Top 3 Most-Drilled Counties in Ohio Utica for 2017

If you look at the number of Utica wells drilled in 2017, Belmont, Monroe and Jefferson counties were the top 3 counties in the state for new Utica wells drilled. However, if you dig a little further, you’ll find that two of those three counties saw more wells drilled in 2017 than in 2016, while one of them saw a 45% drop in new wells drilled in 2017–indicating that county has “fallen out of favor,” at least to some extent. Which is which? For that, you have click to continue reading…
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Rover Pipeline’s SWPA Burgettstown Lateral Ready for Startup

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On Tuesday, Rover Pipeline (Energy Transfer Partners) sent an official request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for permission to begin service on one of the remaining legs of the pipeline not yet up and running as part of Phase 1 development. Rover wants to begin service on the Burgettstown Lateral by Feb. 26. The Burgettstown Lateral (see the map below) extends from Burgettstown (Washington County), PA through Hancock County, WV and into eastern Ohio, connecting to the main Rover Pipeline in Carroll County. The Burgettstown Lateral is 51.3 miles long and includes a compressor station in/near Burgettstown to push the gas along the entire length of the lateral. Rover still maintains they will have the entire Rover Pipeline network up and running by the end of March. There are still some areas in Ohio where they are working (drilling for a second pipeline under the Tuscarawas River), however, most of the work remaining to be done is in Michigan–Phase 2 of the project. When it’s all done, up and running, Rover will flow 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas to the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada. Below is Rover’s request to “start me up” for the Burgettstown Lateral, along with a map of the lateral…
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Utica Leasing Takes Off in Jefferson County, OH – Bonus $6K/Acre

In early June, MDN brought you the news that officials with Ascent Resources (formerly American Energy Partners) and Chesapeake Energy said their respective companies are putting a renewed focus on Jefferson County, OH in the coming months (see Uptick in Utica Drilling Predicted for Jefferson County, OH). We have some evidence that their words are becoming actions. MDN pulled the list of requests to drill new horizontal wells in Jefferson for Jan 1 – Jun 29 from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources’ website. Indeed, we found 19 such permit requests, most of them from Ascent and a few from Chesapeake (see the chart below). However, before the drillbit hits the dirt, you must first lease land. An MDN reader and landowner who lives in Jefferson County sent us an update on leasing activity in the county–very exciting leasing activity. Not only is Ascent active, so too is Gulfport Energy…
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Uptick in Utica Drilling Predicted for Jefferson County, OH

Jefferson County, OH is not the first (or even second or third) county you think of when you think “Utica drilling.” But that may soon change. Jefferson shares borders with other counties that are heavily drilled–Carroll, Harrison and Belmont. There has been some drilling in Jefferson in the past, but with the slowdown over the past few years, not much has happened. But according to Ascent Resources and Chesapeake Energy, their respective companies are putting a renewed focus on the county in the coming months. Which is good news indeed. Couple that with a possible ethane cracker plant coming to Belmont County, and (according to the Chamber of Commerce), Jefferson is heading for “a brighter future” thanks to the Utica industry…Continue reading

6 Towns, 3 Schools in Jefferson Co., OH Split $5M/Yr in Pipe Tax

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With all of the negative talk about pipelines and opposition to pipelines and pipelines will kill ya and pipelines are from the devil, you may have overlooked the fact that some areas bow down and kiss the ground and thank their lucky stars to have a pipeline. One of those places is Jefferson County, OH. Six townships and three school districts in Jefferson County will be part of taxing districts to share in $5 million a year in public utility taxes paid by the Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline (TETCo), a major interstate pipeline system. This is newfound money that school districts and towns are starved for in this era of budget cuts. And the money doesn’t come out of taxpayers’ pockets. It comes from private industry–from a pipeline flowing clean-burning natural gas. In a situation not unlike Warren Beatty giving Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope, TETCo gave the wrong information to the Ohio Department of Taxation about which taxing districts the pipeline passes through. So some schools and towns that were initially elated and now deflated, and others have hit the lottery. Frankly, it’s too bad the pipeline doesn’t go through all of them!…Continue reading

