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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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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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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Barging Shale Wastewater on Ohio River Back on the Radar

In a piece of stellar investigative journalism and reporting, MDN friend Bob Downing (at Kallanish Energy) has broken a story that barging Marcellus and Utica Shale wastewater (brine) on the Ohio River is once again under active consideration. Downing discovered applications recently filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build three barge terminals in Ohio, all of them located near injection wells to handle barged shale wastewater.
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PTT Postpones Ohio Cracker Final Investment Decision Indefinitely

Last Friday PTT Global Chemical, the huge Thailand-based petrochemical company looking to build a world-class ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH, issued an update for the project. In February PTT’s CEO signaled that a final investment decision (FID) on whether (or not) to build the project would happen by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). That is no longer the case, according to the latest company update.
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Hearing Delayed for 2 New Injection Wells in Belmont County, OH

Last year MDN told you about New Jersey-based Omni Energy Group and their application to build two new injection wells in Belmont County, OH near St. Clairsville (see Belmont County Injection Well Plan Stirs Opposition from Coal Co.). The proposal set off a firestorm of opposition, including opposition from Robert Murray and the Murray Energy Corporation–a coal miner who doesn’t like fair competition from natural gas. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) was going to hold a virtual public meeting last Friday on Omni’s proposal–virtual because of the coronavirus. But at the last minute enemies of the injection well project, including Murray, convinced a Belmont County judge to put a temporary restraining order on the virtual meeting.
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PTT Cracker Project Reaches Tax Agreement with Belmont County, OH

Even amid the coronavirus pandemonium and economic destruction happening everywhere, important oil and gas (and petrochemical) projects continue to make progress. In particular, the PTT Global Chemical plan to build an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH still shows signs of life. In February PTT’s CEO signaled that a final investment decision on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). While work to prep the site and get it ready is now paused, work behind the scenes continues. Last week Belmont County commissioners, Mead Township trustees and the Shadyside Board of Education approved a new deal on tax payments should the project get built. This is a major milestone.
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Will Shell Cracker Construction Delay Affect Ohio Cracker Timing?

Nearly two weeks ago Shell, at the prompting of local officials, shut down construction of the mighty ethane cracker plant the company is building in Beaver County, PA (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-19). How long will construction be stopped? According to a Shell spokesman, “I have no timeline for a return at this time.” What if the work stoppage drags on for months? It could, potentially, have a domino effect on another nearby cracker project–across the river in Belmont County, Ohio.
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EQT Stops Fracking After Worker Gets COVID-19; Suspends Dividends

The Pittsburgh Business Times is reporting that a contractor working in EQT’s hydraulic fracturing (“completions”) operation who last worked at a site in Belmont County, OH has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. Because that worker has been in contact with a number of other workers in EQT’s completions unit, the company has temporarily shut down all completions (fracking) operations. In a separate and unrelated announcement, EQT told investors they are (for now) suspending quarterly dividend payments and will use the money instead to pay down near-term debt.
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Company Asks to Build 2 New Injection Wells in Belmont County, OH

Kirkwood Twp, Belmont County, OH

Tri-State Environmental has filed for permits to build two new brine (i.e. shale wastewater) injection wells in Kirkwood Township, Belmont County, Ohio. Meanwhile, another new injection well planned for Belmont (Omni Energy), which we told you about last summer (see Belmont County Injection Well Plan Stirs Opposition from Coal Co.), continues to make progress.
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PTT Says Work at Future Cracker Site to Temporarily Slow/Stop

Last week MDN told you that PTT Global Chemical’s CEO signalled that a final investment decision (FID) on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). Here we are a few days later and the company has issued a statement to say activity at the site to push dirt around will soon slow down, perhaps even stop. But don’t worry, that’s NOT a sign (says the company) that they’ve lost interest in the project.
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PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker

It was April 2015 when PTT Global Chemical, a huge petrochemical company based in Thailand, first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time PTT has purchased land for the plant and has even been seen moving dirt around at the site (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). We’ve been somewhat critical of PTT over the years, chiding them because they’ve teased a “final investment decision” (FID) is just around the corner. The alluded to dates came and went–and still no FID. (Why do you build me up, buttercup, baby just to let me down, and mess me around?) Here we go again. PTT’s CEO has just announced the company is “on track” to make an FID on the Ohio cracker project “by mid-2020.”
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PTT Voices Concerns re Plastics; Still No Decision to Build OH Cracker

It amazes us that we now have to defend perhaps the greatest advancement to the longevity of not only humankind but all species on planet earth. That advancement is PLASTICS. Yes, plastics. The invention of plastic and its uses on Mom Earth has made our lives better. Plastics, contrary to the current popular mythology, have extended human and animal life. And yet, even the companies that build giant cracker plants to create raw plastic pellets (for further use in thousands of plastic products) must now bow down before environmental crackpots to declare their concern (even dislike) of the very thing they produce: plastic. It’s bizarre.
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Ohio Invests Another $20M in PTT Cracker Site, $70M Total So Far

We’re now a couple of months shy of the fifth anniversary for when PTT first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land for the plant, and last fall was seen moving dirt around at the property (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). Even without a final investment decision (FID) to build, the State of Ohio continues to invest money in the project–another $20 million last week.
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Big Green Tries to Whip Up Opposition to PTT Ohio Cracker

Big Green is doing its best to stir up opposition to PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio. Big Green is also trying to hide its involvement and pass itself off as organic, local community opposition. Not true. Last week the same so-called community organizer addressed an anti meeting at a local church and organized a “protest” a few days later.
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