Ohio State engineers develop shale gas process that curbs emissions

Ohio State University reports that engineers at OSU are developing technologies that have the potential to economically convert fossil fuels, including natural gas, to useful products such as electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. In the first of two papers published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, OSU engineers report they have devised a process that transforms shale gas into products such as methanol and gasoline—all while consuming carbon dioxide. For more, read the full OSU release.


CNX will spend up to $880 million on drilling in Marcellus, Utica shale plays

CNX Resources plans to spend $790 million to $880 million on drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in 2018, and will add a fourth drilling rig in the second half of the year, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the Pennsylvania-based company expects to drill 75 oil and natural gas wells this year -- 60 in the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and 15 in the Utica in Pennsylvania and Ohio. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

CNX closes deal to acquire Noble’s stake in Cone Gathering

CNX Resources Corp. has closed on its $305 million acquisition of Noble Energy Inc.'s 50% interest in Cone Gathering LLC, which operates natural gas gathering systems in the Appalachian basin, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says Cone Gathering owns the general partner interest and incentive distribution rights in Cone Midstream Partners LP, which is being renamed CNX Midstream Partners LP. CNX Resources said it will provide a minimum of 140 wells to CNX Midstream Partners to support distribution growth. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Construction may begin this year on gas-fired power plant at former Ormet site

The former site of the Ormet Aluminum Corp. plant in Monroe County, Ohio is under development for a natural gas-fueled power plant, reports the Marietta Times. The newspaper says early projections that construction would begin on the 485-megawatt plant by the end of 2017 did not pan out. Now consultants for the Hannibal Port Power Project say permits for the plant have been acquired or are in the final stages of approval, and construction is to begin this year, according to the Times. For more, read the full story.


FERC signs off on Mountaineer Xpress, Gulf Xpress projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted certificate approval to the Mountaineer XPress natural gas pipeline project in West Virginia, Platts reports. The news service says the project, sponsored by TransCanada's Columbia Gas Transmission, is expected to support natural gas production in the Marcellus shale play and increase deliveries from the Appalachian basin to neighboring regions. Platts also says FERC granted certificate approval to Columbia's Gulf XPress project, which will add compressor stations in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi to allow for bidirectional flows of gas between Appalachia and the Gulf. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Appalachia NGL storage hub clears hurdle for $1.9 billion loan

Plans for an underground natural gas liquids (NGL) storage hub in Appalachia have cleared the first big hurdle, reports the Associated Press (AP), with the Appalachia Storage & Trading Hub initiative receiving approval in the first of two application phases for a $1.9 billion U.S. Department of Energy loan. The news service says the Appalachia Development Group, which is heading the project, also is trying to secure $1.4 billion through other financing. Appalachia Development Group CEO Steve Hedrick told AP it would take several more years for the project come to fruition. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Eclipse, Sequel establish joint venture to drill in Utica shale play

Eclipse Resources Corp. has entered into agreements with Sequel Energy Group LLC to establish a drilling joint venture on Utica shale acreage in Guernsey and Monroe counties in southeast Ohio, reports Oil and Gas Investor. The news site says the joint venture encompasses up to $285 million in funding from Sequel for two drilling programs involving 34 oil and natural gas wells. The agreement also includes a mutual option for a third drilling program consisting of 16 wells. For more, read the full story.


Cabot Oil & Gas sells Texas assets to focus on Appalachian basin

Cabot Oil & Gas said it is leaving parts of Texas to focus on the Appalachia basin, UPI reports. The news service says Cabot is selling 74,500 net acres of oil and gas assets in the Eagle Ford shale play in Texas to an affiliate of Venado Oil & Gas for $765 million. Separately, Cabot said it sold its remaining interests in East Texas to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed sum. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

EID: Belmont, Jefferson are Ohio shale counties to watch in 2018

Energy in Depth (EID) reports that its research and analysis has led it to select Belmont and Jefferson counties as the "Ohio Utica Counties to Watch" in 2018. EID notes that for the first time Belmont County has surpassed previous leader Carroll County for oil and natural gas drilling permits in Ohio, and that PTT Global Chemical is expected make a final investment decision this year on a multi-billion dollar ethane "cracker" plant proposed in Belmont County. In addition, EID says drilling permits were up more than 100% in Jefferson County in 2017 compared to the prior year, and the county is expected to benefit from the development of Royal Dutch Shell's ethane cracker facility now under construction in western Pennsylvania. For more, read the full analysis.


Ohio Supreme Court affirms dismissal of landowners’ complaint in oil and gas dispute

The Supreme Court of Ohio issued an opinion on January 3, 2018 in Alford v. Collins-McGregor Operating Co., Slip Opinion No. 2018–Ohio–8, affirming the dismissal of the landowners’ complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The landowners had sought to have the common pleas court forfeit the mineral interests of the operator under a breach of implied covenant theory.

In the case, the landowners argued that because the oil and natural gas lease at issue did not disclaim implied covenants, the operator was subject to the implied covenant of reasonable development and the “implied covenant to explore further.” The landowners said that because the operator breached these covenants, it had forfeited its rights to the minerals underlying the land. The implied covenant to "explore further" requires a lessee to conduct further exploration for minerals in different geologic formations than has been already explored to the extent a reasonably prudent operator would do so.

The Ohio Supreme Court refused to recognize that there exists an implied covenant to explore further under Ohio law. The Court partially relied on decisions from the Oklahoma and Texas supreme courts, which also refused to recognize such a covenant. The Court, instead, held that the implied covenant of reasonable development adequately protected a landowner’s interests in an oil and gas lease, and affirmed the dismissal of the landowners’ complaint.  Click here for the Supreme Court’s decision.

Ohio, Oil & Gas Litigation
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