Was the Blue Racer Accident in Noble County, OH Preventable?

preventionNearly two weeks ago there was a fatal accident at a Blue Racer Midstream condensate pumping skid in Noble County, OH in which an electrical contract worker was killed (see Blue Racer Midstream Explosion Kills One Worker in OH). There was precious little information about the accident–what caused it–at the time. And since then, we’ve spotted nothing. We know it takes time to investigate such things, but usually there is at least an update or two during that period. We did, however, spot a letter to the editor from a veteran oilfield petroleum engineer who claims the accident was preventable. Since this engineer doesn’t work in the northeast and has no personal knowledge of the accident, we thought it was a pretty brash statement to make. Or was it?…
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Still Time for WV/PA Landowners to Participate in $100M Deal

Landowner coalitions are certainly not new. They began in the Marcellus region around seven years ago when landowners in Pennsylvania banded together to get rates and conditions more favorably than they otherwise could on their own. Smart idea. What is new is that landowners in West Virginia are now banding together because, although Marcellus drilling takes place in the state and much of that land has been leased, the Utica Shale that underlies the state is just now getting started. So landowners, like those in Marshall and Ohio counties (in the panhandle of WV) and Greene County (in southwest PA) are forming new groups to negotiate new leases for the Utica Shale. The Marshall/Ohio/Greene landowner group did just that, recently signing a $100 million deal (see Panhandle WV Landowners Broker $100M Deal with Tug Hill Operating). A few more details about the group and the deal…
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Guest Viewpoint: Best to Lease ALL Rock Layers at One Time

Last week MDN told you about possibility that a rock layer some 20,000 feet below the surface may one day be an important player in natural gas and oil for the northeast (see Trenton-Black River: New Natgas Rock Layer in Your Future?). As part of that story, we wrote the following: “Landowners listen up. When you lease, ALWAYS specify the layer(s) in the lease that you will allow an energy company to drill. That way, in future years when yet other layers are “discovered” to have natural gas or oil deposits, you can re-lease for the new layer. Energy companies will understandably want to negotiate a lease for all layers. Landowners (and their lawyers) need to watch for and construct leases that favor the landowner. A word to the wise…” An MDN subscriber wrote us to take issue with that statement, to point out potential weaknesses in our argument. We are happy (with permission) to bring you the following guest post from Paul David Burke, VP & General Counsel for Huntley & Huntley, Inc…
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New (Utica?) Oil Terminal Operation Coming to Lawrence County, OH

Ergon, a privately-held company headquartered in Mississippi, owns an oil refinery in Newell, West Virginia (since 1997). Earlier this month Ergon reported purchasing a petroleum storage facility/terminal located in Ironton, Ohio. The stated purpose is to increase their capacity to purchase and transport crude oil in the Ohio River Valley region. What is that news?…
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Sunoco Logistics, Regency Energy Presentations from Analyst Day

Last week both Regency Energy Partners, which purchased PVR Partners a little over a year ago (PVR having a major footprint in the Marcellus/Utica), along with Sunoco Logistics, another major midstream player in the northeast, participated in an analyst day last week at Ritz-Carlton in Dallas. While we don’t have a transcript, we do have the PowerPoint slide decks from both companies. And what we find on some of those slides is illuminating…
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Steingraber, 2 Others Sent to Jail for Refusing to Pay Fine

The increasingly shrill (and irrational) Sandra Steingraber, a so-called “scholar in residence” who’s paid to gallivant and protest shale drilling and related fossil fuel issues by Ithaca College, was (once again) arrested, refused to pay her fine, and carted off to jail for refusing to pay a fine because she illegally blocked the entrance to a legally running business that one day hopes to house underground storage of natural gas. The facility is a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake (near Watkins Glen, NY). Steingraber has pulled this stunt before (see NY Anti-Drilling Protesters Jailed After Refusing to Pay Fine). Since she gets no media attention and you wouldn’t know about it otherwise, we thought we’d share the news with you…
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