BP Calls it Quits in the Utica Shale – Total Write-off

I QuitA sad day for landowners in Trumbull County, OH. Flashback: In March 2012 BP leased 84,000 acres in Trumbull County, OH from the Associated Landowners of the Ohio Valley (see BP’s Big Utica Shale Deal, Leases 84K Acres in Ohio). Just two years later and what started out with great fanfare is all down the toilet. BP announced today they are pulling out of the Utica Shale and writing it all off. In a very brief mention in a press release issued this morning about first quarter 2014 results, BP says: “Following on from the decision to create a separate BP business around its US lower 48 onshore oil and gas activities, and as a consequence of appraisal results, BP has decided not to proceed with development plans in the Utica shale. The Upstream result includes a write-off relating to the Utica acreage.”

Last November MDN wondered aloud whether BP would decide to move forward, or call it quits (see Decision Point: Will BP Drill Their Utica Acreage? Or Pass?). Now we know. Why leave? As we pointed out at the time, Trumbull County has proven to be mostly dry gas, and not wet gas (or natural gas liquids) which makes it a much less profitable part of the play to drill in. BP rolled the dice and bet wrong. The only other driller in Trumbull has been Halcon Resources. They pulled out too (see Halcon Resources Stops Drilling, Gives Up on the Utica Shale). Is there any hope for future Utica drilling in Trumbull County?…
Continue reading

Williams Stops Work on Bluegrass Pipeline, Boardwalk Says “It’s Not Dead”

Really big news that affects drilling throughout the Marcellus and Utica Shale region: Williams announced yesterday they are suspending work on the Bluegrass Pipeline, a $1.5 billion project that would have piped natural gas liquids (NGLs) from the Utica/Marcellus all the way to Gulf Coast for processing and sale. Looks like we now know who the winner of the “midstream knife fight” is: the Kinder Morgan/MarkWest joint venture UTOPIA pipeline (see “Midstream Knife Fight” – Who Will Have 1st Operational NGL Pipeline to Gulf?). Although Williams says the project is done, their joint venture partner in the Bluegrass, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, says “it’s not dead.” Really? What does that mean?

Below we have the Williams statement that the Bluegrass is dead, the quote from Boardwalk saying it isn’t dead, and our opinion as to what may have pushed Williams to throw in the towel on this very important project, potentially leaving northeast drillers without options for NGLs…
Continue reading

Boardwalk Talks About Bluegrass: That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It

Yesterday Boardwalk Pipeline Partners held an analyst call to update investors on their first quarter 2014 performance. As we wrote about a few months ago, Boardwalk’s stock fell off a cliff (down 50%) and is just now beginning to inch it’s way back up the cliff (see Serious Concerns about Boardwalk Pipeline Partners Continue). Yesterday’s analyst call coincided with the release of information that both Williams and Boardwalk, together in a joint venture to build the Bluegrass Pipeline, an important northeast to Gulf Coast NGL pipeline, have decided to suspend work on the pipeline. Williams hints that the project is all but dead, but Boardwalk says it isn’t (see our related story today).

We located the transcript of yesterday’s analyst call with Boardwalk and have extracted out all of the places where the Bluegrass was discussed. It’s interesting reading, providing us with a bit more color and context. For us it evokes Collin Raye’s song, “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” as we read the comments by Boardwalk and the press release by Williams. Both partners have obviously decided to script the announcement–both are singing from the same song sheet, as it were. The stated reason they’ve stopped working on the Bluegrass? Not enough customer interest. Which, as we point out in today’s related story, we think is sort of bogus. Here’s what was said yesterday on the Boardwalk call about the Bluegrass suspension…
Continue reading

Top 10 Oil Wells & Top 10 Gas Wells in Ohio for 4Q13

top-10.jpgContrary to the all-but-silent treatment Utica Shale oil gets, drillers are pumping oil from the Utica. Quite a bit of it, as it turns out. They’re also pumping huge quantities of natural gas.

