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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Drilling Mud Co. Opens in Monroe County, OH, 40 New Jobs

American Mud Works held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to officially open up a new regional headquarters in Monroe County, OH. The company specializes in mixing drilling mud–the stuff used to cool drill bits as they chew away at solid rock some 1-2 miles below the surface. They also recycle used drilling mud and wastewater/brine. The company’s main headquarters is in Texas. They’re locating a branch operation in Monroe to service the Utica and Marcellus industries in our region. In the short-term, the new office, due to be fully operational in about four weeks, will staff up by hiring 30-40 people. However, American Mud has bigger goals in view. They aim to add more service lines and expand their operations down the road. The number of employees will likely go much higher as they expand. Let’s welcome American Mud and another 40 jobs to Appalachia!…
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Former Ormet Site in OH Handles 3 Frac Sand Unit Trains at a Time

Long Ridge Energy Terminal

Back in 2014 MDN told you that the former Ormet aluminum plant in Hannibal (Monroe County), OH had been purchased out of bankruptcy by Niagara Worldwide and turned into the Center Port Transload Facility, with an emphasis on providing services for the Marcellus/Utica industry (see Center Port Transload Facility Already Up & Running in OH). In April 2017, we brought you news about plans to build a 485-megawatt Utica gas-fired electric plant at the Center Port location (see More on Gas-Fired Elec Plant Coming to Center Port Terminal). And in January we told you that most of the facility (not all) had changed hands again, selling to Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure for $30 million, changing the name to Long Ridge Energy Terminal (see Former Ormet Site in SE OH Changes Hands, Gas-Fired Plant Coming). We spotted a new announcement from Long Ridge (née Center Port) that says the facility has just completed a rail construction project that allows the terminal to accept and load/unload three different “unit trains” of frac sand–at the same time. A unit train is a train hauling all the same commodity, in this case frac sand. Typical unit trains are 70-100 cars long. With new loop tracks now in place, Long Ridge can handle way more frac sand than it previously could. And it’s a good thing, because demand for frac sand in the Utica/Marcellus is through the roof. Long Ridge is also a barge terminal, sitting on the Ohio River. In fact, Long Ridge is the only terminal in the M-U region with both unit train and barge transloading capabilities…
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Part of Leach XPress Pipe Up and Running Following Explosion

Leach XPress explosion location – click for larger version

Last Thursday MDN reported that TransCanada was working to restore partial service to the Leach XPress Pipeline (see TransCanada Working to Restore Partial Service on Leach XPress Pipe). Leach XPress only came online in January. The pipeline experienced an explosion and fire on June 7 (see Leach XPress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). Most of the 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas flowing through the pipeline was stopped. As of Friday, the Stagecoach-LXP meter, which ties into the Strike Force South gathering system station, was once again flowing, up to 190 million cubic feet per day. Which means Monroe and Belmont counties (OH) are now reconnected and flowing. As for the rest of the pipeline and its various metering stations, it’s all still shut down with no word on when it will be repaired and back online. There’s still no word on what caused the explosion in the first place…
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TransCanada Working to Restore Partial Service on Leach XPress Pipe

We told you last week that Columbia Gas Transmission’s Leach XPress Pipeline, which only came online in January, experienced an explosion and fire in Marshall County, WV (see Leach XPress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). Most of the 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas flowing through the pipeline is now stopped, which has caused shippers (drillers) to find alternatives, including Energy Transfer’s Rover, Tallgrass’ Rockies Express (REX), EQT’s Equitrans, and Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipelines to flow gas out of the region (see Other Pipelines Pick Up Slack for Exploded Leach XPress). Although a fix for the exploded portion of Leach XPress is likely months away, TransCanada, the owner of Columbia and the Leach pipeline, is working on a plan to quickly restore part of the pipeline to service in southeastern Ohio–which would reconnect Monroe and Belmont counties to the pipeline…
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XTO Selling 9,400 OH Utica Acres in Monroe & Washington Counties

XTO Energy, the shale drilling arm of Exxon Mobil, wants to sell ~9,400 Ohio Utica Shale acres in Monroe and Washington counties. Have no fear, XTO isn’t going anywhere. According to XTO’s website, the company currently owns 82,000 acres of Utica Shale leases in Belmont and Monroe counties. The tiny 9,400-acre sale appears to us to be selling off acreage in areas that don’t fit with XTO’s future drilling plans. XTO maintains a regional office in Belmont County. According to the sale announcement appearing on Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse, there are potentially 40 drilling locations on the 9,400 acres. The acreage has dry gas potential. The sale is not exactly an auction, but it is timed and uses bids. XTO is accepting sealed bids on the property through May 17. Here’s a copy of the listing, along with a flyer…
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Latest OH Wayne Natl Forest Auction a Bust – Leases Go for $3/Acre

