Commission that oversees fracking to recommend changes to law

Ohio Oil and Gas Leasing Commission members are recommending changes in state law “governing fracking on public land and the size and operations of the commission,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) staff proposed changes and presented them to the commission, which includes ODNR Geological Survey Division Chief Mike Angle, “two members representing oil and gas interests, attorneys Matt W. Warnock and Michael W. Wise,” former Ohio EPA director Richard Shank representing the environment, and a public representative, former state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation CEO Steve Buehrer.

Proposed changes include ensuring “there are no conflicts of interest involving commission members when it comes to mineral rights,” adding members to the commission, and clarifying language “to allow state agencies to make lease stipulations,” among others. There are 2,142 wells on or beneath public property in Ohio; 64% of them are active, including 503 in wildlife areas, 31 in state parks, 20 in preserves and 10 in state forests. For more, read the full article.

Ohio

Marathon Petroleum will split off Speedway and replace CEO

Findlay-based Marathon Petroleum Corp. announced plans to “spin off its Speedway gas-station business” and replace Chairman and CEO Gary Heminger, who will retire next year, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The announcement reverses Marathon’s position from recent statements that the company intended to continue under its current structure despite pressure from investors (see our October 15, 2019 blog post). Elliott Management Corp., part of the group of shareholders that pushed for the split, said in a statement the move “will unlock substantial value for shareholders,” according to the article. For more, read the full article.

National

Shale Crescent USA region has generated $1.1 trillion in savings nationwide

A new economic analysis shows natural gas end-users, including “American households, businesses, manufacturers, and electric power generators,” have saved $1.1 trillion since 2008 “as a result of increased natural gas production in the Shale Crescent USA region,” prnewswire.com reports. The Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program and Shale Crescent USA published the findings in a report, Natural Gas Savings to End-Users: 2008-2018, A Technical Briefing Paper. Users in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia “have realized a combined savings of more than $90 billion since 2009,” according to the article. For more, read the full article.

National

Marathon Petroleum executives resist idea to split company

Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger and Greg Goff, one of the company’s directors, recently assured employees “the company intends to continue as a diversified oil and gasoline company” in response to a New York hedge fund’s recommendation to break Marathon into three companies, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Findlay-based Marathon operates a refinery in Canton and is the “majority owner in a partnership that operates MPLX, an oil and natural gas gathering network with operations in Stark County and the Utica Shale.”

Elliott Management, which owns 2.5% of Marathon’s stock, said it believes Marathon would be more valuable if the company split into three businesses: Speedway gas and convenience stores, a refining operation, and MPLX as a standalone “midstream business moving oil and natural gas from wells to refineries and processors.” For more, read the full article.

National

10 permits for horizontal drilling in Utica-Point Pleasant Shale issued

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued 10 permits for horizontal well drilling in the Utica-Point Pleasant for the week ending October 5, 2019, The Business Journal reports. Five permits were awarded to Antero Resources Corp. for wells in Seneca Township. Three were granted to Equinor USA Onshore Properties Inc. for Salem Township sites, and two were issued to EAP Ohio LLC for wells in German Township. ODNR had issued 3,177 horizontal drilling permits as of October 5, with 2,707 wells being drilled, 2,339 of which are active. For more, read the full article.

Ohio

Cabot to sell stake in Meade Pipeline Company

Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. has reached an agreement to sell its 20 percent stake in Meade Pipeline Co. to NextEra Energy Partners for $256 million, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports. Cabot’s regional headquarters is based in Pittsburgh; Meade “carries Marcellus Shale gas on the Atlantic Sunrise in eastern Pennsylvania,” and is “30 percent owner of the Central Penn Line, a 185-mile segment of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline,” according to the article. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year. For more, read the full article.  

National, Pennsylvania

Ohio’s Q2 shale production up from last year

Production totals from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) show the state’s horizontal shale wells “produced 5.8 million barrels of oil and 614 billion cubic feet of natural gas during the second quarter” of 2019, CantonRep.com reports. Oil production increased nearly 30 percent from a year ago, and natural gas production increased almost 11 percent. ODNR reported production from 2,317 Utica and Marcellus wells during the second quarter. For more, read the full article.

Ohio

15 drilling permits issued in Utica-Point Pleasant shale

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) approved 15 permits for horizontal well drilling in the Utica-Point Pleasant shale for the week ending August 31, 2019, The Business Journal reports. Nine permits were awarded to Ascent Resources Utica LLC, five were awarded to EAP Ohio LLC, and one was awarded to Triad Hunter LLC. The ODNR reported 2,684 wells had been drilled in Ohio, with 2,266 active as of August 31. For more, read the full article.

Ohio

EPA announces plan to loosen restrictions on methane for energy industry

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently announced plans “to loosen federal rules on methane by allowing oil and gas operators to largely police themselves,” The Washington Post reports by eliminating federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the proposal removes “unnecessary and duplicative” regulatory burdens, according to the article. Anne Idsal, assistant administrator of the U.S. EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said U.S. EPA will continue to require gas and oil companies to limit the release of “volatile organic compounds,” including methane, “but only during drilling and processing.” The proposal also challenges whether the federal government has the authority to regulate methane “without first making a detailed determination that it qualifies as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.” The plan is particularly notable because major energy companies are split on the rollback. For more, read the full article.

National, Oil & Gas Litigation

Ohio loses natural gas investments because of nuclear power subsidies

The Columbus Dispatch reports that two companies have canceled plans to build or expand natural gas power plants in Northern Ohio in the wake of the fees levied on consumers by HB 6. The fees will subsidize coal and nuclear plants, and according to some oil and gas spokespersons, disincentivize natural gas interests.  The president of Clean Energy Future estimates an economic loss of $29 billion over the 50-year life of one shelved plant in Lordstown. Read the full story.

Ohio
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