Construction Begins on Morrow County, OH’s First Fracked Well

Morrow County, OH
Morrow County, OH

It’s not often we get to report on a new (to us) rock formation that’s getting fracked in PA, WV or in this case, OH. We spotted a story that Morrow County, OH’s very first fracked well is under construction. EOR Technology is drilling the well in Denmark (Canaan Township), OH. Morrow County is almost smack in the very center of the state–far outside of the eastern counties where fracking is currently done. That sent us to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources’ permit database to find out more about the well. What we discovered is that the proposed total depth of the new well is 3,200 feet–which means it’s not a Utica well (which are typically around 10,000 feet down). It’s also too shallow to be a Marcellus well. So what formation is EOR targeting? The Trempealeau formation. That’s a new one on us, so that sent us searching again. Here’s what we found about the Trempealeau and about Morrow County’s very first fracked oil well…
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Family of Man Who Died in 2013 Eurkea Hunter Accident Gets $18M

lawsuitIn April 2013 MDN reported on the tragic death of 56-year-old Bruce Phipps from Marietta, OH who was working at a Eureka Hunter “pig” (Pipeline Inspection Gauge) receiving station near near Wick (Tyler County), WV (see Flash Fire at Pipeline Station in WV Kills 1, Injures 3 Others). Later, Pennsylvania resident Raymond Miller, another of the injured workers, also died (see Second Death from Flash Fire at WV Pipeline Station). Phipps’ widow sued Eureka Hunter and several other companies involved with the pipeline and last week all parties settled and the Circuit Court of Ohio gave its stamp of approval. Phipps’ widow and her family will receive $18 million, minus one-third ($6 million) that goes to the lawyers…
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Chesapeake Appoints Former Deptartment Store CEO as New Chairman

department store mannequinThe last vestiges of the Aubrey McClendon era at Chesapeake have now been swept away. In June 2012, Aubrey was demoted from his position as chairman of the board of directors. Archie Dunham, the retired chairman of ConocoPhillips, was tapped to replace him and help the company navigate the transition from dumping McClendon (see Chesapeake Energy’s Board Changes, Archie Dunham New Chairman). We see how it’s worked out with a pair of corporate raiders (Carl Icahn and Mason Hawkins) in charge: Chesapeake has fired thousands of people, sold off everything but the kitchen sink, yet remains in debt up to its eyeballs. The post-Aubrey transition is now complete. The corporate raiders have just retired Archie Dunham–someone who at least comes from the oil and gas industry–and replaced him by promoting Brad Martin to be the new chairman of the board. Who’s Brad Martin? He used to run a department store chain…
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Antero 3Q15 Operational Update: Production Up 39%, Gets $3.99/Mcf

beat the marketToday Antero Resources became the first major Marcellus/Utica driller to issue their third quarter 2015 update. The company reports a 39% increase in production over the same quarter last year, and a 1% increase from 2Q15. They must have some sharp financial types at Antero because the average price they received for their natural gas was $3.99 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) in 3Q15, which is $1.22 higher than gas sold for in the NYMEX futures market. What that means is that they’re really good at hedging and using complicated financial instruments called derivatives in order to get a higher price for their gas than many others get. Good for them! However, not part of the update released today are Antero’s income statement and balance sheet–which will show the true financial condition of the company. They’re holding that back until the quarterly analyst phone call on Oct. 28. Here’s the operational report they filed today, with details about their Marcellus and Utica operations. We also spotted a new 10-year agreement to LNG to Chubu Electric via the Freeport (TX) LNG terminal…
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Antero Resources Spending $1B, Employing 2,000 in WV in 2015

1 billion dollar billAntero Resources’ chief administrative officer, Al Schopp, shared an update on Antero’s activity in WV at the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association’s annual meeting two weeks ago at Oglebay Resort. Schoop’s update was enlightening. Although Antero has cut back from running 15 drilling rigs in WV last year to only 6 this year (due to the low price of natural gas), they remain active and employ 2,000 people in the state–that’s LOCAL people. Since 2009 Antero has spent nearly $5 billion (!) in WV. Some of that money–$500 million–was spent to create a pipeline system to deliver water to drill pads so they don’t have to clog narrow mountain roads with thousands of truck trips. The company spends $20 million a year to employ safety consultants at every major Antero construction, drilling and fracking operation 24/7/365. How long does Antero plan to be a major presence in the Mountain State, and what’s ahead in the near-term? Read on…
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MarkWest, CPG Sing Marcellus/Utica Praises at WVONGA Meeting

