Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Nov. 9-13

An interesting week for permits. Last week Pennsylvania issued just 2 new shale well drilling permits after having issued 3 the week before (lowest numbers we’ve seen). Ohio, which has not issued many permits in recent months, was on fire last week with 17 new shale permits! West Virginia issued just 1 new shale well permit.
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Cabot “Making Offers” to OH Landowners; New Well in Richland Co.

Ohio’s gas counties – click for larger version

We spotted an article about a landowner meeting held last week in Ashland County, Ohio. In the meeting, lawyers advised landowners to hold off on signing a standard lease agreement with Cabot Oil & Gas for $25 per acre with 12.5% royalties. Those offers, from what we are able to determine, were sent a year ago. Since that time Cabot has drilled at least three (possibly four) wells targeting the Knox Formation in Ashland County (see Cabot O&G Fracks Its First OH Knox Well, Drilling 3rd OH Well). A fourth (possibly fifth) well is about to be drilled in neighboring Richland County. Lawyers are telling landowners who haven’t yet signed it’s prudent to hold off and see how these initial test wells perform. We have details about the recent landowner meeting, along with details about a new Cabot well being drilled in Richland County, below.
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Cabot O&G Fracks Its First OH Knox Well, Drilling 3rd OH Well

According to a news account from Ohio, Cabot Oil & Gas is either in the midst of, or just recently completed, fracking their very first shale well in central Ohio. The well is located in Ashland County’s Green Township. As we previously reported, Cabot is targeting the Knox formation (see Cabot O&G Opens Branch Office in OH – Hoping to Find Oil in Knox). Cabot has already drilled two wells, fracked one, and moved their drilling rig last week to Vermillion Township (also in Ashland County) to begin drilling a third well. The first three wells are all located in Ashland. As for the next two, Cabot isn’t 100% sure. Maybe another well in Ashland, but maybe a well in Richland County instead. Cabot’s George Stark says to stay tuned for the location of the final two test wells the company will drill. Cabot plans to have all five test wells drilled and fracked by the end of this year. “It should be a busy September and October,” according to Stark…
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Cabot Sets it Sights on Richland County, OH for 4th Test Well

Cabot Oil & Gas is drilling test wells in north central Ohio looking for “what’s next” after the Marcellus. So far Cabot, long known for its prolific production in the Marcellus Shale, has drilled two test wells and is in the process of permitting/drilling a third well, all in Ashland County, OH. Now Cabot is turning its sights on neighboring Richland County. Last Tuesday Cabot reps briefed Richland County commissioners on what they’re doing in Ashland County, and what they would like to do in Richland. Here’s the latest on Cabot’s effort to locate a new rock layer, hoping to spin straw into gold like they’ve done in Susquehanna County, PA…
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Just What is Cabot Looking for in Ohio – NatGas, Oil or NGLs?

Two days ago MDN revealed which rock layers Cabot Oil & Gas is targeting with new test wells in central Ohio (see New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio). Today we answer the question, What does Cabot hope to find? Cabot representative Brittany Ramos told an area newspaper that the company is looking for, “a hydrocarbon, an oil, natural gas, natural gas liquid, something, in the layers below the Utica Shale, but the only way to find that out is to actually drill a well and test.” In other words, they don’t know. They know *something* is down there, but they aren’t sure what. We suspect they’re hoping it’s either oil or NGLs. Cabot, long known for their prolific natural gas production in Susquehanna County, PA, had a previous dalliance with oil drilling in the Texas Eagle Ford shale play–assets they ended up selling in December 2017 (see Cabot O&G Sells Texas Eagle Ford Assets for $765M, Focus on Marc.). Does the company have a renewed interest in finding oil? Perhaps. If not oil, certainly NGLs. We seriously doubt they’re looking for yet another dry gas zone. Below is yet another update on Cabot’s foray into central OH. It is one of the more fair and balanced articles we’ve read. Yes, the reporter interviewed a representative from the faux “landowner group” called the Tri-County Landowners Coalition–in reality an anti-fossil fuel group controlled by elements of the Big Green movement (see Fake Ohio Landowner Groups Launch Misinformation Campaign). In this article the reporter actually asks Cabot to respond to the wild claims made by the Tri-County rep, point for point. Cabot obliterates the anti’s arguments…
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New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio

