ODNR Says Youngstown Earthquakes “Probably” Caused by Fracking

probablyAlthough they don’t know for certain, the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) is assuming that Hilcorp’s Utica Shale drilling and fracking in the Youngstown area a month ago is the “probable” cause of a series of earthquakes in the area (see # of Youngstown Earthquakes go from 2 to 11 – Fracking to Blame?). A few of the earthquakes were barely felt by some people. Most of the 11 quakes were not noticeable by humans on the surface. On Friday the ODNR instituted a new policy requiring drilling and fracking near known faults and active earthquake areas to use a seismic monitor. If a 1.0 or higher quake occurs during drilling and fracking, all drilling will stop until it’s investigated.

If we assume the Ohio quakes in March were caused by fracking over a “previously unknown microfault” as the ODNR assumes, this would be the fourth such instance of fracking itself causing an earthquake–out of 60,000+ horizontally fracked wells (see Fracking has (so far) Triggered Earthquakes 3x – Out of 60K Wells). Statistically speaking it’s still zero. It’s important to a) acknowledge it can happen, but b) keep it in perspective. You have a greater chance of being struck by lightening than of experiencing a fracking-triggered earthquake. It only happens in specific, rare circumstances. Here’s the statement (and map) from the ODNR on how they’re going to treat drilling near faults and previous earthquake zones…
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Utica Shale Oil Far from Dead – EnerVest, EQT Try Again

In September 2012 EV Energy Partners/EnerVest put 539,000 Ohio Utica Shale acres on the auction block. It didn’t sell. A year ago they announced they would begin selling sections piecemeal, a strategy that has netted a few sales since then (see EnerVest Strategy: Sell Utica, Drill Vertical, Expand Midstream). However, EnerVest still retains a lot of Utica acreage–in fact they are the largest Utica acreage holder according to the NGI’s Shale Play Factbook (with 903,000 acres, more than Chesapeake!).

A recent article in the Akron Beacon Journal takes a look at EnerVest’s interest in figuring out how to get the oil that everyone knows is present in the Utica, out of the ground. The company recently got approval from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to drill two Utica wells targeted at getting oil in southern Tuscarawas County. EnerVest is not the only driller who is taking another run at striking oil in the Utica…
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Range Resources Fined $75K by PA DEP for Brine Spill

On Friday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection slapped Range Resources with a $75,000 fine for a brine spill of 3,066 gallons at its Cornwall Mountain Hunting Club Unit A well pad in Lewis Township, Lycoming County. The spill occurred in July 2012, but according to the DEP it took Range nearly a year to remediate the spill, resulting in the fine.

Here’s what happened (and when), and what the DEP said about it…
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Anti-Drillers Win Minor Victory Against Muskingum Watershed Dist

Last October MDN told you about a lawsuit filed by a Guernsey County, OH couple seeking to stop drilling and fracking under Seneca Lake (Ohio). The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) approved a $40.3 million lease with Antero Resources to allow drilling around and under 6,400 acres, including the Seneca Lake. It’s not surprising that the odious Food & Water Watch is behind the lawsuit (see Muskingum Watershed Taken to Court by Anti-Frackers (Yawn)). Last week a Franklin County judge ruled that the lawsuit brought by Leatra Harper and her husband Steven Janstro (strong anti-drillers) can move forward.

Below is the story of their minor victory, a decision that simply means the lawsuit continues, for now. However, it brings up an important issue. Later this week the MWCD is due to sign another lease with Antero–this one for drilling around and under 6,700 at Piedmont Lake (see MWCD Close to Signing Utica Lease for Piedmont Lake, OH Property). Will this small victory at Seneca Lake embolden the odious Food & Water Watch to find sympathetic, fossil fuel-hating landowners around Piedmont to stir up yet another new lawsuit?…
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Williams Restores Service on Ruptured WV Pipeline, More Details

Last Friday MDN told you that Gastar had given a helpful update on the Williams 12-inch pipeline that had ruptured after a landslide in Marshall County, WV on April 5th (see Gastar Helpfully Provides Update on Williams WV Pipeline Outage). We gently prodded Williams and told the PR department it needs to get in gear and start talking. Well, they did. Friday afternoon Williams issued a short statement on their Williams in the Northeast website (see it below). According to the statement, full service was restored as of 1:30 pm Friday afternoon.