I Love Marcellus buttonIt wasn’t just upstream/drilling companies that presented at the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association’s annual meeting two weeks ago at Oglebay Resort (see today’s story about Antero). Midstream (pipeline and processing plants) companies were also represented. Two of the biggest addressed the delegates: MarkWest Energy and Columbia Pipeline Group. A couple of items piqued our interest in comments made by each. MarkWest’s executive VP and chief commercial officer Greg Floerke teased that it’s not just pipelines that will transport natural gas liquids out of the Marcellus/Utica region–but also railroads. That’s the first time we’ve seen public comments by a MarkWest muckety muck mentioning an alliance with rail to move NGLs out of the northeast. Columbia Pipeline’s executive VP and chief commercial officer Stan Chapman offered an eye-popping statistic: Columbia will triple in size from now until 2018 because of the Marcellus/Utica. According to Chapman, their experience is not unique…
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Peters Twp, PA Continues to Delay Drilling by “Studying” It

expect delaysPeters Township, the most populous township in Washington County, PA, is one of the seven selfish towns that sued the state over the zoning provisions in the Act 13 law, eventually winning at the PA Supreme Court level (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). The Act 13 victory gives townships the right to pass local zoning ordinances that restrict–but don’t ban–Marcellus/Utica drilling. Peters has been adept at using the victory to keep drilling banned by “studying” the issue to death (see Peters Twp, PA Pretends to Debate Ordinance to Allow Drilling). Their pattern of pushing off drilling continues. Peters Town Council members have just voted to spend $29,000 to pay a consultant to study how close is too close when it comes to drilling operations. It appears to be yet another way to further delay drilling in the town…
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Tennessee Gas Pipeline Files PA Orion Project with FERC

application formLast week Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) filed their official, full application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking approval for their Orion Project. The project will cost $143 million and construct 13 miles of “looping” pipeline in Pike and Wayne counties, Pennsylvania. The project will boost capacity on the TGP by another 135 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), allowing TGP to pump more Marcellus Shale gas to Mid-Atlantic and New England states. If all goes according to plan, the TGP Orion upgrade will be complete and in-service by June 2018…
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Positive Sign: Short Selling of Rex Energy’s Stock Decreases 19%

positive signWe continue to bring you news about what may seem to be esoteric and perhaps not relevant for most MDN readers–but we think it is important. Yesterday we told you about an increase in “short selling” of Gastar Exploration’s stock (see Negative Sign: Short Selling of Gastar’s Stock Increases 12%). Previously we told you about a decrease in short selling for Magnum Hunter Resources’ stock (see Positive Sign: Short Selling of Magnum Hunter’s Stock Decreases). For a background on short selling–what it is and why it’s important–see our quick tutorial (“Short Selling” – An Important Signal for Marcellus-Related Companies). In essence, when investors “short sell” a stock they’re betting the price of the stock is heading down, which is not a sign of a healthy company. Today’s news: short selling of Rex Energy’s stock decreased by 19% for the last two weeks of September. That’s a positive sign that investors are beginning to believe Rex’s stock (i.e. the health of the company) will improve…
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EID’s Devastating Critique of PA Premature Birth “Study”

exposeLast week MDN reported on a new junk science study that claims to have discovered the closer you live to fracking in Pennsylvania, the more likely your baby will be born prematurely (see New Junk Science Claims PA Fracking Leads to Premature Births). We pointed out the study was funded by left-leaning organizations. However, MDN friend Nicole Jacobs, from the always excellent Energy in Depth blog site, has done a top notch investigation of the study and its authors. Nicole found so many conflicts of interest and biases on the part of the study’s authors, it’s a wonder the study was approved for publication at all. Of course mainstream media will totally ignore the evidence that this is yet another political (not scientific) study–but that’s mainstream media for you. They don’t report news–they issue propaganda. Perhaps the most devastating fact unearthed by Nicole is that the rate of premature births in the study area, the rate that’s supposedly higher the closer you get to fracking–is actually below the overall national average of premature births. In other words, the study’s authors manipulated the data until they could get the results they wanted…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Oct 13, 2015

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: can waterless fracking bypass Cuomo’s frack ban?; big money for PA towns from Marcellus impact fee; will natgas ever get over $3 again?; rig counts continue to fall; shale firms snap up $50 oil hedges; and more!
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