AEP Gets Approval to Convert OH Coal Electric Plant to NatGas

The Cardinal Generating Station near Brilliant, Ohio

The Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved a plan by American Electric Power (AEP) to convert an existing coal-burning electric generating plant in Brilliant (Jefferson County), OH into burning Utica Shale gas. The Cardinal Plant in Brilliant hosts three such coal-fired plants–but AEP only owns one of them. The other two plants, owned by Buckeye Power, will (for now) remain coal-fired. As part of the deal with PUCO, AEP also agreed to either retire or convert two more coal-fired plants in Conesville (Muskingum County), OH to burn natural gas. Strangely, the nubjobs at the Sierra Club are happy with the plan–because it kills off coal. Apparently the Sierra Club is conflicted internally as some of their leaders bash natgas any chance they get…
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Shift in Utica Drilling – from Wet Gas to Dry Gas

shiftOne of NGI’s (Natural Gas Intelligence) ace reporters, Jamison Cocklin, wrote a top notch news/analysis article last Friday in NGI’s Shale Daily publication about the “crucial priority” of new gathering pipelines and pipeline infrastructure in general that’s needed in the Utica Shale. Jamison made the observation that while not every operator in Ohio’s Utica Shale has shifted from focusing on wet gas extraction (concentrating on wells that extract not only methane but also natural gas liquids) to dry gas (or methane only), some of the biggies have. A change in focus doesn’t mean a change in geography. The change in focus from wet to dry is happening in core wet gas counties, including Monroe, Belmont and Jefferson…
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New Marcellus/Utica Driller Quietly Launches w/$800M Investment

APP logoDetails are just now coming to light of a new E&P (exploration and production, or drilling) company headquartered in Pittsburgh and focused totally on the Marcellus and Utica region. Until now the company has flown under our radar. The company is American Petroleum Partners (APP)–not to be confused with Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners (AEP)–and is headed by Rice Energy alumnus Varun Mishra, who is the founder and CEO. The big news is that last September Mishra’s new company, founded in 2014, received a major injection of investment capital. Apollo Global Management invested $411 million in APP with the option to double it up to $800 million. MDN has it on very good authority that although APP quietly issued a press release about this last September (see it below), the company has intentionally kept the news quiet. Not any more! Big mouth MDN is blabbing it to the world. Below are the bits and pieces we’ve been able to put together about this newest Utica/Marcellus driller…
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Federal Judge Rules for EQT in Ohio Lease Dispute – Ramifications

An important decision was recently made in a lease case in Ohio–a case which has implications for both drillers and landowners with Marcellus/Utica leases. Driller EQT signed a lease with Jefferson County, OH landowner Alex Cooper on Oct. 6, 2008. The initial term of the lease was for five years, with a five year extension IF EQT makes an extension payment. The lease also stipulates that EQT MUST drill a well on or before Oct 6, 2013–the end of the first term of the lease. EQT opted to extend the lease, making (or rather attempting to make) a payment to Cooper–but EQT did not drill a well by Oct 6, 2013. Cooper claimed since EQT hadn’t drilled, the lease expired on Oct 6, 2013 and he is free to lease again. The case ended up in Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley decided in favor of EQT, even though the language in the lease stipulates a well MUST be drilled during the first term of the lease. How and why did Judge Marbley decide the case as he did? Below is a recap of the case, followed by a copy of the full decision from Judge Marbley…
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Gulfport Energy Closes on 24K Acres in OH; Bumps Up Credit Line

done dealA couple of bits of news from Gulfport Energy, a driller focused primarily on the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio. In April, MDN reported that Gulfport had inked a deal with Paloma Partners III, a small energy & exploration company headquartered in Houston, to purchase 24,000 acres in Belmont and Jefferson counties (Ohio) for $12,500 per acre (see Gulfport Energy Pays $12,500 per Acre for 24K OH Utica Acres). As of last week that deal closed at a final purchase price of $301.9 million. Gulfport also reports they’re about to get an increase in their line of credit, adding an extra $125 million to what they can borrow…
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MarkWest to Build $1B OH Utica Dry Gas Gathering System for Ascent

Although it seems there is no end of bad news in drilling company financials right now, here’s a spot of good news: MarkWest Energy, the premier midstream/pipeline company in the Marcellus/Utica (selling itself to Marathon Petroleum), has just announced they are investing $1 billion over the next three years to install a new gathering pipeline system in eastern Ohio–particularly in Belmont and Jefferson counties–mostly for Ascent Resources. Ascent, backed by major investor EMG, was once Aubrey McClendon’s subsidiary company called American Energy Appalachia Holdings that has since broken free of McClendon and American Energy Partners and is now its own 100% standalone company. The MarkWest/Ascent deal is to build a 250-mile pipeline system in the Utica dry gas region that will gather more than 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas not only from Ascent, but also from other producers in the area. Here’s the details from MarkWest…
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Sunoco Settles Case with OH Landowners to Allow Mariner East 2

