NEXUS Pipeline Asks FERC for Sept 28 Startup to Flow 967 MMcf/d

At the end of July NEXUS Pipeline was 80% complete and made big boasts that it would be ready to flow during the third quarter of this year (see NEXUS Pipeline Update – Now 80% Complete, on Schedule for 3Q18). By golly, they are true to their word. Earlier this week NEXUS told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) they are ready to go, and asked permission to begin service by September 28, flowing 967 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) along the pipeline that will eventually carry 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). The NEXUS Pipeline project is owned by DTE Energy and Spectra Energy (Enbridge). It is a $2 billion, 258-mile interstate pipeline that runs from Columbiana County in eastern Ohio across Ohio to an interconnection with DTE Gas in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Eventually, via the Vector Pipeline, gas from NEXUS will flow to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. Radical environmental groups fought the project tooth and nail. CORN (Coalition to ReRoute Nexus), and the far-left Sierra Club, launched multiple lawsuits and regulatory actions against the pipeline. We’re happy to report they lost. And now NEXUS is ready to flow…
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Ohio Utica Attracts Amazing $70 Billion Investment…So Far

JobsOhio, a private, nonprofit corporation that works closely with the state (works on behalf of the state) to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio by attracting business, has decided it’s time to once again wave the flag, blow the trumpet, and talk about the shale industry in the Buckeye State. And well they should! According to research quoted by JobsOhio, Ohio, largely due to the Utica Shale, has attracted an amazing $70 billion in new private sector energy investments from 2011 to 2017. This is truly stupendous stuff! That’s PRIVATE (non-tax, non-government) money flowing into Ohio mainly because of the Utica Shale. Not only that, but roughly 12,000 high-paying jobs have been created in Ohio thanks to the Utica. Those are “direct” jobs. When you include indirect jobs–such as welders, fabricators and logistical workers–the number goes to 100,000! God bless the Utica. Here’s another fact: Even though Ohio neighbor Pennsylvania produces far more natural gas than Ohio, Ohio’s production (as a percentage) has grown faster than PA, faster than any other state, for four years in a row…
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OH Supreme Court Rules Columbus Anti-Utica Ballot Measure Illegal

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that yet another ballot measure backed by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) in Columbus, OH, a measure meant to ban fracking to send a “you’re not welcome” message to Utica drillers, is in fact illegal and will not appear on the November ballot. In July we told you about a group of anti-fossil fuel nutters, backed by CELDF, making a run at implementing an illegal frack ban in Columbus, OH (see CELDF Finds New Group of Suckers in Columbus for Utica Frack Ban). Columbus, with a population of 2,078,725 people, found 12,134 suckers (1/2 of 1% of the population) to sign a petition to get a so-called Community Bill of Rights measure on the ballot in November. As we previously pointed out, this initiative is illegal. State law specifically reserves the right to regulate oil and gas activity at the state level–local towns, cities, etc. don’t have the staff or expertise to regulate such activities. The Franklin County Board of Elections wisely refused to put the measure on the November ballot, prompting a lawsuit that went all the way to the state Supreme Court. Last week the Ohio Supremes concurred with the Board of Elections, saying they were right to block the anti-Utica measure from the ballot…
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EdgeMarc Energy Sued for Failing to Pay Overtime – Class Action

Last Wednesday a single person employed by EdgeMarc Energy in Ohio filed a lawsuit against the company in federal court claiming he was “misclassified” as an independent contractor when in reality he was functioning as a full-blown employee. Why does it make a difference? Because independent contractors (1099s) are paid a straight, per-hour rate no matter how many hours they work, whereas employees must, under federal (and state) law, be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40. The worker alleges the company intentionally uses independent contractor status to wiggle out of paying overtime, and that he’s not the only one. Normally one disgruntled employee suing an employer is not newsworthy–but in this case the law firm is attempting to get the lawsuit certified as a class action, potentially covering hundreds of workers. And that IS a big deal…
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Construction to Begin “Immediately” on Columbiana Utica-Fired Plant

