FirstEnergy Loses OH Supreme Court Case to Block Referendum

The mafiosi at FirstEnergy lost their lawsuit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court in a bid to block a referendum aimed at giving all Ohio residents the right to vote to overturn an ill-conceived corporate welfare law passed that puts $1 billion into FirstEnergy’s pocket in order to keep two failing nuclear power plants open. Although they lost the case, FirstEnergy claims the Supreme Court decision is a “victory” for their attempt to keep their grubby hands on taxpayer’s money. How does that work?
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10 Colleges in PA-OH-WV Form Program to Train Cracker/Mfg Workers

A group of 10 community colleges scattered throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia have formed the Tristate Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, or TEAM, with the aim of training skilled workers for cracker plants and other petrochemical-related manufacturing operations. The cooperative has crafted a “stackable-credentials model” that offers “a career pathway from certifications to post-secondary degrees, up to and including a master’s degree.” Forwarding thinking!
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South Korea Buys 50% Stake in M-U’s UTOPIA Ethane Pipeline

UTOPIA route (click for larger version)

In January 2016, Kinder Morgan committed to building the UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) pipeline, a 12-inch ethane pipeline that would run 286 miles across the state of Ohio where it would connect with another pipeline to flow Marcellus/Utica ethane all the way to a cracker plant in Canada (see Kinder Morgan Ready to Move Forward with UTOPIA East Pipeline). In January 2018 UTOPIA went online (see UTOPIA has Arrived! KM OH Pipe Flowing Ethane to Canadian Cracker). Kinder’s 50% joint venture partner in UTOPIA, Riverstone Holdings, announced yesterday it has sold its interest to a consortium of South Korean companies.
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CSU Study: Ohio Shale Industry Investment $78B and Counting

JobsOhio, a private, nonprofit corporation that works works on behalf of the state to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio by attracting business, contracts out economic research to Cleveland State University (CSU)–to keep tabs on the Utica Shale industry. Last year CSU researchers found that from 2011-2017 the Utica Shale had attracted an amazing $70 billion in new private sector energy investments (see Ohio Utica Attracts Amazing $70 Billion Investment…So Far). CSU is back with the latest numbers and has added another $7.7 billion to the pot for 2018, meaning total Utica investments from 2011 to the end of 2018 are nearly $78 billion!
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Ohio’s Non-Drilling Counties Look to Profit from Utica Shale Too

Drilling is great for local counties when it arrives. Especially for the “supply chain” in those counties–companies that sell goods and services to drilling companies. Everything from retail to convenience stores to restaurants to hotels to trucking companies and more. But what about businesses in nearby counties without any drilling activity? Is there any way they can share in the bounty too? There sure is!
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Ohio Commission Recommends Changes to Law re Fracking Public Land

In 2011 Ohio Gov. John Kasich (RINO) signed into law a provision to create the Ohio Oil and Gas Leasing Commission, a group to oversee drilling and fracking on state-owned land. Then Kasich refused to appoint members to the five-member commission, effectively skirting the law and imposing his own whacked moratorium on drilling on state-owned land. Why? Punishment for the industry refusing to endorse his obscene high severance tax rate. In 2017 under threat by the Republican legislature, Kasich finally relented and appointed the five members (see Ohio Gov Kasich About to Lose Power to Stop Drilling on State Land). The Commission just held its first meeting under new Gov. Mike DeWine (also a RINO). Commission members are proposing changes to the commission structure and to the law governing it.
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Gulfport 3Q – Looking to Sell Non-Operated Utica Assets

Gulfport Energy, one of the biggest drillers in the Ohio Utica Shale (210,000 acres), concentrates its drilling in the Ohio Utica and the Oklahoma SCOOP plays. Gulport’s third quarter 2019 update shows the company produced 1,527.0 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d) in 3Q19, up 7% from 1,427.5 MMcfe/d produced in 3Q18. The company lost $48.8 million (31 cents per share) in 3Q19. The biggest news, for us, is Gulfport’s announcement they are shopping some of their non-operated assets in the Ohio Utica.
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OH Lawmakers Plan to Block Foreign Ownership of Power Plants

We’re still feeling the fallout of FirstEnergy’s sleazy campaign to keep their $1 billion ratepayer bailout in Ohio. Last week we told you about FirstEnergy’s Mafia-like tactics in attempting to block petitioners from gathering signatures to overturn House Bill 6 that hands FirstEnergy $1 billion (see FirstEnergy Uses Questionable Tactics Against Referendum Workers). Part of FirstEnergy’s strategy was to gather signatures on a competing petition–aimed at confusing residents. It is that petition that is the subject of this post.
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FirstEnergy Uses Questionable Tactics Against Referendum Workers

