Ohio Utica & Marcellus Maps – Where Does Drilling Happen?

Each week the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) Oil & Gas Resources division publishes the latest list of permits issued to drillers in the Utica (and/or the Marcellus) for the Buckeye State. Each month the same department issues updated maps for both the Utica and the Marcellus to show where drilling is (and by omission, is not) happening. We have the latest maps below.
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ODNR Releases Ohio Utica O&G Production for 3Q18 – Top 25 Wells

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued third quarter 2018 production numbers for Utica shale oil and gas production yesterday. And what a report it is! Natural gas production was up an amazing 31% over the same period last year (after being up 42% in 2Q18). Utica natgas production broke another record, hitting a new all-time high of 605 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 3Q18. But perhaps the biggest story was Utica oil production. In 1Q18 Utica oil production was down 3.6%. In 2Q18 Utica oil production was up 11%. But in 3Q18, Utica oil production soared, going up 32%.
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CORNballs Return, Ask DC Court to Shut Down NEXUS Pipe

The CORNballs are still at it. Even though NEXUS Pipeline, a $2.6 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that runs from Ohio into Michigan, partially started up in October, and went fully online in November, the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CORN), along with the City of Oberlin, Ohio, is asking the D.C. Court of Appeals to reverse the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s original decision to approve the project. Yes, the CORNballs (our name for CORN) want to shut it all down–even though the pipeline is in the ground spreading economic cheer throughout the region, and even though all of the scary nightmare scenarios predicted by CORN and Oberlin with respect to building the pipeline have now been proven false. The CORNballs and Oberlin are sore losers and apparently have endless gobs of money for lawyers to file frivolous lawsuits in federal court. The same two groups tried this stunt in a different court, the Sixth Circuit, where the lawsuit was tossed out last March. They’ve gone court shopping to try it all again.
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BLM Auctions 75 Acres in OH’s Wayne Natl Forest for $209/Acre

Last week the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Eastern States Office ran another oil and gas lease auction for federal land on the eastern side of the country. Up for auction was 2,456 acres in Ohio, Michigan and Mississippi. Only half of the property listed for auction actually brought bids and sold. Of the 2,456 acres offered, a piddly 75 acres, in two parcels, was located in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF)–in Monroe County. That is, 3% of all the acreage in the BLM sale was in the Ohio Utica–and yet that 3% brought in 69% of the revenue from the sale: $15,720 total. However, the amount paid per acre for the WNF parcels seems to be small–just $209 per acre. So who picked up the 75 acres for a song?
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Duke Energy’s 13-Mile Cincinnati NatGas Pipeline Back on Track

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Duke Energy’s plan to build a critically-needed natural gas pipeline near Cincinnati, OH, to replace an old pipeline built in the 1950s. We told you in April that Duke had, finally, refiled their application to build the new pipeline along an alternate route, with a few tweaks (see Duke Energy Refiles 13-Mile Cincinnati NatGas Pipeline Plan). Without this new 20-inch, 13-mile pipeline, some folks around Cincy will have to go without natural gas. Such arguments fall on deaf ears with anti-fossil fuelers. The new news is that Duke is moving forward with the project. A public hearing is now scheduled for next March, and an “evidentiary” hearing is scheduled for next April.
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Looks Like Radicals have Scuttled Patriot Water Deal w/Warren, OH

In June 2017, MDN reported that the Fresh Water Accountability Project (FWAP), a radical anti-fracking group based in Michigan, had filed a lawsuit against the Patriot Water Treatment facility and the City of Warren, OH, claiming the two treat frack chemicals at their respective facilities that don’t get processed enough–and consequently get released into the Mahoning River (see Radical Enviro Group Sues Warren Frack Wastewater Plant). Patriot processes frack wastewater at it’s Warren plant and then (used to) dispose of the wastewater by using the local Warren municipal sewage treatment plant. That is, Patriot strips out all of the really nasty stuff, and then the sewage plant would finish off the process releasing clean water into the Mahoning River, near Youngstown. Unfortunately, it appears the FWAP lawsuit has permanently stopped that beneficial practice.
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Cabot “Making Offers” to OH Landowners; New Well in Richland Co.

Ohio’s gas counties – click for larger version

We spotted an article about a landowner meeting held last week in Ashland County, Ohio. In the meeting, lawyers advised landowners to hold off on signing a standard lease agreement with Cabot Oil & Gas for $25 per acre with 12.5% royalties. Those offers, from what we are able to determine, were sent a year ago. Since that time Cabot has drilled at least three (possibly four) wells targeting the Knox Formation in Ashland County (see Cabot O&G Fracks Its First OH Knox Well, Drilling 3rd OH Well). A fourth (possibly fifth) well is about to be drilled in neighboring Richland County. Lawyers are telling landowners who haven’t yet signed it’s prudent to hold off and see how these initial test wells perform. We have details about the recent landowner meeting, along with details about a new Cabot well being drilled in Richland County, below.
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OH Supremes “Clarify” Preservation of Royalty Interest Under OMTA