In October 2015, Advanced Power Services announced it would build an 1,100 megawatt Utica-fired electric plant in Columbiana County, OH (see New $1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant Coming to Columbiana County). The plant, big enough to power 1 million homes (!), was approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board in September 2016 (see $1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant in Columbiana Gets State Approval). At the time of the approval, construction was supposed to begin in January 2017 and take some 550 workers about three years to build. Construction never began. A few things have changed along the way. The plant will now cost $1.3 billion to build and will take 1,000 people to build it. How do we know? Because global engineering firm Bechtel has just announced it has been selected to build the plant–and to start building it NOW, as in “immediately.” Yes, it will still take three years to build. The new target in-service date is second quarter 2021. In addition to the plant itself, a new 20-inch pipeline will be built to feed the plant, connecting to the nearby Dominion Transmission pipeline. Here’s the great news that Ohio’s latest Utica-fired electric plant is now under construction…
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Risberg Pipe from NW PA to NE OH Plans Construction in October

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RH energytrans, which plans to build a 60-mile, $86 million pipeline from Crawford County, PA through Erie County and into Ashtabula County, OH, says they expect to begin digging for the new pipeline soon. RH officials told North Kingsville officials (Ashtabula County) last week that “construction could begin soon.” How soon? Early October, provided they get a final OK from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Last October MDN brought you details about the proposed Risberg Line pipeline project (see New 60-Mile Pipeline Proposed from NW Pa. to NE Ohio). The project will use approximately 32 miles of existing pipeline in an established Right of Way originating in the Meadville, PA area. Approximately 16 miles of new pipeline will be built in Pennsylvania and approximately 12 miles of new pipeline will be built in Ohio–meaning 28 miles of brand new “greenfield” pipeline needs to get built. In late June, FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment for the project (see 60-Mile Pipeline from NW PA to NE OH Gets Favorable FERC Review). A favorable EA is the penultimate step before FERC gives a final OK. That final OK is due no later than Sept. 27. Clearly RH believes they will get a final OK within the next two weeks, and they’re communicating with communities, alerting them construction is about to begin…
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Ohio Democrats Float Bill to Cap Injection Wells at 23 per County

Liberal Democrat State Rep. Glenn Holmes (from Girard, Trumbull County, OH) is attempting to use a hammer to kill a fly. That is, he’s floating House Bill 723 to cap the number of injection wells at 23 per county, in an attempt to block a new injection well from getting built in Hubbard Township. Currently Trumbull County has 17 live and functioning wastewater injection wells. Five more are currently under construction. If the bill passes, it would prevent a newly-proposed well in Hubbard from getting built. Come here fly, see this hammer? Instead of debating the merits (or lack thereof) of the single well in Hubbard, how many wells are too many in Trumbull County, Holmes wants to limit injection wells everywhere in the state as his preferred solution. Right now Trumbull and Ashtabula counties are tied for the top spot with 17 active injection wells each. Nearby Portgage and Stark counties both have 16 injection wells. Meigs County, in southeast Ohio, has 14 active injection wells. Here’s the latest Democrat shenanigan aimed at stifling the Utica (and Marcellus) industry in Ohio…
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3 Counties, 5 Drillers Led OH’s 50% Increase in 2Q Gas Production

The Pareto Principle is alive and well in the Buckeye State. You may know it as the 80/20 rule, or in this case, the 75/25 rule. The rule that states roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Last week MDN brought you the latest update from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources–their second quarter 2018 report showing all production coming from the Ohio Utica Shale (see Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 2Q18). While MDN provided you with Top 25 lists showing the best-performing wells (both gas and oil) during 2Q, and while we provided you with a better spreadsheet to view the information than that provided by the ODNR itself, our analysis was basic and high level. Utica natgas production was up a big 42% over the same period last year, and Utica oil production was up 11%–a cumulative 50% increase when you convert it all into equivalents. The experts at S&P Global Platts have done a deep dive into the numbers and have found that three counties represent 75% of all production in 2Q18, and five drillers represent 75% of all production in 2Q18. Which counties and which drillers? Read on…
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Cabot O&G Fracks Its First OH Knox Well, Drilling 3rd OH Well