The fifth auction by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of federally-owned acreage in Wayne National Forest (WNF) to allow shale drilling was, in a word, a bust. The first four auctions offered up a total of 2,396 acres in total, and sold for over $8 million (average of $3,354 signing bonus per acre). The fifth auction of two smaller parcels–39.6 acres in Monroe County, and 305.8 acres in Noble County–sold for a piddly $2 and $3 signing bonuses per acre, respectively. What in the world happened? MDN reader and friend Charles Winslow, owner of The Wells Inn in Sistersville, WV, writes the INNformer publication. Charles recently published an excellent article about the recent auction and its lackluster results in the INNformer. He offered MDN the opportunity to reprint it (below). Charles finds there are a number of factors for the low auction price–but primarily the blame can be laid at the foot of regulatory uncertainty…
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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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Final State Permits Expected Soon for OH Mountaineer NGL Storage

Some new details have emerged with respect to the Mountaineer NGL Storage facility proposed for Monroe County, OH, located just across the river (and border) from West Virginia. What did we know about the proposed project? The Colorado company behind the project plans to spend up to $500 million to build it; some 20 drillers have expressed interest in contracting with the facility to store ethane; and the nearby PTT Global cracker plant project (if it gets built) and the under-construction Shell cracker plant are both interested in connections to the facility. Last November, we learned there is a construction delay until mid-this year (see Yet Another Update on Stalled Mountaineer NGL Storage Proj in OH). Why the delay? Because of regulators in Ohio. At the “Emerging Opportunities Ohio Valley Conference” held yesterday in WV, Mountaineer NGL president David Hooker provided an update and some new-to-us details about the project. He said his company will file paperwork for “final state permits” in March. While “not a lot has changed” with Ohio regulators dragging their feet, here’s something that has changed. In order to pump out the NGLs from the underground storage cavern, brine (salty water) will be pumped down the bore hole, to force the NGLs back up to the surface. Original plans called for a single brine pond to store the liquid when it’s at the surface, waiting to be used. New plans call for two brine ponds. So far Mountaineer has spent $20 million on the project. If everything gets approved and demand develops as expected, the plan is to spend up to $130 million, which will build enough infrastructure to store 3 million barrels of NGLs. However, there is also a stretch goal of investing up to $500 million to store 10 million barrels. Here’s an update from our friends at Kallanish Energy, who attended yesterday’s event…
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Former Ormet Site in SE OH Changes Hands, Gas-Fired Plant Coming

Rendering of the 485 MW power plant at the Long Ridge Energy Terminal

Back in 2014 MDN told you that the former Ormet aluminum plant in Hannibal (Monroe County), OH had been purchased out of bankruptcy by Niagara Worldwide and turned into the Center Port Transload Facility, with an emphasis on providing services for the Marcellus/Utica industry (see Center Port Transload Facility Already Up & Running in OH). In April 2017, we brought you news about plans to build a 485-megawatt Utica gas-fired electric plant at the Center Port location (see More on Gas-Fired Elec Plant Coming to Center Port Terminal). A lot has happened since that time. Most of the facility (not all) changed hands again, selling to Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure for $30 million last June. Since that time, what was called Center Port Terminal has been renamed–to Long Ridge Energy Terminal. The new owners are moving forward, quickly, with plans to build the gas-fired power plant, which is now called the Hannibal Port Power Project. According to the Long Ridge website, the Hannibal Port Power gas plant will be operational by 2020–meaning construction will begin this year…
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Mountaineer NGL Wants to be THE Appalachian Storage Hub

When the topic of NGL (natural gas liquids) storage comes up with respect to the Marcellus/Utica region, there are two separate and distinct projects mentioned: A massive, $10 billion ethane/NGL storage hub with no specific location identified as yet (but West Virginia often named), and the much smaller Mountaineer NGL storage hub proposed for Monroe County, OH. Recently none other than the U.S. Dept. of Energy issued an NGL primer to call attention to the need for a large NGL storage hub (see DOE Publishes NGL Primer for Marcellus/Utica, Pushes NGL Storage). The Mountaineer project was mentioned in the DOE report. We’ve written plenty about Mountaineer NGL, located just across the river (and border) from West Virginia (see our Mountaineer NGL Storage stories here). What do we know about the proposed Mountaineer NGL Storage project? The Colorado company behind the project plans to spend up to $500 million to build it; some 20 drillers have expressed interest in contracting with the facility to store ethane; and both the nearby PTT Global cracker plant project (if it gets built) and the under-construction Shell cracker plant are both interested in connections to the facility. In November, we learned there is a construction delay until mid-this year (see Yet Another Update on Stalled Mountaineer NGL Storage Proj in OH). We are on record having previously said this: “Could the Mountaineer NGL Storage project end up being THE main NGL project for the entire region, being touted by so many? No. But it is an important project–one of the key pieces of the NGL storage puzzle that will serve our region.” It appears Mountaineer may not agree with our take. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Business Times, Mountaineer makes it clear they want to be THE NGL storage hub for the Marcellus/Utica region. Instead of building a huge $10B project from the start, Mountaineer’s strategy is to grow slow but steady–responding to market conditions along the way. Mountaineer says that’s how it was done in Texas, and that’s how they believe it can (and should) be done in our region…
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BLM Raises $944K from 4th Ohio Wayne Natl Forest Auction

