the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. crude oil, reports Oil and Gas Investor. Citing a story by Bloomberg, the oil and gas news site says that even Congress’ top advocate for lifting the ban, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, hasn’t proposed legislation that would allow exports to flow. The reason for the go-slow approach, according to Bloomberg, is wariness among lawmakers that they will be blamed if gasoline prices climb after the export ban is lifted. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 25, 2015

U.S. oil futures hit six-year low as storage capacity becomes strained
 

Oil futures in the United States are at their lowest level since March 2009 because of speculation that a record supply of oil may start to strain the nation’s storage capacity, reports Bloomberg Business. Citing data from the Energy Information Administration, Bloomberg says U.S. crude oil inventories have increased to the highest level since at least 1982. “It’s highly probable that we will reach the inventory capacity,” Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management, told Bloomberg. “Once you run out of storage space, that oil has no place to go and prices will just fall.” For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 24, 2015

Big oil companies are giving up on overseas shale drilling
 

After spending more than five years and billions of dollars trying to re-create the U.S. shale boom overseas, some of the world’s biggest oil companies are starting to give up amid a world-wide collapse in crude oil prices, reports the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper says that Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobile Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have halted nearly all of their hydraulic fracturing operations in Europe, Russia and China. The reasons, according to the Journal, include sanctions in Russia, a drilling ban in France, a moratorium in Germany, poor results in Poland, and low crude prices. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Miscellaneous   |  Permalink

 

Mar 24, 2015

U.S. agency releases final standards for hydraulic fracturing
 

Following a process that included more than 1.5 million public comments, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has released final standards for hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands. The Department of the Interior says that the “common-sense standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals” in well-drilling operations. “Current federal drilling regulations are more than 30 years old and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,” Jewell said in a press release. For more, read the full release.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 23, 2015

Ohio judge strikes down community’s ban on oil and gas drilling
 

Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry received good news on March 11 when a Cuyahoga County judge struck down a Cleveland suburb’s charter amendment that sought to ban drilling, reports the Akron Beacon Journal.  According to the newspaper, Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Astrab ruled that Broadview Heights’ charter conflicts with state law that gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the sole authority to oversee drilling. In 2011, Broadview Heights’ voters approved a charter change that banned drilling of new oil and gas wells, but Bass Energy Inc. and Ohio Valley Energy challenged the change in a court filing in June 2014. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio  Oil & Gas Litigation   |  Permalink

 

Mar 23, 2015

Rice Energy posts $103.8 million profit in fourth quarter
 

Even though Rice Energy Inc. was only in its first year as a publicly traded company, the Pennsylvania-based natural gas company reported a $103.8 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2014, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The newspaper says Rice’s earnings of 76 cents per share reversed a loss of $15 million or 17 cents per share during the same period a year ago before the company went public in January 2014. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Pennsylvania   |  Permalink

 

Mar 19, 2015

Lingering questions about local control of drilling in Ohio could spark more court cases
 

Nearly a month after the Supreme Court of Ohio struck down five Munroe Falls’ ordinances, lawyers and local officials are predicting another round of court cases to settle how much control local governments have (if any) over oil and natural gas development, reports Midwest Energy News. The news site says that the Supreme Court’s ruling in State of Ohio ex rel. Jack Morrison, Jr. v. Beck Energy Corp. left open the question of whether Ohio will follow in the footsteps of New York and Pennsylvania, which have preserved some local powers over drilling, follow Colorado and Texas, which have taken a harder line, or chart a new path. For more, read the full story. Click here to read Bricker & Eckler’s full summary of the implications of the Supreme Court ruling.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. oil glut could push storage tanks to their operational limits
 

The United States has so much crude oil that it is running out of places to store it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months, reports Yahoo! News. Citing an Associated Press story, Yahoo says the country has been producing and importing an average of one million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Yahoo! says if that keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline as well — plummeting. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 17, 2015

Experts say oil prices may remain low for several years
 

Bloomberg reports that a consensus is emerging among BP Plc, the International Energy Agency, shale wildcatters and even the Saudis that a near-term recovery to $100-a-barrel crude oil is not in the cards. Instead, industry insiders expect a range of $50 to $60 a barrel for at least the next few years, according to the news service. For example, Dennis Cassidy, co-leader of the oil and natural gas practice for consulting company AlixPartners, told Bloomberg that his group sees an L-shaped chart for crude in which low prices continue for three to five years. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 17, 2015

OPEC strategist says plan to regain oil market share is working
 

Time magazine reports that Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, architect of the strategy by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to regain market share by causing crude oil prices to plunge, says his plan is working. Time says that al-Naimi recently told reporters that the markets have cooled off and cited the price of Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, as having stabilized at about $60 per barrel. He also pointed to data that shows inexpensive oil is driving up demand, notably in China and the United States, which eventually could lead to price stability or to a price rebound. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 16, 2015

Oil companies expected to step up pressure to lift U.S. export ban
 

An energy expert with the Wood Mackenzie consulting group tells the Dallas Business Journal that oil drillers will put more pressure on President Barack Obama and federal lawmakers to lift the U.S. ban on crude oil exports. The newspaper says that pressure will stem from the price gap – possibly as much as $15 to $20 per barrel – between domestic West Texas Intermediate crude oil and international Brent crude. "(Drillers) would really like to capture that Brent price,” Wood Mackenzie’s Harold York told the Business Journal, adding the federal policy keeps them from getting the higher price than if U.S. exports were allowed to flow freely. For more, read the full story.


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  United States   |  Permalink

 

Mar 13, 2015

U.S. Steel says layoffs at Lorain plant tied to low gasoline prices
 

Low gasoline prices are partially to blame for the layoffs of 614 workers at U.S. Steel’s Tubular Operations plant in Lorain, Ohio, reports the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. A U.S. Steel spokeswoman told the newspaper that low gas prices are a “large contributing factor” to the layoffs, saying those prices reduce the profit incentive for hydraulic fracturing and conventional oil drilling companies that buy pipe produced by the Lorain mill. The spokeswoman said the layoffs aren’t permanent, but she wouldn’t estimate when the workers will be recalled and the mill restarted. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  Ohio   |  Permalink

 

Mar 12, 2015

Company looks at investing $1 billion to build gas-fired power plants in West Virginia
 

Energy Solutions Consortium is looking at building two natural gas-fired power plants in Beech Bottom, West Virginia, possibly making a $1 billion investment in a project that would create 60 full-time jobs, reports the State Journal in Charleston. W.Va. The newspaper says the New York-based company would have to apply for permits to construct a 550-megawatt plant to serve the nearby Windsor High Voltage substation and a 750-megawatt facility serving the Tidd High Voltage substation across the Ohio River in Brilliant, Ohio. Energy Solutions is looking at buying the property, the former Wheeling Corrugating plant, from the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, the State Journal reports. For more, read the full story.
 


 
Posted by M. Warnock in  West Virginia   |  Permalink

 

Mar 12, 2015