According to a news account from Ohio, Cabot Oil & Gas is either in the midst of, or just recently completed, fracking their very first shale well in central Ohio. The well is located in Ashland County’s Green Township. As we previously reported, Cabot is targeting the Knox formation (see Cabot O&G Opens Branch Office in OH – Hoping to Find Oil in Knox). Cabot has already drilled two wells, fracked one, and moved their drilling rig last week to Vermillion Township (also in Ashland County) to begin drilling a third well. The first three wells are all located in Ashland. As for the next two, Cabot isn’t 100% sure. Maybe another well in Ashland, but maybe a well in Richland County instead. Cabot’s George Stark says to stay tuned for the location of the final two test wells the company will drill. Cabot plans to have all five test wells drilled and fracked by the end of this year. “It should be a busy September and October,” according to Stark…
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BLM Panders to Radicals, Cancels OH Wayne Natl Forest Auctions

Wayne National Forest

One step forward and two steps back. That’s the modus operandi of the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the DC swamp dwellers who run it. After 10 long years, BLM finally began to auction a small amount of acreage in Wayne National Forest (WNF) in 2016 (see BLM Launches Auction to Lease Wayne National Forest for Fracking). WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Those mineral rights owners have been denied the use of their property rights for over a decade. BLM controls drilling on federally-protected lands like WNF. BLM eventually conducted four (we think it’s four) auctions with under 2,000 acres total. And yet BLM still refuses to let drilling commence (see BLM Blocks Eclipse from Completing Utica Well in Wayne Natl Forest). On August 7 BLM announced another auction, for a piddly 75 acres. A radical Big Green group (far far out of the mainstream) called the Center for Biological Diversity protested the auction, and on August 28 BLM canceled the auction “while an appeal is under consideration.” That’s all it takes. Throw some Big Green money at eager radical lawyers, and everything stops. That’s all the excuse BLM needs. Who the heck in the Trump Administration is in charge of BLM? And why is this happening during Trump’s watch??…
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Schlumberger Donates $14M in Software to Youngstown State Univ

Houston-based Schlumberger (pronounced Shlum-Bur-Zhay) is the world’s largest oilfield services company. They’re the company a majority of exploration and production companies (drillers) call when they want a new well drilled. The #2 company on speed dial for drilling new wells is Halliburton, and they’re not even close in size to #1 Schlumberger. Here in the U.S., the #3 company on speed dial for drilling is Baker Hughes, still (for now) owned by GE. We mention all that because most folks recognize the names Halliburton and Baker Hughes, yet are often not familiar with the hard-to-pronounce Schlumberger. Even so, Schlumberger has a big presence in the Marcellus/Utica region. In a gesture of “giving back,” the company has just made a VERY generous grant of $14 million of its own proprietary software used for modeling and assessing risk associated with drilling new wells, to Youngstown State University. Most major E&Ps use Schlumberger’s software, even if they don’t use Schlumberger itself to do the actual drilling. While at first glance the gift of software may seem self-serving, it’s not. This gift means that students will be trained on the latest and greatest software that they will need to know, coming right out of college. It helps the kids gain a valuable skill, making them more employable once they hit the workforce…
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Free Pipeline Worker Training Program Begins Sept. 24 in OH

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) continues to offer its popular 100% free training program (worth $3,500) for those interested in a career building pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region. Starting salaries often exceed $40,000 per year, and a six-figure income is attainable for employees with time and experience. Companies supporting the GTI program have told GTI they anticipate hiring 1,100+ workers over the next two years. There’s no excuse! If you want a high-paying job, get the 4-week training and get yourself to work. Because of ongoing construction programs within the utility and pipeline industry, and because of aging workforce retirements, the M-U pipeline industry has an acute need for reliable gas pipeline workers. The next round of free training, limited to 20 students per section, begins on Sept. 24 at Belmont College in St. Clairsville, OH…
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Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 2Q18

