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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“Strong” Well Results in Northern Utica During 1Q18

As MDN reports in today’s lead story, Ohio has just achieved a new milestone by producing more natural gas than the state has ever produced during the first three months of this year (see Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 1Q18). The best performing individual wells are located in the southern part of the Utica play–in Belmont, Jefferson, Monroe, and Guernsey counties. However, don’t overlook the wells and overall performance of counties in the northern part of the play–places like Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Particularly Columbiana County. The Youngstown Business Journal does a deep dive into the numbers for the northern tier counties and finds that wells drilled by Hilcorp in Columbiana produced “strong results” in 1Q18. Here’s a closer look at the northern Utica counties and the drillers who work there…
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OH Landowners with Early Utica Leases Still Get Good Royalties

Some 10 years ago in the “early days” of the Ohio Utica Shale, landowners signed leases not knowing about the Utica and the bonanza it would soon bring. A group of 24 landowners in Columbiana County signed a lease in 2008 with Anshutz–for a few bucks an acre and 12.5% royalties. Seemed like a good deal then. But five years later leases were going for $5,000-$6,000/acre in signing bonuses and 20% royalties. It didn’t seem like such a good deal then. Chesapeake Energy later bought the Anshutz leases. We all know about the shenanigans Chesapeake plays with royalty payments. But these wells produce mainly oil instead of gas. In the early days, a 12.5% royalty, even on properties where post-production deductions “generously” taken, yielded a lot of money. Then the price of oil bottomed out and royalty checks shriveled up. With the price of oil back up, royalty checks, while not as much as they were 4-5 years ago, are still much higher than they were a few years ago. All of which is to say: When the price of oil (or gas) goes up, it covers a multitude of post-production deduction sins. But when the price is down, landowners get the shaft. At least, some landowners. Here’s the story of some of those Ohio landowners who signed early. As we read the story, our impression was this: Yes there’s been some bad (even lawsuits), but there’s been a lot of good too. And in the end, these landowners (like others we’ve spoken to in person at various events), would say if they had to do it all over again, they would. That is, shale drilling is worth it, even with the bad, and the ugly…
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FERC Authorizes Tetco TEAL Phase II – Connecting to NEXUS Pipe

Here’s a project we’ve mentioned in passing as part of other posts, but until now, have not specifically focused on. In August 2017, Enbridge received approval (a certificate) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct and operate the Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease Project (“TEAL Project”). TEAL boosts the capacity along the Texas Eastern Transmission Company (Tetco) pipeline and connects it to the NEXUS pipeline. NEXUS has been under construction since last October (see NEXUS Pipeline Begins Construction in OH, MI). TEAL will bump up volumes of Utica/Marcellus gas along Tetco by an extra 950 million cubic feet per day–nearly 1 billion cubic feet! The markets for the gas are the Midwest and Canada. The justification for the project, when it was filed two years ago, was “offsetting the impact of the decline in traditional western Canadian supplies available to serve these markets.” That was before TransCanada lowered the tolls along its pipeline to bring more western Canadian gas to eastern Canada. Oops. What’s done is done. On December 19, 2017, Texas Eastern received approval to proceed with construction of the Phase I TEAL Project facilities. Last week Texas Eastern requested permission to begin Phase II in Columbiana and Belmont counties (in Ohio), and yesterday FERC said yes…
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NEXUS Pipeline Tax Bonanza: $33M in Tax Rev for Single OH County

Columbiana County, OH

How often have you read that pipelines are “private companies” and solely created for “corporate greed”–not benefiting landowners all that much, and certainly not benefiting the communities through which they pass. All take, no give. We read those kinds of nonsense statements in so-called mainstream media all the time. False allegations. Fake news. Here’s some real news: One pipeline–the planned NEXUS Pipeline, a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada–will generate ~$33 million in tax revenue over five years for a single county along its route–Columbiana County, OH. That’s tax money going to a local school district, multiple townships and other local government entities. How’s that for “this pipeline doesn’t benefit anyone but the company that owns it”? This story rips the facade off anti arguments that pipelines don’t benefit anyone but corporate greedsters…
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New Marcellus/Utica Driller Snaps Up Assets in OH, PA