Now as for the rupture and explosion itself, we learn from a news story that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection continues their investigation. We also learn the explosion created a 10-foot crater and scorched trees for two acres around the blast site. No wonder some of the neighbors down the road hightailed it out of there, even without being told. Here’s the latest on the Williams pipeline explosion in Marshall County…
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Antero Resources Update: Marcellus Nice & Gassy, Utica Nice & Wet

Antero Resources is sharing some good news today about their operations and production. Year over year the company is producing 105% more daily gas equivalent production now than they did a year ago at this time–thanks in large part to the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Antero reports their Marcellus wells are nice and gassy (average 180-day production rate of 8.1 MMcfe/d, which is 25% above their other wells), and their Utica wells are nice and wet (average 30-day production rate of 15.3 MMcfe/d in ethane rejection, 50% liquids).

Antero is a major Marcellus and Utica driller–and one to watch. Here’s the latest update…
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Fabricating Plant CEO Thinks Utica Drilling will Head North Soon

Evets Oil & Gas Construction Services recently opened a new 20,000-square-foot facility serving the oil and natural gas drilling industry in Hubbard (Trumbull County), OH. The company has been around since 1968 and designs and builds everything from pipelines and compressor plants to billion dollar gas and oil processing facilities. The new facility in Hubbard converted a brownfield into a greenfield, something Evets is justifiably proud of.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony last week, Evets CEO Rex Ferry said he thinks Utica Shale drilling will drift northward in the next few years–in 2015 or 2016–and he’s betting their new location in Trumbull County will put the company in the catbird seat. Ferry’s opinion is certainly contrary to that of most others who believe Utica drilling has moved and will stay south for the foreseeable future. Is Ferry whistling past the graveyard? Or crazy like a fox? We’ll know in the next couple of years…
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Marcellus Entrepreneur Donny Beaver: Silica Dust, Mud & Heck Out

Donny Beaver is a serial entrepreneur. He co-founded New Pig in the mid-1980s–a company that absorbs anything that leaks, drips, splatters or spills. In 2001 Donny founded what would become a series of exclusive fly fishing clubs/retreat centers called the HomeWaters Club across Pennsylvania. In January 2013 he co-founded and launched HalenHardy, which solves problems for the Marcellus (and by extension construction) industry. Donny would talk to Marcellus workers who frequented his HomeWaters Club and his natural curiosity landed him in a new venture to help solve problems for the industry.

First up was the excellent and award winning Mobile Air Shower by HalenHardy (MASHH) units that remove silica dust from workers in 30 seconds (see HalenHardy Wins Ben Franklin EHS Award for Silica Air Shower). Next up is a device that removes mud from boots in 30 seconds. And after that? Portable barriers that will keep people away from dangerous construction sites or emergency scenes–as in “keep the heck out,” a product called Heck Out. Perhaps Donny’s key insight, something all entrepreneurs should learn and tattoo on their hearts: “People don’t care about companies; they care about stuff that helps them.” Smart guy. He surrounds himself with talented, creative people. Really smart guy…
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Marcellus/Utica Anti-Drilling Group Back with Impacts “Research”

The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative (MSSRC) attempts to pass itself off as a non-partisan, “just the facts ma’am” kind of organization dedicated to measuring the “impacts” of Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling. They are anything but. The organization is extremely partisan and anti-drilling, backed by the likes of the Heinz Endowments and Park Foundation, two organizations that back only anti-drillers when it comes to the issue of shale drilling (just ask Bobby Vagt, former president of the Heinz Endowments, Bobby Vagt Out as Pres of Heinz Endowments – Fracking Connection?).

Last November the MSSRC issued a faux research “report” that said, “Nah, Marcellus/Utica doesn’t create all that many jobs after all” (see Anti-Drilling Cabal Issues Biased Report on Marcellus/Utica Jobs). The anti-drilling MSSRC is back with a series of four “case studies” on counties in the Marcellus/Utica and how they’ve fared with a number of metrics. As you might expect, the “study” found loads of negative impacts. It’s all crap, but we highlight it for you so you know that it’s crap and so you’re not taken in by their lame attempt at covering up who they really are and their insidious agenda…
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