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Somebody must have lit a fire under the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR). The ODNR issued first quarter 2018 production numbers for shale oil and gas production a little over a month ago, in July (see Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 1Q18). Which does seem a bit late. Yesterday ODNR made up for it by issuing production numbers for 2Q18. Natural gas production was up an astounding 42% over the same period last year (after being up 43% in 1Q18). Utica natgas production broke record, hitting a new all-time high of 554.3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2Q18. Unlike 1Q18 when Utica oil production was down 3.6%, in 2Q18 Utica oil production was up, a big 11%! Ohio’s oil production has seesawed up and down over the past few years. Once again Ascent Resources, founded by the late Aubrey McClendon, dominated the top 25 highest-producing gas wells, with 18 of the top 25. Eclipse Resources grabbed a majority of the top 25 most-producing oil wells, with 12 of 25 wells on the list. The top 6 oil wells were all Eclipse wells, all located in Guernsey County. Below we have the ODNR’s high level overview of the numbers, along with MDN’s own exclusive analysis showing: the top 25 producing gas wells, the top 25 producing oil wells, and then the top 25 gas and oil wells as ranked by average production per day. There is a difference. We show you which wells are not just producing the most quantity overall, but which wells are producing at the fastest (most productive) rates–even if those wells haven’t yet been online a full three months. We also include a link to the complete list (Google spreadsheet) of 2,035 wells included in the 2Q18 ODNR report, in a more useful format than that provided by ODNR…
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Local Leaders Get Ready for Belmont County, OH Cracker Plant

It sure feels like PTT Global Chemical, the Thailand-based petrochemical giant that says it wants to build an ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH, is getting close to making a positive final investment decision (FID). On Monday we told you that an Ohio State Representative, Andy Thompson, said such a decision will be forthcoming in “a month or so” (see PTT Decision on Ohio Cracker Announced in Next “Month or So”). We have more evidence of an impending decision. Recently two dozen local county officials, from both sides of the Ohio River, went on a field trip to Beaver County where Shell is building their $6 billion ethane cracker. The officials wanted to see, first-hand, how the project is impacting the local area. They got eyes- and earsful. They came back jazzed. Here’s our point: A horde of local officials doesn’t traipse around the countryside wasting time unless they are convinced the project is going to happen. From the language this group of officials is using, and their overall demeanor, we’d say the PTT Belmont cracker is a happening project…
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FERC Finally Approves 2 Key Rover Pipeline Laterals, Sept 1 Start

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) game of hardball with Energy Transfer over the Rover Pipeline has finally paid off. For months FERC has refused to allow four Rover laterals–feeder pipelines to shuttle gas from where it’s produced into the main Rover pipeline–to start up (see FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals). The reason? ET has not, according to FERC, lived up to its word on restoration work. Things like smoothing over the dirt and replanting grass and other vegetation over top of the buried pipeline. Earlier this month ET assured FERC it would have the majority of restoration work done on two key laterals–the Burgettstown Lateral in southwestern PA, and the Majorsville Lateral in the northern panhandle of WV–by the end of this month (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). With recent evidence that ET is indeed living up to its word, last Thursday FERC gave ET permission to start up both the Burgettstown and Majorsville Laterals on Sept. 1. The majority of the restoration work will be done by this Friday, Aug. 31. However, there will still be some odds and ends after that (addressing “ground movement areas) that will go on through December. That leaves two final laterals–the CGT (Columbia Gas Transmission) and Sherwood Laterals, still not online. This is a prime example of FERC playing hardball, contrary to the “rubber stamp” antis claim FERC is for pipeline companies…
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PTT Decision on Ohio Cracker Announced in Next “Month or So”

Sometimes you spot an innocent, off-the-cuff remark that’s not really part of the intended story–but has huge meaning. Such was the case when we spotted a story quoting Ohio House of Representatives member Andy Thompson (Republican, 95th District covering Carroll, Harrison and Noble counties, and portions of Washington and Belmont counties). Thompson, who (to his credit) is not running for reelection after four terms, gave a speech at the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association last week in St. Clairsville. In his remarks, Thompson talked about the work of Shale Crescent USA, an economic development organization formed a few years ago to encourage business growth in the Ohio Valley based on low natural gas prices that allow manufacturers to operate more efficiently–with easy access to half the population of the United States and Canada. Although Thompson’s focus was not on the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker project potentially planned for Belmont County, he had some VERY interesting remarks about that project and others like it…
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