ET Still Fighting Ohio AG re Rover Pipe Enviro Violations

Ohio’s current Governor, Mike DeWine, is an establishment-type swamp dwelling Republican. DeWine was Attorney General for Ohio in November 2017 when he was manipulated into suing Energy Transfer claiming the 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). The lawsuit has essentially gone nowhere since that time.
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Ohio Schools Rub Hands Together Waiting for NEXUS Tax Revenue

NEXUS Pipeline, a $2.6 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that runs from Ohio into Michigan, began a partial startup in October, and was fully online in November. Although there was early opposition to the project, and some complaints from landowners along the route of construction, the project is noteworthy for the just how little complaining there actually was.
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6th Circuit Court Upholds Ohio’s Forced Pooling Law

Landowners in Ohio who didn’t like being force pooled with their neighbors have, since 2015, tried to get the courts to declare that forced pooling is illegal. They’ve struck out in every court where they’ve tried that argument, including (now) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
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Ohio Univ Gets $1M Grant to Figure out Better Way to Crack Ethane

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jason Trembly

An Ohio University professor has landed himself (and his research associates) $1 million in grant money to study a better way to turn raw natural gas with lots of ethane in it, directly into ethylene (raw plastics), bypassing the need to separate the raw stream into methane and ethane, and bypassing the need for a huge cracker plant to crack the ethane into ethylene.
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Enbridge Trying to Restore 1 Bcf/d on Exploded Tetco in Ohio

A 30-inch segment of Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission Company (Tetco) interstate natural gas pipeline exploded one week ago today, sending two people to the hospital and destroying two nearby homes when fires from the blast spread (see Texas Eastern Pipeline Explodes in Noble County, OH – Injuries). Enbridge is hoping to restore partial service along the line early this week.
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Ohio Utica & Marcellus Maps – Where Does Drilling Happen?

Each week the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) Oil & Gas Resources division publishes the latest list of permits issued to drillers in the Utica (and/or the Marcellus) for the Buckeye State. Each month the same department issues updated maps for both the Utica and the Marcellus to show where drilling is (and by omission, is not) happening. We have the latest maps below.
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ODNR Releases Ohio Utica O&G Production for 3Q18 – Top 25 Wells

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued third quarter 2018 production numbers for Utica shale oil and gas production yesterday. And what a report it is! Natural gas production was up an amazing 31% over the same period last year (after being up 42% in 2Q18). Utica natgas production broke another record, hitting a new all-time high of 605 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 3Q18. But perhaps the biggest story was Utica oil production. In 1Q18 Utica oil production was down 3.6%. In 2Q18 Utica oil production was up 11%. But in 3Q18, Utica oil production soared, going up 32%.
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CORNballs Return, Ask DC Court to Shut Down NEXUS Pipe

The CORNballs are still at it. Even though NEXUS Pipeline, a $2.6 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that runs from Ohio into Michigan, partially started up in October, and went fully online in November, the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CORN), along with the City of Oberlin, Ohio, is asking the D.C. Court of Appeals to reverse the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s original decision to approve the project. Yes, the CORNballs (our name for CORN) want to shut it all down–even though the pipeline is in the ground spreading economic cheer throughout the region, and even though all of the scary nightmare scenarios predicted by CORN and Oberlin with respect to building the pipeline have now been proven false. The CORNballs and Oberlin are sore losers and apparently have endless gobs of money for lawyers to file frivolous lawsuits in federal court. The same two groups tried this stunt in a different court, the Sixth Circuit, where the lawsuit was tossed out last March. They’ve gone court shopping to try it all again.
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OH Supremes “Clarify” Preservation of Royalty Interest Under OMTA

If a deed refers to a previously reserved royalty interest where the reference identifies the type of interest created and the person to whom the interest was granted (with no other details), is that sufficiently specific enough to preserve the royalty interest under the Ohio Marketable Title Act (OMTA)? According to a decision rendered last week by the Supreme Court of Ohio, the answer is, “Yes.” In a case with its roots dating back to 1915, landowners attempted to sever royalty interests under the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act, attempting to cancel the old interest because a 1969 deed that referred back to the original deal (of one-half royalty interest) was not “specific enough.” The 1969 reference didn’t include the volume and page number of the instrument that originally created the royalty interest. In other words, it wasn’t a “Simon Says” kind of thing–it didn’t follow the exact legal standard. The current landowner tried to cancel the original royalty sharing obligation via a legal loophole.
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New Shale Permits Down in PA & OH as Winter Begins

