OH Landowners Sue Rice, Ascent, XTO, Gulfport for Drilling Too Deep

Do you remember the child’s game called “Simon Says”? That’s what we were thinking when we read about a lawsuit in Ohio by landowners against a group of shale drillers. The lawsuit, initiated by several landowners in Belmont County, OH, claims the drillers drilled too deep–into the Point Pleasant rock layer–when the leases signed only mention the Utica rock layer. The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, claims “unjust enrichment” by the drillers.
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Former EV Energy Partners Sells Appalachian Assets for $20.5M

In June 2018, EV Energy Partners (EVEP), the drilling subsidiary of EnerVest, emerged from bankruptcy court a mere two months after entering with $355 million of debt erased and sporting a new name: Harvest Oil & Gas Corp. (see EV Energy Partners Emerges from Bankruptcy with New Name). Harvest’s drilling and assets are focused in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia where they own/operate 9,787 conventional wells on 916,832 gross leased acres. The company announced yesterday it’s selling off its Appalachian assets for $20.5 million (and no, that’s not a typo).
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New Study Shows No Leaks in Utica Shale Gathering Pipelines

It’s such a breath of fresh air (and so rare) when we spot actual, in-the-field, real science being done. So many times the “studies” we see published are nothing more than rehashed interpretations, speculation, and outright fabrications parading as scientific inquiry. We spotted a new study published just yesterday in the journal MDPI Atmosphere by researchers with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh. In 2019 researchers flew specially outfitted drones with methane sniffers over 73 kilometers (45 miles) of Utica Shale gathering pipelines and associated infrastructure. Know what they found? There were ZERO methane leaks from the pipelines.
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Ohio Frac Sand Company Covia Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

In December 2017 Fairmount Santrol, an Ohio-based sand producer that sells frac sand to drillers in the Utica and Marcellus Shale, announced it would sell itself to another sand company–Unimin, a subsidiary of Belgium-based SCR-Sibelco–for $170 million and 35% ownership in the newly combined company (see OH Sand Producer Fairmount Santrol Merging w/Unimin in $170M Deal). The newly merged company was later renamed Covia. Earlier this week Covia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
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COVID Impact on PA Landowners: Low Royalties, Lease Expirations

The Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management (Washington, PA) is hosting a free webinar series on “Effects of COVID-19 and the Economic Downturn on Western Pennsylvania Shale Gas Development” during June and July. Two of the three sessions have already been held, including a session yesterday that discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on landowners who have leased their land for shale drilling. According to the speaker, there have been two notable effects of the virus for landowners: lower royalties and drillers not renewing leases (allowing leases to expire).
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Ohio Utica Oil and Gas Production Takes a Tumble in 1Q20

Each quarter the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issues an update on Utica (and Marcellus) oil and natural gas production. Until the recent blowup of the ODNR website (still only partially restored) ODNR would issue a detailed list of all active wells with production by well. No more. That report is missing from the latest quarterly high-level update from ODNR covering first quarter 2020 numbers. What we can tell you, based on the information that has been released, is that production between 4Q19 and 1Q20 was down significantly.
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Leftwing Academic Hacks Trash Talk PA, OH Cracker Plants

A group of leftwing radical professors (all of the Democrats) from seven universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania have colluded to write a letter to the governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The letter trash talks the billions of dollars in economic impact and tens of thousands of jobs ethane cracker plants and the petrochemical industry will have in the region. The leftist gang of seven poo-poos those estimates and says the proposed PTT cracker is too “risky” to approve. How do they figure?
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Marcellus/Utica NatGas Production Drops 1.5 Bcf/d Jan to May

Enverus (formerly known as Drillinginfo) recently released its latest FundamentalEdge report that explores the ongoing supply response to demand destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the report, Enverus estimates how much dry gas production each major shale play produced, month by month, from January through May of this year. The numbers show that production from the Marcellus/Utica, which produces the most natural gas of any play, decreased the most of any play–by some 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) from January to May.
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EnerVest Auctioning 58K Utica Leased Acres in Ohio & Pennsylvania

