OH Budget Bill Hits Utica Drilling with $25K/Well Impact Fee

surprise If you ever (logically) thought a piece of legislation that’s meant to be a budget would only deal with money issues, you would be wrong. Budget laws for decades have been used to slip in all sorts of non-money-related measures. This year’s Ohio budget is no different. Tucked away in the proposed budget law from Gov. John Kasich are a number of non-budget items that directly affect Utica Shale drilling in Ohio. The measures include a ban on using brine as a de-icer on public roads, moving from yearly to quarterly production reports, lease transfer 30-day notifications, a $25,000 impact fee on each well drilled (surprise!), and testing of shale cuttings for radioactivity. And you thought budgets were just boring numbers.

Here’s the low-down on the non-budget items in the budget bill that will impact Utica drilling in a big way:

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Praying for Dead Trees – The Nutty Gas Protesters of Pike County

Columnist Beth Brelje has penned a must-read editorial on the nutters in Pike County, PA protesting construction of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s 323 Line. Brelje says the protesters have scheduled a—get this—prayer vigil, to pray for the “fallen trees.” Yeah, Twilight Zone stuff.

Instead of praying over dead wood, Brelje says protesters might actually want to do something constructive with their time, like:

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Law Firm Publishes Handy Utica Highlights Report for 4Q12

Law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP (offices in Columbus and Cleveland) has just published a quarterly summary close-up on the Ohio Utica Shale for fourth quarter 2012. It’s full of interesting highlights and bits and bobs you’ve already read on MDN. However, the report pulls a lot of overview material together in an easy to scan format—and it’s just 12 pages (full report embedded below).

The report opens with what it considers the top issues and useful information. It then highlights some of the major industry moves, looks at the midstream and infrastructure projects, government regulation, and closes with training programs available to help those who want jobs in the gas and oil fields. A nice report—worth your time to review it.

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Closer Look at Shale Bills Before WV Legislature

The West Virginia legislature only meets for 60 calendar days each year, so when they convene, a flurry of new bills are introduced. MDN recently told you this year legislators have already introduced some 60 bills dealing with energy issues in the state—22 of those bills were introduced by Delegate Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor (see New Rules/Laws for Shale Drilling Will Come to WV in 2013).

Not all of the bills will become law, but some will. Here’s a look at a few of the more serious contenders that stand a chance of getting enacted, and one (forced pooling) that hasn’t even been introduced—yet:

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Youngstown, OH to Commit Utica Suicide with Vote to Ban Drilling

Is it right for a simple majority to strip away the hard-earned property of their neighbors with an up or down vote? The Founding Fathers called it mob rule, which is why the United States was founded as a democratic republic—not a straight democracy. They recognized that up or down votes that allow citizens to take away property (money, use of land, possessions) from fellow citizens is abhorrent and immoral, which is why they cooked up the ingenious document called the Constitution—full of checks and balances to prevent it from happening.

But alas, the Constitution has become nothing more than toilet paper in some places, like Youngstown, Ohio…

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Cabot O&G Operational Update for Marcellus Shale

Last week MDN told you about Cabot’s distinction in belonging to two different “1 billion” clubs (see Cabot O&G in 2012: Membership in 2 Different “1 Billion” Clubs). About the same time Cabot released their financial results, they also released an operational update which we neglected to report.

Below is the portion of that report for Cabot’s Marcellus Shale operations:

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New Utica Pipe/Equipment Plant Setting up in Portage County, OH

A welding and fabrication company—Six C Fabrication—has just purchased a former plastics plant in Rootstown (Portage County), Ohio where it will establish a manufacturing plant for piping and structural steel equipment for the Utica Shale drilling industry.

Six C hails from Louisiana. They believe the Utica offers a great opportunity to expand their business. Another 100 new jobs are on the way (this year) in the Utica…

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