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Cabot Oil & Gas director of external affairs, George Stark, recently spoke to the Ashland Times-Gazette about the company’s plans to drill test wells in and around Ashland County, OH. As MDN previously reported, Cabot is sniffing around central Ohio, looking for “what’s next” after the Marcellus Shale. Last December we told you that Cabot has leased acreage in Ashland County (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Two weeks ago we told you that Cabot has filed for its first permit to drill a test well (see Cabot Files for Permit to Drill Below the Utica in Ashland, OH). Stark revealed, in his interview, that Cabot geologists “see something in Ohio” and that Cabot “wants to go touch it.” What, exactly, does Cabot want to touch? We originally thought it was the Utica, but Stark told MDN no, it’s not the Utica–but a layer “lower than the Utica.” However, Stark won’t say specifically which layer or layers. We now think we know. We also learn (from the article) that Cabot has acreage not only in Ashland, but in four neighboring counties too…
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Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp

We suppose it was bound to happen, but fervently wish it hadn’t. In the process of drilling underneath the Tuscarawas River (in Stark County) one week ago, on April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid.” That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid. Not, thank God, into the Tuscarawas River, but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter. We’ve covered other such nontoxic spills in the past (see our bentonite stories here). The biggest threat to aquatic life in the river is if large quantities of bentonite get into the river and smother the little fishies and salamanders–from lack of oxygen. A second spill happened while drilling horizontally under another swamp the very next day–in Richland County. Rover workers spilled 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid there. Both spills were immediately reported to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which is on the job, monitoring cleanup efforts. A whopping fine is sure to follow…
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Video of Rover Pipeline’s Massive & Complex Construction in OH

Rover Pipeline passes through tip of Richland Co.

MDN spotted a story and video from an Ohio television station about the construction under way for Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline, in Richland County, OH. The video, taken from an airplane, shows just how massive and complex such a project actually is. The video shows the swatch being worked on, for miles and miles, to clear a right-of-way and the trench being dug to lay the pipe. We couldn’t count how many bulldozers, backhoes and people are working over the several miles the video covers. Again, it is a MASSIVE and complex project, with multiple locations where the builder must drill underneath roads, streams and other areas where you can’t just dig a trench. Below is a screenshot from one segment of construction in Richland County, and a link to watch the full 3 minute video (worth the watch!)…
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Advice to OH Landowners Approached for Pipeline Easements

The Energy Transfer Partners Rover pipeline (ET Rover) is probably the biggest pipeline project currently under way in the U.S. It’s bigger than the Keystone XL pipeline! In places like Richland and Crawford counties in Ohio, ET Rover is actually two pipelines–42 inches in diameter, sitting side by side. The entire length is 820 miles and will stretch from WV and PA through OH and into Michigan and eventually to Canada. Landowners in Richland and Crawford attended a meeting sponsored by a Columbus law firm last night to hear some sobering truth: the pipeline will happen and it is coming. But that doesn’t mean landowners are helpless. The attorneys offered some good advice that all landowners approached for pipeline easements should listen to…
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Anti Group Stops Wastewater Injection Wells Near Mansfield, OH

Anti-drilling group Frack Free Ohio (we call them Fracking Up Ohio) is claiming victory in stopping a pair of proposed frack wastewater injection wells that were planned for Mansfield (Richland County), OH. Fracking Up spread enough lies and innuendo around to confuse 63% of the voters into passing a resolution opposing the injection wells. Since the company planning to build the injection wells just wasted $200,000–now down the toilet–you can expect other Utica-related companies to give Mansfield a pass in the future. Bye bye jobs. Bye bye increased tax revenues. Bye bye Mansfield.

Now the folks from Fracking Up Ohio want to spread their anti-drilling disease to other locations–like Ashland and Crawford counties…
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Richland County, OH: No Permits to Drill, but Lots of Leasing

Although Richland County, Ohio is near the outer edge of the Utica Shale and has had no permits issued for Utica Shale drilling, and although drilling close to Richland (in Ashland County) has had “disappointing” results for companies like Devon Energy, the Ohio Farm Bureau reports there’s still a lot of leasing activity in Richland County, with some really nice signing bonuses…

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Mansfield, OH Voters Approve “Environmental Bill of Rights”

The voters of Mansfield, Ohio voted to approve an “environmental bill of rights” in yesterday’s election. The new measure will now be part of the city’s charter, enabling the city to control the location and regulation of wastewater injection wells.

A year ago Preferred Fluids Management announced they would build two 5,000 foot deep injection wells in the Mansfield industrial park. Some area residents are opposed and the new measure passed yesterday will allow them to prevent the wells from being built. It’s a dead issue anyway because the permits to build the wells have expired. The question now is: Does the new “bill of rights” extend to other types of wells, and even other business activities, besides injection wells?

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