If a deed refers to a previously reserved royalty interest where the reference identifies the type of interest created and the person to whom the interest was granted (with no other details), is that sufficiently specific enough to preserve the royalty interest under the Ohio Marketable Title Act (OMTA)? According to a decision rendered last week by the Supreme Court of Ohio, the answer is, “Yes.” In a case with its roots dating back to 1915, landowners attempted to sever royalty interests under the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act, attempting to cancel the old interest because a 1969 deed that referred back to the original deal (of one-half royalty interest) was not “specific enough.” The 1969 reference didn’t include the volume and page number of the instrument that originally created the royalty interest. In other words, it wasn’t a “Simon Says” kind of thing–it didn’t follow the exact legal standard. The current landowner tried to cancel the original royalty sharing obligation via a legal loophole.
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New Shale Permits Down in PA & OH as Winter Begins

An analysis by Argus Media shows the number of new permits issued to drill in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale was down 42% in November 2018 over the same time a year ago. Drilling in Ohio’s Utica Shale was down 26% in November vs. a year ago. Yet one overpowering fact remains: Production in both states is UP over a year ago! How do you explain it? Each year drillers get better at what they do–they get more gas from drilling fewer wells. Longer laterals, more sand, improved fracking techniques–it all adds up to more production with less drilling. Our region is also still working down our DUC (drilled but uncompleted) wells inventory, which means less drilling. And winter cold has set in, early. Yeah, less drilling means fewer jobs and fewer opportunities to sell goods and services to drilling companies. But watch for the permit numbers to start going up again (our prediction). Why? Because with pipelines which recently went online and new pipes due to go online, the price our gas is fetching has dramatically increased–and that means the willingness of M-U drillers to drill new wells will increase too.
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Fed Gov’t Gives $20M Grant to Monroe, OH Shale-to-Rail Project

Long Ridge Energy Terminal (click for larger version)

We suppose if the money we pay in taxes to the federal government is going to be used for corporate welfare, this is the kind of welfare we’d like to see. Mind you, we don’t endorse nor like corporate welfare of any kind (whether it’s money for so-called renewable projects, or money for fossil fuel projects). But corporate welfare is a fact in our screwed up world, so let’s put it to good use by throwing what amounts to a rounding error in our federal budget, $20 million, to the Long Ridge Energy Terminal in Monroe County, OH for “rail and pipeline infrastructure improvements” to move more shale gas, oil and NGLs to market. The Long Ridge Energy Terminal, which used to be called the Center Port Transload Facility, completed an upgrade in July that allows more “unit trains” to be loaded/unloaded at the same time (see Former Ormet Site in OH Handles 3 Frac Sand Unit Trains at a Time). The new grant money will add a pipeline-to-rail transloading facility to the terminal.
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FERC Approves PA to OH Risberg Pipeline to Begin Construction

Click for larger version

FERC has finally come out of its funk. At least with respect to the RH energytrans Risberg Line project. We have been waiting and waiting and waiting to bring you this exciting news: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given final approval for the Risberg Line project to begin construction! Risberg is a 60-mile, $86 million pipeline from Crawford County, PA through Erie County and into Ashtabula County, OH. According to FERC’s own schedule, an OK for the project was due no later than Sept. 27, which didn’t happen. In October, RH energytrans was diplomatic and said, “It may take a little longer than we might hope” (see FERC Stuck in Slow Mo – Late Approving PA to OH Risberg Project). The folks at RH are far more patient than we are. Their patience has paid off. On Friday, FERC pulled the trigger and sent final approval. RH says construction will begin “by the end of this year,” which is now just over two weeks away.
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12 Landowner Lawsuits Filed Against NEXUS, Contractor in Ohio

A lawyer representing 12 Ohio landowners has filed separate lawsuits on behalf of each landowner against NEXUS Pipeline and a contractor NEXUS used to build the pipleline–Michels Corp. The lawyer says he plans to file more lawsuits in the coming weeks. According to the attorney, the lawsuits aim to hold NEXUS and Michels “accountable for specific damages they’ve caused,” and to prevent future pipeline builders from “trampling on the rights of property owners.” The charges vary, but include allegations of pumping water and silt onto farms without permission from the owners, destroying topsoil and crops (without compensation), failure to repair damaged drain tiles, and more.
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By the Numbers – Shale Drilling “Still Strong” in PA & OH

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued 269 permits for Marcellus (and possibly a few Utica) shale wells in October and November. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued 22 permits in the Utica/Point Pleasant shale play in October, and 11 permits in November (as of Nov. 17). That’s over 300 new shale wells between the Marcellus and Utica in the most recent two months–a strong showing. Farm and Dairy, a 100+ year-old publication serving the rural communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, recently tabulated the permit numbers for western PA and eastern OH, down to the county level. Here’s what the numbers show.
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PA Shale Water Company Hiring 125 New Employees

This is the kind of news we love to share! Keystone Clearwater Solutions, which was once majority owned by Rex Energy until they sold it to American Water Works in 2015 (see Rex Energy Sells Keystone Water Subsidiary to American Water Works), is hiring. And boy are they hiring! Keystone needs to hire 125 people, from truck drivers (most of the positions) to mechanics to technicians to supervisors. Keystone offers “complete water management solutions” to the shale industry, from the development and operation of surface water intakes to the operation and maintenance of water pipeline systems, pipeline construction projects, and water transfer services. Keystone is holding interviews across PA, OH and WV in December to fill the open positions. Christmas came early!
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