EnergyNet is an online marketplace for buying and selling oil and gas working interests (operated and non-operated), overrides, royalties, mineral interests, leaseholds, and other contracts. From time to time we spot auctions on EnergyNet from Marcellus/Utica drillers. EnerVest Energy is currently auctioning a package of leases scattered across Ohio and Pennsylvania via the EnergyNet website. The EnerVest auction ends June 17. We have the details below.
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Belmont County, OH Landowner Group a Huge Success

MDN was launched in January 2009, during the heyday of leasing for shale drilling in the Marcellus/Utica region. One of our early focuses was to highlight lease deals by landowner coalitions. (Indeed, it was one such deal, in Deposit, NY, that inspired Jim Willis to begin writing MDN.) These days you don’t read or hear much about landowner coalitions because most properties are now leased (not all, but most). MDN friend Nicole Jacobs from Energy in Depth highlights a successful coalition in Belmont County, OH in a recent post.
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Ohio State University Offering Shale Leasing, DMA Webinars in June

Although many landowners in the Marcellus/Utica (at lease those who are interested) have already signed leases to allow shale drilling on and under their property, not all have. And sometimes leases expire with no drilling. Plus, not all landowners have leases that allow pipelines and other development (like solar projects). The Ohio State University Extension is offering several webinars at the end of June of interest to all landowners general, and Ohio landowners in particular, with an interest in leasing and mineral rights.
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Gulfport Caps Utica Production, Delays Drilling to Late 2020

Gulfport Energy, the third-largest (by number wells drilled) producer in the Ohio Utica Shale, issued an update yesterday to its previous plans on drilling in the Ohio Utica (and Oklahoma SCOOP), revising down the amount of natural gas it will produce and revising down drilling activity previously planned for 2020. The company says it will delay until later this year/early next year more of its production than previously announced–due to ongoing low prices for natgas.
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PTT Responds to “Indefinite Hold” on OH Cracker Decision

PTT Global Chemical, the huge Thailand-based petrochemical company looking to build a world-class ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH, has botched its messaging about when it will make a final investment decision (FID) about moving forward with the project. The latest FID was supposed to be now, by the end of June this year (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). Then the company said the pandemic would delay the FID, without giving any kind of time frame. We referred to that as an “indefinite” delay (see PTT Postpones Ohio Cracker Final Investment Decision Indefinitely). PTT disputes that characterization. Did we get it wrong by labeling the FID delay as “indefinite”?
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PTT Further Delays Ohio Cracker Decision to 2021

In late April PTT Global Chemical, the huge Thailand-based petrochemical company looking to build a world-class ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH, announced it would not make a final investment decision (FID) about whether to build the Ohio cracker by mid-2020 (see PTT Postpones Ohio Cracker Final Investment Decision Indefinitely). The company would not give a new timeline, which led us to conclude this is an indefinite delay.
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Work Progresses on Country’s Biggest NatGas Power Plant in Ohio

Work at the Guernsey Power Station site (credit: ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com)

Last September construction was set to begin on what we believe to be the country’s largest natural gas-fired electric plant, the Guernsey Power Station being built in Guernsey County, Ohio (see Country’s Biggest NatGas Power Plant Beginning Construction in OH). We have a progress report on the latest construction activity at the site.
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OH Landowner Loses Post-Production Royalty Case to Chesapeake

Chesapeake Energy keeps winning Ohio royalty lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In March the company beat a lawsuit by a group of Ohio landowners who claimed Chessy had cheated them out of a collective $30 million in royalties (see Chesapeake Energy & Total Beat Class Action Royalty Lawsuit in OH). In April Chesapeake won a second lawsuit that claimed the company had fraudulently concealed information on royalty statements dating back to 1993 (see Chesapeake Beats Another OH Royalty Lawsuit in Federal Court). And now, a third royalty lawsuit has gone Chessy’s way too. Strike three for landowners.
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