Last week MDN friend Bob Downing, reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal, did a great analysis of Q413 production numbers. He produced these two lists of “top 10” for oil producing wells and for natgas producing wells…
Continue reading

OH Production for 4Q13: Natgas Up 28%, Oil Up 8%

Last week the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) released it’s now quarterly production report–for fourth quarter 2013. The report shows natural gas production zoomed up by 28% while oil production increased by 8%. The report shows 352 wells were producing as of the end of the year. They produced a collective 1.4 million barrels of oil for the quarter, and 43 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Below is an overview and analysis of the numbers, followed by the raw report (spreadsheet format) from the ODNR…
Continue reading

Altoona Hearing on Latest EPA Outrage: Redefining Clean Water Act

The latest breath-taking power grab attempt by the rogue and out-of-control federal Environmental Protection Agency was highlighted at a Congressional hearing held yesterday in Altoona, PA. The EPA wants to redefine which bodies of water fall under the 1972 Clean Water Act–so that the agency essentially would oversee not only “navigable waterways” but all waterways, usurping states rights in the process. It is, as Congressman Bill Shuster (from PA) said, more evidence of President Obama’s “imperial presidency”–by which he means Obama is grabbing power by force that is not his Constitutionally. The hearing yesterday was an attempt to point out the perils of the EPA’s latest overreach.

Shale drillers clearly understand the implications and at least one attended to voice concerns. According to CONSOL Energy, the new “guidelines” from EPA would add upward of $10 million per natgas pipeline they install due to the delays, paperwork and new hoops they will need to jump through. It is unnecessary and (in our opinion) unconstitutional…
Continue reading

Anti-Drilling PA Gov Candidate Allyson Schwartz Spits and Sputters

Queen BeeIn a hilarious set of meetings with reporters in Harrisburg, PA, Democrat primary candidate for governor Allyson Schwartz had a spitting and sputtering fest. We truly wish we were there. She repeatedly attempted to lob verbal molotov cocktails at both Republican Gov. Tom Corbett (running for re-election) and at her chief primary rival and fellow anti-driller Tom Wolf. But the verbal bombs she lobbed just wouldn’t go off–and one of them exploded in her own face. At times pleading and at other times scolding, Schwartz essentially begged reporters to criticize Wolf and Corbett on her behalf.

One of those reporters had had enough and asked her: since Tom Corbett has released 10 years of tax returns, why don’t you? Schwartz went nearly apoplectic. How DARE a reporter challenge the Queen Bee!? Her response was, essentially, “good for thee but not for me.” Which is the way anti-drillers like Schwartz always operate, with double standards…
Continue reading

PA Labor Unions Break Ranks with Dems to Support Shale Industry

Organized labor continues to roar its approval for fracking, pipelines and the shale oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania and beyond. Breaking ranks with its own anti-drilling Democrat Party in PA, Laborers International Union of North America (LUNA) with more than 20,000 PA members, wrote an editorial appearing in the Erie Times-News that supports expansion of fracking in PA as opposed to silly moratoriums and more restrictions proposed by the Democrat Party and their candidates for governor on down…
Continue reading

Northeastern Ohio Benefits from Shale Too, Just Different

There’s not much drilling in the Utica Shale in northeastern Ohio, but that doesn’t mean folks in the northern part of the state don’t benefit (and profit) from it. In fact, many in northern Ohio are downright excited about what’s happening in the state. Why? Because the plastics industry, which uses byproducts from natural gas liquids (NGLs) being extracted in Ohio, is taking off like a rocket, providing jobs, products and an economic bonanza in northern Ohio and indeed throughout the state…
Continue reading

Marietta Meeting Highlights Big Economic Impacts from Drilling

Marietta (Washington County), OH residents and business owners had a chance last Friday to hear how the northeast shale boom has already benefited that area, and how the area will benefit in the future. The changes statewide are dramatic. The changes locally are starting to be felt too–and more changes are on the way. Exciting changes…
Continue reading