ODNR Advertising for Contractors to Plug 200 Orphan Wells by June

Map of Ohio’s orphan wells (click for larger version)

Ohio’s Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) has the “help wanted” sign out, looking for contractors willing to plug some 200 orphaned oil and gas wells in the state before the fiscal year ends in June. ODNR has a budget of $25 million to spend in the next six months, and its burning a hole in their pocket.
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Ohio Court: Utica Frackers Owed Sales Tax Refunds for Equipment

Good news for oilfield services companies that offer fracking services in the Ohio Utica Shale. The Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals recently ruled that an amendment to an existing law granting tax exempt status for oil and gas equipment not only applies to equipment purchased by frackers from now on, it also applies to equipment they’ve purchased (and paid sales tax on) going back in time too. In other words, some frackers are owed refunds on the sales tax they’ve paid in the past.
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Marcellus/Utica Rig Counts 2019 – The Trend was Not Our Friend

If you use the number of active rigs operating in a given shale play/state as the measure for “success,” 2019 wasn’t such a good year for the Marcellus/Utica. In January, Pennsylvania entered 2019 with 48 active rigs. In December that number was cut nearly in half, to 25 active rigs. It was a similar story for Ohio, which entered 2019 with 17 active rigs and exited with 12 rigs. West Virginia, on the other hand, entered 2019 with 15 rigs and exited the year with the same number. But at one point during the year WV had 21 active rigs. We have the monthly rig stats below for all three states.
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OH Supreme Court Keeps Door Open to Reverse $1B Nuke Bailout

The Ohio Supreme Court, on Christmas Eve, threw a lifeline to an effort to overturn an Ohio law that provides corporate welfare in the form of $1 billion of ratepayer (taxpayer) money to FirstEnergy (which recently changed its name to Harbor Energy). The Ohio law provides the funds to FirstEnergy so they can keep two economically failing nuclear power plants up and running, giving the plants an unfair advantage over gas-fired plants that don’t receive corporate welfare.
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Columbia Gas Plans New NatGas Pipeline in Central Ohio

Columbia Gas of Ohio (NiSource) recently announced a new $135 million pipeline project to bring new supplies of Utica-sourced natural gas to homes and businesses located north and west of Columbus, in central Ohio. The project, called the Northern Loop Project, will file for regulatory approval with the Ohio Power Siting Board and hopes the OPSB will approve the project in 2020, with construction set to happen in 2022.
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78% of Southeast Ohio Voters Support Utica Shale Drilling

The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), a nonprofit energy education and public outreach organization, recently commissioned a poll of Ohio voters in eight eastern counties–in the Ohio Valley area. The counties surveyed include those with the most active Utica Shale drilling in the state. The poll asked residents’ about their views on shale drilling and its related activities. Some 88% said the natural gas and oil industry is important to their community, and 78% support natural gas and oil development in the Ohio Valley area.
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Ohio Utica 3Q19 O&G Production New Record: Oil Up 30%, Gas Up 11%

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued third quarter 2019 numbers for Utica shale oil and gas production last Friday. Drum roll please! The numbers show new state record highs for quarterly oil AND natural gas production, the most ever since quarterly reporting began in 2013. Through the roof! Utica oil production was up 29.8% over 3Q18, and Utica natural gas production was up 11.3% over 3Q18.
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Ohio AG Lawsuit Against Rover Pipe Tossed by Appeals Court

In Nov. 2017 the Ohio Attorney General’s office under then-AG Mike Dewine (RINO swamp dweller, now governor) sued Energy Transfer at the prompting of the Ohio EPA claiming the company’s Rover Pipeline project was guilty of “polluting state waters while constructing a natural gas pipeline across Ohio” (see OH EPA Director Manipulates Atty General to Sue Rover Pipeline). A Stark County judge threw the case out in March of this year (see OH Judge Tosses AG’s Lawsuit Against Rover Pipe Enviro Violations).
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Columbia Gas of Ohio Investing $100M to Flow More M-U Gas

Columbia Gas of Ohio says it can’t build local natural gas delivery pipelines fast enough to meet the demand for new customers. “We’re adding new customers, commercial, industrial, residential, in every quadrant of the region” according to Columbia Gas President Dan Creekmur. And he doesn’t it see it stopping any time soon. So the company is spending big bucks (nine figures) to build new local gas pipelines–this year!
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Marcellus/Utica Active Drilling Rig Count Crashes to 24

The rig count in the Marcellus/Utica region is crashing–down to its lowest level for a December since the M-U became a “thing.” It’s now lower than the levels reached in 2014, which was the advent of the first “crash” in rig counts. BUT (and this is a big BUT), lower rig counts do not necessarily mean less drilling or less production. How can that be?
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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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