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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O&G Industry Begins to Pick Up Again in Muskingum County, OH

A “boost” from the oil and gas industry, specifically the Utica industry, is beginning to “trickle” through Muskingum County once again, says the director of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority. No, we’re not talking about drilling Utica wells–not in Muskingum, anyway. What we are talking about are companies that work in the industry. Oilfield services companies like Halliburton and Producers Service Corporation are, once again, expanding their businesses and adding new jobs. Muskingum is located next to four of the best counties in which to drill a Utica well–Guernsey, Belmont, Noble and Monroe. Belmont has the bonus of being the likely location of the next ethane cracker to commit to the region–PTT Global Chemical’s cracker plant. With an uptick in Utica drilling, and activity around the coming cracker plant, Muskingum County is in the catbird seat for economic expansion…
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AEP Gets Approval to Convert OH Coal Electric Plant to NatGas

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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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OH Company Doubles Jobs/Revenue by Targeting Utica Shale Drillers

Dan Pottmeyer, president of Producers Service Corp located in Zanesville, OH, says his company is the only fracking company that’s “home-grown in Ohio.” (That’ll be good news for OH Gov. John “foreigner hunter” Kasich. He likes ’em home-grown.) Pottmeyer’s company used to send oilfield services crews into Ohio’s conventional oil and gas fields for low-volume fracking work. However, after purchasing new equipment and more than doubling the work force, Pottmeyer now sends his crews into the field to work on Utica Shale wells–competing with the likes of oilfield services titans like Halliburton and Baker Hughes. Although he doesn’t disclose figures for the privately-held company, Pottmeyer says revenue has more than doubled in the past couple of years.

The Producers Service Corp story is a good story–an important story–of how local businesses can figure out how to plug in to the Marcellus and Utica Shale supply chain. Which is why we love to bring you stories like this one…
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ATEX Pipeline Ponies Up $572K to Repair Damaged Roads in Muskingum

Under the “ask and ye shall receive” department… Muskingum County was not happy that heavy truck traffic from companies working for Enterprise Products Partners, building the new ATEX Express ethane pipeline through the county, had damaged some of the county’s roadways. So the county asked Enterprise to pony up over $700K to fix the damaged roads.

Enterprise did not pay the amount requested, but they did agree to pay over a half million smakaroos. Not a bad result for just asking…
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Halliburton Shuts Down WV Cement Plant, Moves to OH

In a move that’s sure to anger West Virginians, but make Ohioans happy, Halliburton announced Tuesday they’re shutting down their cement plant operations in Weston (Lewis County), WV and moving it 150 miles away to a new service center they’ve opened in Zanesville (Muskingum County), OH. No word on how many jobs in Weston are affected…
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Not So Fast: Blue Rock State Forest Fracking on Hold

A few days ago MDN told you that the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had plans to auction off shale drilling rights for Blue Rock State Forest in eastern Ohio (see Surprise! Blue Rock State Forest in Eastern OH to be Fracked). As we pointed out, most federal land auctioned for drilling is located in the western U.S.–this is the first such instance of BLM land being auctioned in the Marcellus/Utica region that we are aware of. The federal government owns the mineral rights in Blue Rock, and the state of Ohio owns the surface rights.

Ohio state officials complained they were not consulted by the BLM about the mineral rights auction or the possibility that the forest will be fracked. So the BLM has (for now) halted their planned auction for later this year…
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Surprise! Blue Rock State Forest in Eastern OH to be Fracked

MDN has kept readers informed about new federal fracking rules proposed by the Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), rules that will make it quite expensive to drill (see New BLM Fracking Rule will Cost Drillers Nearly $100K per Well). We haven’t been overly concerned about the new BLM fracking regulations in the Marcellus/Utica because, as we told you, the rules will only affect fracking on federal land–almost all of which is located in the western U.S. Until now, our concern with the BLM rules has been that the federal government may, at some point, force the BLM rules on the states (see Feds ‘Hope’ States will Use BLM Rules for ALL Fracking).

However, it now appears the new BLM rules may apply in the Utica Shale much sooner than we thought. The Blue Rock State Forest, a 4,578-acre forest in Muskingum County where the state of Ohio owns the surface but the federal government owns the mineral rights, will soon be opened up by the feds for fracking. This revelation will no doubt set off the berserker alarms at anti-drilling HQ…
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Re-opened Frazeysburg, OH Rail Terminal Ships Utica Condensate

In June, MDN told you about a newly re-opened railroad terminal now being used to ship Utica Shale condensate from Frazeysburg in Muskingum County, OH (see Crosstex Ships Utica Condensate with OH Rail Loading Terminal). Crosstex, the company operating the terminal, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony a few weeks ago at the Black Run rail terminal and issued this update (and picture):
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Risky Business – OH Landowner Group Wants to Lease Sans Lawyer

A Utica Shale landowner group in Muskingum County, OH with 90,000 acres available for lease has embarked on a risky venture. They want to strike a deal on behalf of their members to lease property for $5,000 per acre and 20% royalties. Certainly no problem with that–sounds like a fair deal in a “wet gas” area like Muskingum County, OH. The group is asking the Muskingum County Commissioners to not shop county land below that asking price (something that happened in neighboring Coshocton County) as that would undercut their bargaining power. We also have no problem with that–sounds like a smart strategy.

However, the landowner group wants to cut a deal with a driller without the help of attorneys. Attorneys typically take a small per-acre fee in return for their legal guidance on very complicated oil and gas drilling contract law. You can be sure the driller drawing up a lease agreement has an army of attorneys working on it–so why would you willingly disadvantage yourself by not using one too? It comes down to money…
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Pipeline Construction Run-Off Hits Local Creek, Muskingum River

A minor incident–but an incident nonetheless. As part of digging and drilling to lay pipeline for the ATEX Express ethane pipeline that will run from western PA through OH and all the way to the Gulf Coast, heavy rainwater has been washing through the dug up dirt and rock at one of the construction locations in eastern Ohio, running off into the Wakatomika Creek (Muskingum County), which in turn empties into the Muskingum River. The rainwater/mud mix is not toxic, but it does have the potential to affect fish and aquatic life along the creek and the river…
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Crosstex Ships Utica Condensate with OH Rail Loading Terminal

Yesterday, Crosstex Energy re-activated and started to use its Black Run rail loading terminal in Frazeysburg (Muskingum County), OH. The facility will let Crosstex load and ship 24,000 barrels a day of light oil condensate. The condensate is produced by Utica Shale wells.

The rail loading terminal sits on the short line Ohio Central Railroad (OHCR), which in turn connects with the Columbus and Ohio River Railroad, CSX, Norfolk Southern and the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway. Plenty of markets for drillers to now access for their Utica condensate production…
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Is Anadarko Leaving the Ohio Utica Shale?

A story in the Columbus Dispatch floats the rumor that Anadarko Petroleum, one of the country’s largest drillers, has not only suspended plans to drill in a 9,000-acre wild game preserve in Muskingum County, OH (known as “the Wilds”), but they also may be abandoning plans to drill anywhere in the Ohio Utica and the 141,000 acres they control…

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Small Businesses Learn about Selling to Utica Shale Drillers

Do you work for or own a company interested in providing products or services to the drilling industry industry in eastern Ohio—specifically in and around Muskingum County? People in your shoes attended an Oil & Gas Seminar at the Muskingum County Business Incubator yesterday and heard about how to start selling to the industry.

Some sage advice for businesses wanting to sell into the industry from Halliburton Procurement Manager Daniel Etter:

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