OH Appeals Court Strikes Down Home Rule for Drilling

court gavel In 2012, Beck Energy Corp. got a permit from the OH Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) to drill on property located in the City of Munroe Falls (Summit County), OH. Beck started drilling and the city slapped a Stop Work Order on them and took them to court, saying Beck was not in compliance with a number of local ordinances and necessary permits. The local trial court supported Munroe Falls’ position and ruled in their favor.

Beck appealed the trial court decision to the Ohio Court of Appeals (Ninth District) and in a decision handed down yesterday, the appellate court sided with Beck and against so-called “home rule” when it comes to oil and gas drilling. The Ninth District instructed the lower court to reverse its opinion. This decision (full copy embedded below) has major consequences for both Utica Shale drillers and municipalities throughout the state…

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Antero Offers Barnesville, OH Residents $5,700/Acre 20% Royalties

Normally drillers eschew drilling under cities or villages as a practical matter. Where do you put a drilling rig? What about traffic clogging up local streets? What if you can’t get everyone (or almost everyone) to sign? And why work to sign several hundred leases for a one square mile drilling unit with all of the deed research, negotiations, etc. that come with it, when you can sign leases with three or four people (farmers with lots of acreage) in a single unit?

The prospect of dealing with hundreds of landowners is not stopping Antero Resources (see Antero Resources Goes “All In” on Marcellus/Utica) from offering the residents of Barnesville (Belmont County), OH the same deal they struck last year to lease village-owned land: $5,700 per acre as a signing bonus, and 20% royalties on production.

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Obama Picks REI CEO to Head Dept. of Interior

President Obama has picked Sally Jewell, a “conservation advocate” and the CEO of outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) to be his next secretary for the Dept. of Interior, filling the post that Ken Salazar is vacating. The DOI and its Bureau of Land Management have developed new rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands that Obama “hopes” may serve as a “template” for fracking on private land (see Feds ‘Hope’ States will Use BLM Rules for ALL Fracking). The new BLM rules generated a lot of controversy in 2012 and Salazar and the DOI backed off implementing them until a rewrite is completed.

Jewell, if confirmed, will enter the battle over hydraulic fracturing and whether or not the federal government has a role to play in it (MDN and the U.S. Constitution says the feds don’t have a role). The extremist environmental organization Sierra Club likes Jewell, which is a huge red flag. However, she did once work for Mobil Oil (now Exxon Mobil)—for a few years just out of college.

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NY’s Anti-Drillers Attempt Smear of Geologists Consulting for DEC

How does one convey the lunacy of the anti-drilling position in New York State? Latest example: The NY Dept. of Environment Conservation (DEC) has hired two geologists as consultants to evaluate earthquake risks associated with fracking (yes we know, there is no earthquake risk, but humor us for a bit). In a coordinated attack, anti-drillers say that because the two geologists have also done consulting assignments for nasty, evil drilling companies, they’re tainted. Damaged goods. Shills and tools of the drilling industry. Not to be trusted. Even though they’ve also done consulting work for environmentalist (anti-drilling) organizations. Doesn’t matter.

Such is how far anti-drillers have sunk in their campaign of smears and lies to try and prevent the miracle of hydraulic fracturing—which is already being done in NY in vertical conventional wells and has been for decades—from happening in the state for horizontal shale wells too.

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Small Business Startup to Furnish PA Drillers with Act 9 Signs

MDN loves small business—we would argue they are the backbone of job creation in this country. Score another victory for a small business that picked up on a supply chain opportunity—an opportunity to provide a product or service to the shale drilling industry. In February 2012, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a new law called Act 9. Similar to Act 13, Act 9 deals with regulating Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling in PA. Act 9’s purpose? Make well pad drill sites safer. Part of Act 9 requires drillers to post new signage with safety information at the entrance of each drill site (example below).

Enter a new small business: Unconventional Well Pad Signs. Located near Altoona, PA, Unconventional Well Pad Signs is a division of another company—HomeWaters Retreats. HomeWaters, which provides vacation retreats and camps, is a business completely unrelated to manufacturing or any of the types of businesses you normally associate with providing products and services to the drilling industry. Gotta love small business entrepreneurs…

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TGP Seeks to Convert Pipeline into Utica Wet Gas Gathering Line

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. recent made a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) declaring its intention to convert an existing “lean gas” pipeline in the Ohio Utica Shale into a gathering pipeline to move wet gas from the Utica to market. TGP is getting a lot of pushback from existing pipeline customers that would be affected by the change:

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PDC Energy Dumps Piceance to Concentrate on Ohio Utica

PDC Energy, formerly known as Petroleum Development Corp., announced Tuesday they are selling off “non-core” assets in the Piceance Basin (northwestern Colorado) and assets they own in northeastern Colorado for $200 million so they can invest the money in wet gas drilling in the Ohio Utica and Niobrara Shale plays.

PDC’s announcement from Tuesday:

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