An analysis by Argus Media shows the number of new permits issued to drill in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale was down 42% in November 2018 over the same time a year ago. Drilling in Ohio’s Utica Shale was down 26% in November vs. a year ago. Yet one overpowering fact remains: Production in both states is UP over a year ago! How do you explain it? Each year drillers get better at what they do–they get more gas from drilling fewer wells. Longer laterals, more sand, improved fracking techniques–it all adds up to more production with less drilling. Our region is also still working down our DUC (drilled but uncompleted) wells inventory, which means less drilling. And winter cold has set in, early. Yeah, less drilling means fewer jobs and fewer opportunities to sell goods and services to drilling companies. But watch for the permit numbers to start going up again (our prediction). Why? Because with pipelines which recently went online and new pipes due to go online, the price our gas is fetching has dramatically increased–and that means the willingness of M-U drillers to drill new wells will increase too.
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By the Numbers – Shale Drilling “Still Strong” in PA & OH

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued 269 permits for Marcellus (and possibly a few Utica) shale wells in October and November. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued 22 permits in the Utica/Point Pleasant shale play in October, and 11 permits in November (as of Nov. 17). That’s over 300 new shale wells between the Marcellus and Utica in the most recent two months–a strong showing. Farm and Dairy, a 100+ year-old publication serving the rural communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, recently tabulated the permit numbers for western PA and eastern OH, down to the county level. Here’s what the numbers show.
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PA Shale Water Company Hiring 125 New Employees

This is the kind of news we love to share! Keystone Clearwater Solutions, which was once majority owned by Rex Energy until they sold it to American Water Works in 2015 (see Rex Energy Sells Keystone Water Subsidiary to American Water Works), is hiring. And boy are they hiring! Keystone needs to hire 125 people, from truck drivers (most of the positions) to mechanics to technicians to supervisors. Keystone offers “complete water management solutions” to the shale industry, from the development and operation of surface water intakes to the operation and maintenance of water pipeline systems, pipeline construction projects, and water transfer services. Keystone is holding interviews across PA, OH and WV in December to fill the open positions. Christmas came early!
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Court Rules on “Diligence” in Locating OH Mineral Rights Owners

How much “diligence” is required when trying to locate the heirs of mineral rights owners in Ohio, as stipulated by the Ohio Dormant Minerals Rights Act (DMA)? That issue was addressed, once again, last week–this time by Ohio’s 7th District Court of Appeals. The DMA requires a surface owner to exercise “reasonable due diligence” to ascertain the names and addresses of mineral holders and their heirs prior to serving notice of abandonment by publication. The question is, what is “reasonable due diligence”? Is there a common standard? The 7th District decided there is no common standard, and what’s reasonable in one case may not be reasonable in another. In other words, it all depends–and is unique in each case.
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Annual Survey Shows O&G Investors Prefer Places Other than M-U

Each year (for the 12th year running) the Canadian-based Fraser Institute surveys petroleum industry executives and managers (256 of them for 2018) asking them their opinions on the barriers to investing in exploration and production in various geographies across the globe. That is, what makes them more likely or less likely to spend money drilling in a particular location? The Global Petroleum Survey (full copy below), tallies the survey responses and ranks each geography from most desirable place to invest, to least desirable. Last year West Virginia was ranked as the fifth most desirable place to invest (see Survey Indicates O&G Investing in WV More Attractive than PA or OH). This year? WV didn’t even make the survey!
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Energy Transfer’s Rover, ME2 Pipes Rack Up 800+ Violations

Reuters has published a “hit piece” against Energy Transfer (ET) and two of its recent big pipeline projects–Rover Pipeline (in Ohio & Michigan), and Mariner East 2 Pipeline (in Ohio and Pennsylvania). Reuters is usually more balanced than, say, Bloomberg with these types of articles. Reuters usually doesn’t go out of its way to denigrate the industry. The article evaluates the number of permit violations issued for both projects. Together that number exceeds 800. Is that a lot? Reuters says they’ve analyzed “four comparable pipeline projects” and found an average of 19 violations per project (or 38 for two projects). So yeah, 800 vs. 38 sure sounds like a lot to us.
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