Chesapeake Admits Misjudging Ohio Utica Sweet Spot

sweet spotThe Utica Shale is still in its infancy and drillers are still trying to get a fix on the “sweet spots” that will produce the most natural gas, gas liquids and even oil. Rendering an opinion on the best places to drill can be a career-ender, like it was for one long-time ODNR employee (see this MDN story).

Chesapeake was the early mover in Ohio’s Utica Shale, and it’s still the biggest driller in Ohio. However, we have an interesting admission from Chesapeake this week: They’ve misjudged the “emerging fairway” of the Utica in Ohio. While Chesapeake is concentrating most of their drilling in Carroll and Columbiana counties in the northern part of the state, Gulfport has drilled the four highest-producing wells in the Utica in counties to the south.

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Judge Tells Ohio Landowners They Can’t Break Lease

A lawsuit filed by 95 landowners in Carroll and Columbiana counties (Ohio) has been decided in favor of Chesapeake Energy and against the landowners. Last month, Judge Richard Markus (Common Pleas Court) issued his decision that the landowners in the case could not break their lease if they received a better offer—something they thought they could do according to a provision in the lease.

Here’s the details of the case and the decision:

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Anti-Driller Attempts Fraud at Youngstown, OH Meeting

A loud-mouthed anti-driller tried to disrupt a recent “Oil & Gas 101” meeting being held in Youngstown, Ohio. The 30-year old woman started screaming over top of speaker Rhonda Rheda. She claimed to have a jar of fracking fluid with her, which she left on the table when she was arrested and removed from the meeting. The anti-driller then called 911 to report there was “hazardous material” at the meeting. Thing is, it was all a fraud. Wastewater is not hazardous material, but more to the point, Rheda had the contents of the jar tested and found it to be cider vinegar with chewing tobacco mixed in. A complete fraud and hoax by the anti-driller.

Welcome to a debate where the other side doesn’t play by anyone’s rules and will lie, cheat and commit fraud in the name of their “cause”—the elimination of all fossil fuels as a source of energy.

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Drill in NY? Republicans Say Yes, Democrats Say No

Quinnipiac University has been busy polling. First they released a new poll of Ohioans and their attitudes toward higher taxes for drilling in that state (see this MDN story), and a day later, they released a poll of New Yorkers asking them whether or not drilling should even be allowed in that state. The results (full copy embedded below) provide the most striking example yet that the entire drilling issue has become politicized in New York.

The poll results, released yesterday, show that 70% of New York’s Republicans support drilling for shale gas and oil (17% are opposed), while only 29% of Democrats support drilling (and 55% are opposed). Overall, the state remains pretty evenly split with 44% supporting drilling and 42% opposed to it.

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OH Poll Shows Support for Higher Drilling Tax is Slipping

A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows a majority of Ohioans continue to support a higher severance tax (what they term a “new tax” when asking the question) on the shale drilling industry—especially if it would cut their income taxes. But the simple headline does not reveal the whole picture.

When you look at the internals of the poll (full copy of the questions and results is embedded below), you find that (a) support for the tax is slipping, and (b) it’s Ohio Democrats who support the tax in large numbers, while Republicans only tip to the support side when it comes to the question of lowering income taxes.

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PUCO Fines Dominion East Ohio $500K for Pipeline Accident

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has fined Dominion East Ohio $500,000 over a natural gas explosion and fire at a pipeline regulator station in January 2011 in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. The resulting fires severely damaged 11 homes and another 150 homes required repair or maintenance of their gas-powered appliances because of the mishap.

From the PUCO press release:

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Ohio Dems Accuse Gov. Kasich of Hypocrisy on “Foreign” Workers

Ohio Democrat politicians, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich (a Republican) want to limit the number of “foreigners” working in the oil and gas fields of the state. Foreigners means hard-working, experienced oilfield workers from Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma (traditional oil and gas states).

Ohio Dems think Kasich is not doing enough to keep them thar darned foreigners out:

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PA Housing Approves $7.6M in Spending from Impact Fee Fund

Part of the Pennsylvania “impact fee” assessed on Marcellus drillers in the state (collected by the state’s Public Utility Commission) was set aside for a special Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund. In addition, local municipalities also set aside some of their own impact fee revenue for housing projects.

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) approved using more than $2 million from a total pot of $7.6 million on a list of housing projects in northeast PA. The projects include new housing for senior citizens and low-income residents, help for landlords to rehabilitate rental properties, and aide to low-income individuals for rent. Here’s a list of some of the projects in NEPA funded by the impact fee money:

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