All we can say is, shame on FirstEnergy. They hired people to block petition gatherers trying to get signatures for a referendum for the November ballot. The tactics used can only be described as bullying–sometimes physical. Workers are trying to get enough signatures on a petition to place a referendum on the November ballot. The referendum, if adopted, would overturn House Bill 6 which grants a $1 billion bailout to FirstEnergy’s economically failing nuclear power plants (see Ohio Nuke Bailout Law Means Fewer Natgas-Fired Electric Plants). FirstEnergy doesn’t want to give up that money.
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Ohio Ballot Initiative to Overturn Nuke Bailout Goes to Fed Court

The fight to overturn Ohio’s House Bill 6, a $1 billion bailout (freebie) given to FirstEnergy to prop up its uneconomical nuclear power plants is getting nasty. Really nasty. We previously told you about FirstEnergy’s lying commercials that claim China controls the state’s natural gas industry–because a Chinese bank loaned some of the gas-fired plants money (see FirstEnergy Runs Attack Ad, Claims China Controls OH NatGas Plants). Somehow FirstEnergy got Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and got him to overturn the the language of the referendum, disqualifying it on a technicality (see Ohio RINO AG Rejects Anti-Nuke Referendum). Because of Yost’s action, there isn’t enough time to get enough signatures. So the matter has gone to federal court, asking for more time.
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Revised Ohio Regulations Reduce Utica Well Spacing Distance

regulations

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently revised its regulations governing the spacing of horizontal oil and gas production wells. The revised regs, which became effective on Oct. 10, loosen spacing requirements and “will bring Ohio’s horizontal well spacing regulations in line with what accepted science and drilling data indicates is a more efficient and productive spacing for horizontal wells in Ohio.” The setback (from boundary lines) was reduced from a previous 500 feet to 400 feet in some cases, and down to 150 feet in other cases.
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8 OH Counties Rake in $142M in Real Estate Taxes from Utica Shale

Eight of Ohio’s top Utica Shale development counties collected nearly $142 million in real estate property taxes on oil and natural gas production from 2010 through 2017, according to an updated report by Energy In Depth (EID) and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA). The Utica Shale Local Support Series report titled, “2019 Update: Ohio’s Oil and Gas Industry Property Tax Payments” (full copy below) analyzes the economic impacts of oil and natural gas real estate property taxes (called “ad valorem” taxes) paid in eight counties: Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble.
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Court: OH Marketable Title Act & Dormant Mineral Act Don’t Conflict

There is an ongoing question of whether or not the Ohio Marketable Titles Act (MTA), which impacts Utica shale rights, can be used to return previously severed mineral rights back to a surface landowner, or whether the MTA is superseded by Ohio Dormant Minerals Act (DMA). In February, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals said the MTA *does* still apply to mineral rights (see OH Court Says Marketable Title Act Applies to O&G Rights). The Seventh Circuit then ruled in a second case in April, reaffirming yet again that yes, MTA applies to mineral rights (see Ohio Court Rules Marketable Title Act Applies re Mineral Rights). And now the Seventh Circuit has ruled in a third case to say YES, the MTA still applies!
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FirstEnergy Spends $1M/Week on Ads Claiming Chinese Grid Takeover

Ohio’s major newspapers continue to push back against phony commercials being run by FirstEnergy in a desperate attempt to block a referendum to overturn House Bill (HB) 6 (see FirstEnergy Runs Attack Ad, Claims China Controls OH NatGas Plants). HB 6, a corporate welfare bill, was recently passed to prop up two FirstEnergy bankrupt nuclear power plants and several coal-fired plants, soaking ratepayers in order to feed the FirstEnergy beast (see Ohio Nuke Bailout Law Means Fewer Natgas-Fired Electric Plants).
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Ohio Landowners Lose Royalty Lawsuit Against Chesapeake Energy

A group of Ohio landowners sued Chesapeake Energy in 2015 in a class action, alleging that Chesapeake had shorted them on royalty payments (see OH Landowners File Royalty Class Action Lawsuit Against Chesapeake). Four long years later and an Ohio federal judge ruled yesterday…in favor of Chesapeake.
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OOGEEP Offers Free Training: “Responding to Oilfield Emergencies”

The hits keep coming from OOGEEP, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program. In May we brought you OOGEEP’s top notch new resource to help workers discover new careers in the oil and gas industry (see 75+ Gas and Oil Related Careers in the Marcellus/Utica). In June OOGEEP parceled out 65 scholarships ($1,000 minimum award) to students pursuing careers in the oil and gas industry (see OOGEEP Hands Out Another 65 Oil & Gas Scholarships). And now, OOGEEP is conducting two free firefighter workshops, one in October, the other in November, to train first responders in how to respond in situations that involve natural gas and crude oil.
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