It’s not often these days we get to announce a new driller in the Marcellus/Utica. Today is one of those days. Actually, this company has been around since early 2015, but we’re only now becoming aware of them. Pin Oak Energy Partners, headquartered in Akron, OH, is an exploration and production company engaged in both conventional and unconventional oil and natural gas wells and the operation of associated assets (like pipelines). Pin Oak currently operates 363 wells producing nearly 5.7 MMcfe/d (32% liquids) across more than 32,000 acres in the Marcellus/Utica region. The company is also involved in midstream, field services and operations through its affiliate companies. Pin Oak is on an aggressive acquisition binge of shale AND midstream assets, as well as leasing new acreage. Who is Pin Oak? According to CEO Chris Halvorson, Pin Oak is comprised of folks who were formerly with AB Resources. You may recall that AB Resources built a position in the southwestern “core” of the Marcellus and sold out to Chevron several years ago. Pin Oak is “what’s next” for for the former AB folks. Their target: the Appalachian basin. In July, Pin Oak bought 9,300 acres of leases and 8 Utica wells from EQT in Guernsey, Muskingum, and Columbiana counties (Ohio). Earlier this week Pin Oak announced they’ve purchased another 7,700 acres of leases and 10 Utica wells from an undisclosed seller in Trumbull, Tuscarawas and Mahoning counties (in Ohio) and Mercer, Crawford and Venango counties (in Pennsylvania). Below are two recent announcements. Pin Oak can be summed up in one word: aggressive. Keep a close eye on this company in the coming months and years…
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Hilcorp Files for Permits to Drill 3 Wells in Columbiana County, OH

Hilcorp has woken up and come alive in the Ohio Utica Shale–for the first time this year. The company recently filed for permits to drill three new Utica wells in Columbiana County. Which is interesting. Hilcorp zigs when everyone zags. Most drilling in the Ohio Utica currently happens in southeastern Ohio–in counties like Belmont, Monroe and Guernsey. When the play first became active for shale drilling, much of the early action happened in Carroll County, and Columbiana. But lately (over the past 2-3 years) most drilling moved south. But Hilcorp, with acreage in the northern Utica in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, continues to make money staying north. In fact, Hilcorp has been called the “dominant active prospector” in the northern tier area of the Utica Shale–an area including Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in OH and Lawrence and Mercer counties in PA. Hilcorp is strong and steady. They make money when they drill. So we take this as a good sign that drilling is heating up in the northern Utica…Continue reading

Gas Leases Expiring “Daily” in Columbiana County, OH

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An attorney who actively represents leaseholders in Columbiana County, OH says “lease expirations are happening daily” in the county. Leases that were signed five years ago (or longer) are coming due in Columbiana, one of the first counties to be targeted in the Utica Shale. Some of those leases are getting renewed–typically leases with Chesapeake Energy. Others, especially in the northern part of the county, are not getting renewed. Here is a rundown on what is happening with lease renewals in Columbiana…
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Chesapeake Energy Sells 37K Acres & 32 Wells in OH Utica

Chesapeake EnergyA small Worthington (Franklin County), OH driller, Geopetro, has just purchased 37,000 acres, 27 working shale wells and 5 not-yet-hooked-up wells from Chesapeake Energy for an undisclosed amount of money. The wells are located in Columbiana County, OH and Beaver County, PA. All but one of the wells are Utica wells. One of the wells is drilled to the Upper Devonian layer (above the Marcellus). The purchase is a big deal for the small Geopetro. It converts what until now has been mostly a conventional (shallow, vertical only) drilling company into primarily an unconventional/shale company. Welcome to the shale industry!…
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Columbiana County, OH Pep Talk: Drilling Will Ramp Back Up

pep-talkThe Ohio Oil & Gas Association’s (OOGA) director of public relations recently attended and spoke at a meeting of the Columbiana County Port Auhority. His words for Columbiana County? Drilling will (eventually) return to the county in bigger numbers. He said drilling has never really stopped in the county–it’s just slowed down, a lot. But that trend will reverse sooner or later. The county is blessed with wet gas, but wet gas (natural gas liquids, or NGLs) has currently fallen out of favor. That too shall pass. Here’s a bit of the pep talk OOGA gave at the meeting, with a good description of Utica drilling in Columbiana County and the many benefits of drilling in the county…
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Hilcorp Bringing its Magic to Columbiana County, OH – 11 Permits

hilcorp logoIn December MDN wrote that Hilcorp Energy is making some magic happen in Lawrence County, PA–in the northern Utica Shale region (see Hilcorp is to Northern Utica as Cabot is to Eastern Marcellus). At the time we noted, “Lawrence County, PA produces almost as much natural gas as the far-more-drilled Columbiana County (OH). And it’s nearly all Hilcorp gas in Lawrence County.” Good news for Columbiana County: Hilcorp recently filed for permits to drill 11 new wells in your county. Looks like Hilcorp wants to bring some of its Utica drilling magic across the border from PA to OH…
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Columbiana, OH School OK with Land Annex to Help a Fracker

