XTO’s New NGL Recovery Plant in Butler County, PA Now Online

under the radarFlying under the radar for more than year, XTO Energy (the Marcellus/Utica Shale subsidiary of Exxon Mobil) announced yesterday their natural gas liquids (NGL) recovery plant in Butler County, PA is now up and running. The plant will process wet gas coming from the the southwestern portion of PA, separating NGLs from methane. Although not referenced in the XTO announcement (see below), the recovered NGLs will be fractionated (further separated) and marketed by MarkWest (see MarkWest Signs Deal with XTO to Process NGLs in PA).

The announcement from XTO that their new NGL recovery plant is now up and running:
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Carrizo Focuses on Eagle Ford, Keeps Toe Dipped in Marcellus/Utica

Marcellus and Utica Shale driller Carrizo Oil & Gas issued a second quarter brief update yesterday to say results they’re getting in the Eagle Ford Shale play (in Texas) are better than expected. Carrizo gets both oil and gas in the Eagle Ford, which seems to be their focus lately. Carrizo operates three rigs in the Eagle Ford, two in the Niobrara Formation (Colorado), and one rig in the Marcellus. According to the release, Carrizo will move up previously planned Utica drilling from 2014 to 2013 to avoid drilling in the winter. They plan to drill their second Utica well by the end of this year.

According to MDN’s Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook 2013, Volume 1, for the period Jan-Apr 2013, Carrizo had 8 permits issued for drilling in Pennsylvania, and 2 permits for drilling in Ohio. Relevant portions of yesterday’s Carrizo update:
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Shale Drilling Under (Gasp!) Allegheny County, PA Parks?

Is shale drilling coming to an Allegheny County, PA (Pittsburgh area) park near you? Maybe. Drilling likely won’t involve putting a rig in a park, but instead on land situated near a park–where a number of rigs are already located.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald is investigating the possibility of leasing the land under county parks for shale drilling, to help with $100 million in deferred park maintenance and improve the “deplorable conditions” at some of the parks…
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Blood and Oil: New “Reality TV” Series about OH Oil Company

You knew it would have to happen sooner or later. Fictionalized television about the oil (and gas) business, like Dallas, has gotten long in the tooth. Enter so-called reality TV. Starting tonight on the Discovery channel, we have the “real life” story of an Ohio family-run oil company, Cutter Oil, and how they face a “life and death” struggle against “big oil” coming in to the state and snatching up all of the Utica Shale leases. At least that’s our interpretation of what this series is about by reading the press release (below).

MDN does not watch live television anymore and hasn’t in years (perhaps explains a lot, right?). We consider most television a wasteland–a vacuum cleaner of the brain. However, we may make an exception for this one. Will you be watching? Starts at 10 pm tonight. Here’s the announcement…
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OH Court: Landowner Can’t Reclaim Rights for ‘Not Enough’ Drilling

In yet another case of “know what’s in your lease,” an Ohio court (Fifth District Court of Appeals) has upheld the rights of a driller to not develop all portions (or layers) of leased acreage. The case is Bilbaran Farm, Inc. v. Bakerwell, Inc. The plaintiffs, Bilbaran Farm, claimed that the 275 acres they own was not “fully developed” because the driller drilled three wells targeting the Clinton sandstone and then stopped. The landowner alleges after a certain period of time the portions not developed (and obviously won’t be developed by the current driller) should revert back to them so they can re-lease with someone else and have it developed, and that by not doing so they are economically harmed.

The judges of the Fifth District did not agree…
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ODNR Issues Guidelines for Unitization (Forced Pooling) Requests

If you’re a driller in Ohio with leased Utica Shale land, but there’s a holdout or two in some of your leaseholds, you can make an application with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Oil & Gas for something called “unitization.” MDN calls it “forced pooling,” a term more commonly used. It means (in Ohio) that if you own leases for 65% of the land in a given unit (typically 640 acres) and want to drill on and under that land, you can file an application to request a unitization hearing. We’ve embedded the guidelines you need to follow in your application below.

But be forewarned: There’s a lot of hoops to jump through. The application you file must be complete, including things like a gamma ray-density log, lots of aerial photographs and maps, complete information on all mineral rights owners, and a check for $10,000. Don’t forget the check. And you’d better be sure your ducks are all in a row, because the check is non-refundable…
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OH Republicans Continue to Oppose Gov. Kasich’s High O&G Tax

MDN owes an apology to Ohio Republicans who have told Gov. John Kasich where he can stick his high severance tax proposal. Last December, we thought OH state Republicans were set to cave on higher severance taxes (see OH Republicans Set to Cave on High Drilling Tax). They have not caved and it now appears there will not be a higher oil and gas severance tax in the budget due to be passed and signed by June 30. Caution: It’s still too early to pop the cork on the champagne bottle, but we have a bottle on ice ready to go.

However, the Republican-controlled legislature’s opposition doesn’t mean Gov. Kasich has given up. He’s now offering a bribe 25% of the increased tax money to the counties where drilling actually happens, meaning the other 75% goes to people who had nothing to do with Ohio’s Utica Shale drilling. (In Pennsylvania, drilling communities get 60% of their version of a severance tax, called an Impact Fee.)
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Seismic Testing in Marietta, OH Called Off

After much discussion and reconsideration, there will be no seismic testing inside the city limits of Marietta, Ohio, according to city officials. Precision Geophysical was set to test in early July, but that’s now off. However, Geophysical will test around the city in other Washington County locations, and they will set up listening devices in the city to try and capture whatever data they can for lies below the city and just outside of the city.

The details for how and why Marietta testing is now off, and where seismic testing will take place in Washington County in the near future:
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NEXUS Pipeline Route Through Stark County, OH

Last week MDN told you about the proposed Ohio route of the planned NEXUS Gas Transmission natural gas pipeline, a $1.5 billion project that will run from Ohio to Michigan and eventually to Canada–delivering Utica Shale gas to Midwestern markets (see OH Route of Proposed NEXUS Gas Pipeline Revealed). Ever so gradually more pieces of the puzzle are falling into place on where, exactly, the pipeline will run. In a Stark County, OH article, for example, we learn the strategy is to use existing power line rights of way and the new pipeline will likely cross through Washington, Nimishillen, Marlboro and Lake townships in Stark on its way from Kensington–where the new M3 Midstream gas processing plant is almost ready to go online.

Here’s the Stark County piece of the NEXUS pipeline route puzzle:
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New Study: Marcellus Fracked Wells are Good for Environment

A new study conducted on Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania and published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology concludes shale wells’ “energy return on investment” (or EROI)–the total amount of energy it takes to produce the energy that will be delivered to end users–is similar to that of coal. Meaning: it takes about the same amount of effort (i.e. energy) to produce equivalent levels of energy from natural gas and coal, but natural gas burns a lot cleaner, which makes it the preferred source of energy. Further meaning: fracking is good for the environment…
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OH Anti-Drilling Group Sues Muskingum Watershed for Mailing List

An insignificant handful of anti-fossil fuel agitators in Ohio have formed a group called Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water (SOASOW) and have sued the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) because the MWCD won’t fork over their mailing list of customers so the SOASOW can send scare-tactic propaganda fliers. Poor babies. So now the SOASOW will tie up the court system with their temper tantrum to try and force MWCD to comply. Shows what people with time on their hands do…
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