Sunoco Logistics Partners still has an uphill battle to get certain communities to approve pump and valve stations for the Mariner East 1 and 2 pipelines, but is making progress (see Sunoco Reconciles Differences with Municipalities re Mariner East). Sunoco can cross off one problem area in Harrison and Jefferson counties (in Ohio) with respect to the Mariner East 2 set of pipelines. A group of landowners in those two counties have just settled with Sunoco out of court for 50-foot-wide permanent easements the company will place on their property to build the second set of Mariner pipelines. What happened is that the landowners (wisely) held out and got more money out of Sunoco. Everyone is now happy–the landowners get a better (more reasonable) price for permanent easements, and Sunoco is that much closer to beginning construction on the next Mariner project…
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Spectra’s OPEN Ohio Pipeline on Track to be Done by End of 2015

Spectra Energy announced a new natural gas pipeline in Ohio called the Ohio Pipeline Energy Network, or OPEN, way back in December 2011. OPEN is an interesting project because it will build 76 miles of new pipeline running through Belmont, Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson and Monroe counties that will connect to the Texas Eastern Pipeline, and then reverses the flow on the Texas Eastern to carry Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from eastern Ohio to the Gulf Coast. The Texas Eastern will become a bi-directional pipeline, sometimes bringing gas north from the Gulf, other times sending it to the south to the Gulf. Spectra filed their official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in February 2014 (see Spectra Energy Files Formal Request with FERC for OPEN Pipeline). FERC granted its blessing in December 2014 (see FERC Approves OPEN Pipeline in Eastern OH, Gas Goes to Gulf Coast). Since that time, a few Ohio Landowners filed a lawsuit asking an Ohio court to stop the OPEN pipeline from claiming eminent domain (see OH Landowners ask Court to Stop OPEN Pipeline Eminent Domain). Apparently nothing has come from that lawsuit because OPEN is getting built, right on schedule with plans to be completed by the end of this year…
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Big McClendon News: Sells 35K Utica Acres, Creates New Company

Big-news.jpgWe have major news coming from Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners (AEP). A lot of news. So buckle in. First we’ll tell you the news, then we’ll give you our take on that news–what it means. In brief, the news coming from AEP HQ in Oklahoma City is this: (1) AEP’s Marcellus/Utica AEP subsidiary, American Energy Appalachia Holdings, has been spun out into a 100% standalone company and has changed its name to Ascent Resources; (2) the CEO of Ascent is the same guy who was the CEO of American Energy Appalachia Holdings–trusted McClendon lieutenant Jeffrey A. Fisher; (3) Ascent has cut a deal with Gulfport Energy to sell 35,000 prime Utica Shale acres for $407 million; and (4) Ascent has just sold shares in the company and taken out new loans for $977 million, giving them $700 million in cash after they pay off certain other loans. Whew! Here’s the details, along with a little news of our own about AEP…
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Details on Gulfport’s Purchase of 35K AEP Utica Acres + New Stock

As we report in our lead story today, Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners has decided to spin out it’s Marcellus/Utica operation into a brand new, 100% independent company. That new company, formerly called American Energy Appalachia Holdings, is now called Ascent Resources. Ascent has turned around and immediately sold 35,325 net acres in prime Utica Shale country–Monroe, Belmont and Jefferson counties in Ohio–to one of AEP’s chief competitors in the Utica, Gulfport Energy. In addition, Gulfport has just announced they are floating another 10 million shares of stock. If the new shares sell for anything close to today’s current share price, that will net the company another $440+ million. Below we have the details (from Gulfport) on the deal with AEP to purchase prime Utica acreage complete with four drilled wells and a pipeline gathering system, along with Gulfport’s announcement about the new stock offering…
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Gulfport Energy Pays $12,500 per Acre for 24K OH Utica Acres

Gulfport Energy announced yesterday they’ve picked up 24,000 dry gas acres in the “core” of the Utica play–in Belmont and Jefferson counties in Ohio. The lease seller is Paloma Partners III, a small energy & exploration company headquartered in Houston and backed by Encap Investments and Macquarie Americas. According to the Paloma website, they own(ed) 24,000 in the Utica and had planned on drilling “in late 2015.” We’re assuming they added a few thousand acres to that total since the web page was last updated and that they will now not drill at all–since they’ve just sold all of their Utica acreage to Gulfport. The purchase price was $300 million. Doing the math, Gulfport paid Paloma $12,500 per acre–which is perhaps the highest such deal price per acre we’ve seen to date. Here’s the full update from Gulfport on the Paloma acreage purchase, along with production numbers from 1Q15 which show a 161% increase from 1Q14…
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