it-dont-matter-to-meIn May MDN brought you the story that Columbiana, OH was contemplating aiding and abetting a fracking company in its quest to expand (see Columbiana, OH Annexes Extra Land to Help a Fracker). Buckeye Transfer–a company that stores water, sand, chemicals and other materials used in (gasp) fracking of Utica Shale wells–would like to expand its operations on the outskirts of Columbiana. Buckeye has its own water and sewer but can’t expand them due to the age of the infrastructure–so they want to tie into municipal water and sewer. In order to do that, the ~94-acre site would need to be annexed and become part of the city. Columbiana said they were willing to do it. Now, the Columbiana City School District has signed on to the plan as well. Can you image that? With all of the bleating and blatting by radical parents in places like Mars, PA and Athens, OH, here’s a school district willing to help out a fracker?…
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OH Transload Facility Sits in Catbird Seat Between the Crackers

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Wellsville Intermodal Facility – click for larger version

November 2012 was the first time we wrote about the transloading facility in Wellsville (Columbiana County) Ohio (see Drilling Mud Manufacturer Opens Plant in Wellsville, OH). A transloading facility is a place where things like pipes and grain and oil and gas and whatever comes in on one form of transportation, say a train or a barge–and gets unloaded and then is sent out via a different form of transportation, typically a truck. The Wellsville Intermodal Facility is one such transloading facility smack in the middle of Utica Shale country. The second time we wrote about the facility was January 2013 (see Columbiana Port Authority Close to Final Deal with Marathon). The third time we wrote about it was October 2013 (see Progress for Arrowhead NGL Transload Facility in Wellsville, OH). Today is the fourth time. Pier 48 Stevedoring operates a crane at the facility to load and unload barges. Pier 48 has been operating a 60-ton bridge crane used to move cargo containers (think truck trailers). However, Pier 48 just cut the ribbon on a brand new bucket crane, which can grab loose materials–even liquids–and hold it without leaking, to move whatever it is from a hold in a barge into a tank on land (or the reverse). The comment made during the ceremony that caught our eye is that this new crane has come at “an incredibly opportune time” because of the Shell ethane cracker plant being built 25 miles away, and a second potential cracker that may get built not far down the river in Belmont County. This new crane, and the transloading facility, sit in the catbird seat. With the coming cracker plants, manufacturers will locate in the region and need bulk shipping services for the materials they handle and the products they make…
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$1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant in Columbiana Gets State Approval

approvedNatural gas-fired electric plants are a really big deal throughout the Marcellus/Utica region. Each time one of these plants gets built, it injects upward of $1 billion (or more) into the local and regional economy, creates 500 or more temporary jobs and 25-30 permanent jobs. And the gas it uses…oy vey! They are an important new customer for the abundant supplies of natural gas we have. So it’s a big deal when a new plant gets announced, and then, when that plant gets officially approved. Last October (nearly a year ago now) Advanced Power Services announced they want to build a second mega-electric generating plant that taps into and uses Ohio’s Utica Shale. The new plant will generate a whopping 1,100 megawatts of electricity and be located in Columbiana County, OH (see New $1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant Coming to Columbiana County). Good news: the Ohio Power Siting Board has given the project its blessing. Construction will begin in January 2017…
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Columbiana, OH Annexes Extra Land to Help a Fracker

ColumbianaMainstream media and the crazies who blat about ending the use of fossil fuels (stupid gits) have so demonized shale drilling the average citizen might assume shale drilling and all of those businesses that support it are from Satan himself. We spotted a story about an Ohio city (Columbiana) that has taken the unusual action of annexing an extra 94 acres of land next to an existing company located in the city so it can legally extend services like water, sewer and electric lines so the business can expand. That’s not unheard of. What is unheard of is that the business in question is Buckeye Transfer–a company that stores water, sand, chemicals and other materials used in (gasp) fracking of Utica Shale wells. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Columbiana is aiding and abetting a fracking company. It’s such an unusual story, we just had to highlight it…
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Antis Not Happy with Results of OH Fracking Study They Funded

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati have been studying fracking and its potential affects on water wells in five Ohio counties for the past three years. The lead researcher, Dr. Amy Townsend-Small, shared the results at a recent meeting of the anti-drilling Carroll Concerned Citizens. She said, “The good news is that our study did not document that fracking was directly linked to water contamination.” Oh oh. That’s NOT good news for antis–and frankly, they didn’t like her telling them the truth of what her study found. Townsend-Small also said this, “I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results.” You can be sure that any future funding for studies Townsend-Small wants to make, at least from radical environmentalists, will be nonexistent. She had the temerity to tell the truth–to the people who hired her to not tell the truth. That takes courage…
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