Belmont County Continues to be One of Hottest Spots in OH Utica

hot spotMDN has previously told you, on a number of occasions, that an early indicator of where drilling will soon heat up is to watch the local county land recorder’s office–the place where they keep official copies of property deeds. If it’s crowded in the local land records office, that means drillers are ready to make offers to landowners and want to start drilling. Of course they first have to figure out who owns the mineral rights, hence the activity in title searchers and abstactors checking deeds.

Over a year ago we told you about the crazy lines and overpacked recorder’s office in Belmont County, OH (see Belmont County, OH Deed Research Impacts Local Library Too). Our prediction held true as Belmont has become one of the hottest hot spots in the eastern Ohio Utica Shale. You might think a year later things would have settled down at the Belmont County Recorder’s Office. Not so. Last Wednesday when Belmont County Recorder Mary Catherine Nixon arrived at the office at 8:30 am, she found 120 people waiting in line to get in. Oy vey!…
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PA Dems Lick Their Chops over Chance to Tax Marcellus Drilling

Sad and tragic is how we would term it. Pennsylvania’s elected Democrats in both the House and Senate are licking their chops, salivating at the chance to get rid of a mostly fair fee/tax on the Marcellus drilling industry–the “impact fee” created under the now largely gutted Act 13–and replace it instead with a harmful, regressive severance tax they can use to endlessly fund their pork barrel projects and frankly, line their own pockets. The Dems are almost like kids at Christmas, jumping up and down can’t wait to open the presents happy over the possibilities…
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Blueracer Natrium Wet Gas Plant Remains Offline, How Much Longer?

Last September there was an explosion and a fire “isolated to a small area” at the Blueracer Natrium processing and fractionation facility in Marshall County, WV (see Explosion/Fire at Blue Racer’s Natrium, WV Processing Plant). The fire, which “burned itself out,” knocked the plant offline until this January. Because of the outage, at least two (and perhaps more) companies found other sources to process their wet gas (see Blue Racer’s Natrium Plant to Remain Offline Until Jan 2014). However, not all drillers have had success in finding other sources to process their wet gas and are stuck, waiting for the Blueracer Natrium plant to re-open.

The latest word from Blueracer on when they will reopen the plant, which doesn’t seem encouraging…
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Industry Vet Points Out Error in PA Supreme Court Act 13 Ruling

Timothy Merrill, a now-retired resident of western Pennsylvania who worked 40 years as a buyer and marketer in the natural gas industry, wrote a sterling analysis of the Act 13 decision by the PA Supreme Court a few days ago in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In his article, Merrill points out the whopping error upon which Chief Justice Ron Castille (a Republican!) based his decision. Castille states in his decision he believes drilling and fracking are inherently harmful to the environment. Problem is, says Merrill, there’s 60 years of drilling and fracking history in PA that proves just the opposite (something called “evidence,” Mr. Chief Justice). Unfortunately Castille, along with the three anti-drilling Democrats on the high court, have now invented new rights that didn’t exist before–creating bad case law that will have a profound impact for years to come.

Here’s Merrill’s “what for” article that takes the disappointing Castille to the woodshed for his profound lack of judgment…
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Radio Disney Pressured, Pulls Out of OH O&G Education Program

Radio Disney had been participating in a tour of elementary schools in Ohio as part of an education project that, among other things, educates kids on how oil and gas drilling and pipelines work. Called “Rocking in Ohio” the program’s intent is to foster interest in science and technology. Because the tour is sponsored by the Ohio and Gas Energy Education Program and partially funded by the drilling industry, the anti-drilling brigade came out in force and has now pressured Disney into withdrawing from the program. We can’t have the truth getting out there in song and dance, ya know!

Few American-based media outlets are covering the story, so we have to get the Disney story from the pro-terrorist Al Jazeera America network. You know, the network that paid Al Gore a gazillion dollars for his dying Current TV network, finally making Al a rich man and giving Al Jazeera access to American airways to spread their garbage. The network that hires CNN has-beens like Soledad O’Brien to put a pretty face on an ugly network. The network that loves to air terrorists beheading people? Yeah, that network–the network owned by Middle Eastern oil sheiks who fear fracking will end their massive wealth gives us the Disney pulling out in Ohio story…
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Philly Inquirer Misidentifies Photo in Act 13 Article

The decision in December by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that essentially guts large portions of the Act 13 Marcellus drilling legislation that all of a sudden anti-drillers have started calling Gov. Tom Corbetts “signature legislation” (funny how they never called it that prior to the ruling in December), continues to stir controversy. Gov. Corbett’s administration has filed a motion with the court to have it reconsider parts of their decision and in the meantime has asked drillers to voluntarily obey certain provisions in the law, like drilling at least 300 feet away from certain areas (see Gov Corbett Requests Drillers Continue to Honor Act 13 Setbacks).

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article yesterday with more analysis of the decision and its repercussions. Interestingly, they either mistakenly, or more likely intentionally, ran a huge picture over the article of what appears to be a large crowd of protesters outside of the Philly Convention Center and identified the picture as being from a protest rally “last year.” It was not. How do we know? MDN editor Jim Willis was there–at the Shale Insight event–and there were no protests last year. There were perhaps a half dozen people standing around with signs at one point. The protest rally in the picture was from two years ago (Jim attended the Shale Insight event two years ago too)–which tells you something. The Marcellus protest movement in PA is losing steam–but it seems the Philly Inquirer editors are happy to lie to support their narrative…
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Sierra Club, LWV Chooses Coal over NatGas in South Jersey

Hey, the next member of the New Jersey Sierra Club or NJ League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters you meet, shake their hand–pump it up and down hard–and congratulate them on damaging the environment in South Jersey, which is what they’ve just done. South Jersey Gas wanted to run a 22-mile natural gas pipeline that would power an electric generating plant–replacing coal that powers the plant now–and also bring natural gas to residential homes in beautiful Cape May County, NJ. But so-called environmental groups like the Sierra Club and members of the LWV objected and pressured regulators to reject the proposal because the pipeline would run through an area of scrub pine trees that happen to grow in sandy soil. It was rejected even though the pipeline would mostly follow roadways and existing rights-of-way and would largely not disturb the so-called forest.

Nah, this one was far to easy to demagogue with talk about “pristine this” and “undeveloped that.” Throw in some magic phrases, and nag the *#[email protected] out of regulators, and you have yourself a rejection. So now, residents in Cape May will continue to breathe dirtier air and continue to heat their homes in winter with oil instead of clean-burning natural gas. Thanks Sierra Club and LWV! You’re real champs of the environment…
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Forced Pooling in Ohio Utica Shale on the Rise, Sadly

Drillers in Ohio’s Utica Shale are increasingly using the state’s “unitization” or forced pooling laws to force landowners who don’t want drilling to be included in drilling units where a majority of the neighboring land is leased. According to an article in the Akron Beacon Journal, 22 such requests have been filed in Ohio to date. Of those 22 filed, 6 were approved, 6 were resolved or dropped, and 10 are pending.

We know the arguments for and against forced pooling, and you know where we stand on the issue (we take a dim view of it), so we won’t belabor the point. Here’s the Beacon Journal’s update on some of the forced pooling cases in eastern Ohio, including which drillers are doing the forcing, and the results…
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