Another 350 acres of mineral rights were just auctioned off yesterday by the Bureau of Land Management in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF)–for a total of $944,000 raised. What’s that? You haven’t heard or read that news in ANY local or national news outlet? Welcome to the Big Government/Media complex where something isn’t “news” unless Big Lib media says it’s news. And yet, this most recent auction is, for landowners who have mineral rights in WNF and drillers who drill there, really big news. 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 were denied the use of their property rights for more than a decade–until the BLM finally began auctions of government mineral rights in BLM last year (see BLM Launches Auction to Lease Wayne National Forest for Fracking). The government portions of the patchwork are needed to combine with the private portions in order to form drilling units large enough to drill on/under. All of yesterday’s auctioned rights, similar to previous auctions, is located in Monroe County, OH–one of the sweetest of the sweet spots for drilling in the Utica Shale. Antis continue to oppose these auctions, launching lawsuits, showing up at various public events, etc. Whatever. The good news, news you don’t read in mainstream outlets, is that WNF lease auctions continue…
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More of Rover in Eastern Ohio Coming Online in Time for Star Wars

The mighty Rover Pipeline project marches on toward 100% completion, even though the Ohio EPA is doing its best to stop it (see Rover Ignores Shrill Ohio EPA, Asks FERC to Continue HDD Drilling). Because of previous issues with underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) first put the brakes on Rover, then later eased off the brakes, but still keeps Rover on a tight leash, preventing Rover from moving at the faster pace they’d like move at. Especially with respect to work in eastern Ohio. Rover is a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that (will eventually) run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and on to Canada. A large portion of the pipeline, designated Phase 1A, began flowing natural gas on Sept. 1st (see Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio). However, Phase 1B work in eastern OH and WV, which will feed more Marcellus/Utica gas to the main part of the pipeline, has been stymied by slow HDD work. At least some of 1B is now ready to begin. Yesterday Rover asked FERC for permission to begin service on three lateral pipelines totaling nearly 62 miles, and to start up three compressor stations and seven metering stations–in Ohio’s Noble, Monroe and Harrison counties. Rover is asking FERC to hurry it up so they can begin service by next week, in time for the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premier on Dec. 14…
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Yet Another Update on Stalled Mountaineer NGL Storage Proj in OH

Over the past six months we’ve run a steady string of stories about Mountaineer NGL Storage and its proposed underground NGL (mostly ethane) storage facility in Monroe County, Ohio, near Clarington, along the Ohio River (see our Mountaineer NGL Storage stories here). We’ve learned that the Colorado company behind the project plans to spend up to $500 million to build it, that 20 drillers have expressed interest in contracting with the facility to store ethane, and that both the nearby potential PTT Global cracker plant and the under-construction Shell cracker plant are both interested in connections to the facility. We’ve also learned there is a holdup with some of the necessary permits for the project before construction can begin–a situation that has delayed construction until mid-next year. This morning we ran across yet another update. This one goes into more detail about the permit situation, explaining where the holdup is happening (with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources’ chief Rick Simmers). The update also introduces us to a new spokesman for the project, a local who will be the project’s feet on the street, meaning we’ll likely hear a lot more about the project in the coming weeks and months…
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Mountaineer NGL Storage Spending Up to $500M on Ethane Facility

Mountaineer NGL Storage wants to build a new underground NGL storage facility in Monroe County, Ohio, near Clarington, along the Ohio River (see New Company Announces Open Season for NGL Storage in Ohio Utica). The project, which will store primarily ethane but also propane and butane, still needs to build a 3.25 million barrel brine pond, used to pump out stored NGLs. Mountaineer is waiting for a clearance from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to build the pond. At a recent industry event, Mountaineer CEO David Hooker said 20 drillers are interested in storing ethane at the facility, when it gets built (see Mountaineer NGL Says 20 Drillers Interested in Ethane Storage). Hooker keeps the NGL storage project front and center in the news. Yesterday he announced plans to spend an initial $150 million, and potentially as much as $500 million, to build the facility. To the best of our recollection that’s the first time numbers have been offered for how much money it will take to fund the project. Hooker also gave a new timeline for the project, saying he expects all permits to be in hand “within the first six months of 2018,” and after that, construction will begin…
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Mountaineer NGL Says 20 Drillers Interested in Ethane Storage

For some time we’ve had our eye on a project to store ethane in underground caverns in Ohio. Mountaineer NGL Storage wants to build a new underground NGL storage facility in Monroe County, Ohio, near Clarington, along the Ohio River (see New Company Announces Open Season for NGL Storage in Ohio Utica). As we reported in April, the company need customers to sign up to use the facility–a minimum of 1 million barrels of storage would get it going (see More Clarity on Status of Mountaineer NGL Storage Facility in OH). Mountaineer still needs to build a 3.25 million barrel brine pond, used to pump out the stored NGLs. Mountaineer is waiting for a clearance from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to build the pond, which (in June) we said would likely to take “a few more months.” Strike that. The CEO of the project recently said he now does not expect to get those permits until “first or second quarter of next year” (see Mountaineer NGL Storage Project Delayed Until 2018). Mountaineer CEO David Hooker recently spoke at the Utica Summit V in North Canton. Here’s the latest he shared about this important project…
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