Gulfport Adds Another 30K Utica Net Acres, Pays $10K/Acre

growing Gulfport Energy announced yesterday they have purchased another 30,000 Utica Shale acres in eastern Ohio for $300 million—or $10,000 per acre. That brings Gulfport’s grand total to 137,000 gross Utica Shale acres (99,000 net acres). Gulfport bought the acreage from its Utica Shale joint venture partner Wexford Capital. Perhaps a better way of phrasing it: Gulfport increased its ownership interest in acreage in which they’ve already invested.

Gulfport and Wexford, along with Rhino Resources, have previously invested in both two and three-way Utica Shale jv’s together (see this MDN story). So far, Gulfport has drilled the top producing wells in Ohio (see this MDN story for the secret to their success).

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BP: Trumbull County Needs More Pipelines, Processing Plants

Yesterday at a press conference in Youngstown, OH, BP announced plans to move into a new office and warehouse space in the Youngstown Commerce Park (see this MDN story). At the same event, BP officials spoke about their concerns that pipeline and processing plant infrastructure in Trumbull and surrounding counties may be quickly overwhelmed once BP’s drilling program is in full swing.

What do BP’s public comments mean? More pipelines and processing plants are likely on the way in Trumbull County:

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BP Moves into New Utica Shale Digs, Drilling Starts January

Important Update: BP will not start drilling test wells until April 2013, not January as indicated in the headline (and as quoted in the story below). The news source quoted by MDN was inaccurate! Many thanks (and a hat tip) to MDN friend Andrea Wood, Publisher of the Youngstown Business Journal, for taking the time to notify us of the error.

BP announced yesterday they have begun moving into the company’s new “Utica Operations Center,” a 5,000 square foot office space with 38,000 sq ft of warehouse/storage space located in the Youngstown Commerce Park in North Jackson (Mahoning County), Ohio. BP aggressively leased Ohio Utica Shale acreage during 2012—signing up some 100,000 acres of leases this year. Of the Ohio acreage leased by BP, the vast majority (84,000 acres) is in Trumbull County, close to the new office space.

Ohio landowners who signed with BP, and businesses interested in supplying BP with products and services, will be interested to know BP plans to start drilling their first Utica Shale test wells in January 2013 (more details below).

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EV Energy Partners About to Shed Utica Acreage

Landowners in the Utica Shale who signed with EV Energy Partners, take note: Your lease may soon be reassigned.

An article on the Seeking Alpha website takes a close look at EV Energy Partners (EVEP) and their large Utica Shale investments. EVEP is structured as a “master limited partnership” or MLP. The focus for an MLP is distributing (via quarterly payments called distributions) most of the profit made by the company to its partners/shareholders. Because of its MLP structure, long-term development of “speculative” plays like the Utica is not in line with the company’s mission, so EVEP is looking to shed most of it’s Utica Shale leases—and they’re doing it soon…

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Forbes Exposes Who’s Behind Newest Anti-Drilling Group

The Forbes magazine website pries open the lid to reveal who’s really behind a new organization called Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSEHE). PSEHE was formed specifically to oppose shale drilling. And guess who’s behind it? The Ithaca, NY-based Park Foundation (funder of Gasland, Earthworks, Earth Justice and other rabidly anti-drilling causes), and Cornell professor Tony Ingraffea (co-author of a discredited anti-fracking study). In other words, PSEHE is a sham—a useful tool for mainstream media to use in creating the illusion that scores of “smart people” are opposed to fracking.

The Forbes exposé begins this way:

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Maryland Shale Commission Misses Second Deadline for Report

The “Keystone Cops” Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission appointed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to study natural gas drilling and produce a set of best practices for hydraulic fracturing will miss their second deadline to produce a draft report. The first deadline was August 1, 2012 (see this MDN story). At that time, they said “we’ll get ‘er done by end of the year.” Oops. That won’t happen either. Now they’re saying they need extra time and will produce the report “sometime this spring.” Anyone up for a betting pool on when?

Here’s the latest (sad) news from Maryland:

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Farmer Does Jail Time After Confrontation with Pipeline Co

A western PA cattle farmer claims workers from Williams/Laurel Mountain Midstream pumped acid mine drainage onto his farm and damaged his fences while drilling a ditch for a pipeline across his property. The farmer was ordered to stay away from the workers last month after confronting them about damage done to his fences. He violated a court order and confronted them a second time when he saw what he thought was acid mine drainage being pumped onto his land from the ditches being dug. This time he got four days in the local clink.

Here’s what we know of the story:

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