MDN Interview: CEO of Plastics Industry Assoc. LOVES Shale Energy

Tony Radoszewski

The 8th Annual Utica Downstream Conference will be held on Feb. 25 in Canton, OH. MDN editor Jim Willis had the opportunity to interview one of the keynote speakers, Tony Radoszewski, President & CEO of the Plastics Industry Association, in December. Tony assumed the role of president & CEO in early 2020, just prior to the pandemic. Jim spoke to Tony about his upcoming talk, to get some insights into the state of the plastics industry in America in general, and in the Appalachian Basin in particular. It was a fascinating discussion.
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Ohio’s Utica Shale – An “Underappreciated Economic Machine”

Aubrey McClendon, the co-founder of Chesapeake Energy and the guy most responsible for discovering and commercializing the Ohio Utica Shale, once famously said the Utica “is the best thing to hit the state of Ohio economically since maybe the plow.” And indeed it has been. The Utica is often overshadowed by its larger and more productive cousin the Marcellus Shale. According to Mike Chadsey from the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, the Utica has never really gotten the level of attention and respect it deserves.
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Generation Now Pleads Guilty in $61M FirstEnergy OH Nuke Scandal

On Friday, representatives of a “dark money” political action committee called Generation Now signed a guilty plea admitting their part in the biggest bribery scandal to ever hit Ohio. Generation Now was set up as a social welfare nonprofit but in reality was a shell organization that received “tens of millions of dollars” from FirstEnergy as part of a $61 million bribery scandal to pass and keep passed House Bill (HB) 6 which funnels over $1 billion from Ohio ratepayers to FirstEnergy in order to keep the company’s unprofitable nuclear power plants running.
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How Biden’s Drilling Ban on Federal Lands Affects the M-U

On Joe Biden’s first day in occupying the White House, he signed an Executive Order (EO) suspending new oil and gas leasing while the Interior Department reviews existing leases and permitting practices for 60 days. The aim is to make the federal lease ban permanent. However, some permits on existing leases will continue to be issued during the 60-day review period. You may think Biden’s federal lease ban does not affect the Marcellus/Utica region. You would be wrong.
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Ohio AG Succeeds in Blocking $2B in Nuke Payments to FirstEnergy

Ohio AG Dave Yost

We continue to peel back the layers of the rotten, smelly, stinky onion that is Ohio’s House Bill (HB) 6, a law granting billions (plural) to FirstEnergy in an attempt to prop up the company’s economically failing nuclear power plants. FirstEnergy is accused of bribing legislators to pass, and keep passed, HB 6 by paying out $60 million (see FirstEnergy Involved in Bribery Scheme to Pass $1B Nuke Bailout Law). It is the biggest bribery scandal in Ohio history. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has been hammering FirstEnergy with lawsuits since the bribery scandal was first revealed. It looks like Yost (and consequently Ohio residents AND the Ohio Utica Shale industry) has won.
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OH Shale Crescent USA: Not Letting Biden’s Attacks Slow Them Down

In 2016 a group of business and government leaders from Ohio and West Virginia in the Mid-Ohio Valley banded together to form an economic development group called Shale Crescent USA, or SCUSA (see Group Promotes Mid-Ohio Valley for Petrochem: Shale Crescent USA). The aim of the group is to attract manufacturers (particularly petrochemical manufacturers) to set up shop in the region, close to the most abundant supplies of cheap natural gas in the entire world. The leaders of SCUSA aren’t letting the withering attacks of Joe Biden on the oil and gas sector slow them down.
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OH AG Asks Judge to Block FirstEnergy Nuke Bailout Rate Increases

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost continues to hammer FirstEnergy Corporation. In November Yost filed a lawsuit to block the collection of $150 million provided for under House Bill (HB) 6, aimed at propping up FirstEnergy’s unprofitable nuclear power plants in the state (see OH AG Files 2nd Lawsuit to Block FirstEnergy $150M Nuke Payments). Yost has just filed another lawsuit, this time aimed at preventing a rate hike from going into effect on FirstEnergy customers across the state.
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Diversified Gas & Oil “Bullish” on Future of Gas & Oil in Ohio

Brad Gray, DGO

Diversified Gas & Oil (DGO) owns close to 8 million acres of leases with some 60,000 (mostly) conventional oil and gas wells. Their focus has been to acquire quality production and cash flow–regardless of the well or commodity type (gas or oil)–in the Appalachian Basin. They currently have over 400 Marcellus/Utica shale wells in their portfolio too. DGO’s executive vice president and COO, Brad Gray, published a column yesterday extolling the company’s love for the Buckeye State. Gray says DGO is “bullish” on the oil and gas industry in Ohio.
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Columbiana County Asks OH Gov. to OK Shale Gas Pipe to Lake Erie

click for larger version

Two weeks ago Trumbull County, OH’s Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine requesting DeWine order a feasibility study on a “lake-to-river natural gas pipeline” project that will extend along the State Route 11 corridor from Columbiana County all the way to Ashtabula Harbor on Lake Erie. The pipeline will flow Utica gas produced in Columbiana (and surrounding counties) to manufacturers located along the Erie shoreline.
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FirstEnergy Nuke Bailout Payments Blocked by Ohio Supreme Court

FirstEnergy is up to its metaphorical rear-end in alligators. Not only has the Ohio Supreme Court blocked (for now) the collection of annual $150 million payments from the residents of Ohio given to FirstEnergy to prop up its uneconomic nuclear power plants, but multiple (over a dozen) lawsuits have been filed against the company by some of FirstEnergy’s biggest investors alleging fraud that has caused the company’s stock price to plummet.
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Ohio Gov. DeWine Signs Bill Designating New State Fossil Fish

Dunkleosteus terrelli

We’ve heard of fossil fuels, but until we spotted a press release from Ohio, we’d never heard of a fossil fish. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has just signed a bill into law designating the fossil fish species Dunkleosteus terrelli (a mean-looking critter) as the official Fossil Fish of Ohio. Dunkleosteus is the second fossil animal and third geologic state symbol to be added to Ohio’s list. The new official Fossil Fish can be found in (you guessed it)…shale deposits.
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OH Supremes Say Landowner Looked Hard Enough, Keeps Mineral Rights

The Ohio Supreme Court just delivered a decision that affects one particular landowner (and former mineral rights owner), but also has implications for all Ohio landowners and rights owners. And by extension, implications for drillers that pay royalty payments. The Supremes found in Gerrity v. Chervenak that the landowners in the case (the Chervenaks) did enough due diligence when searching for the rights owner who had moved out of the area. The Supremes said the landowner performed the proper steps to reclaim ownership of the severed mineral rights under their land.
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Ohio Passes Bill Punishing Illegal Protesters at O&G Sites

Anti-fossil fuelers love to protest things. Fine. Let them protest. This is (still) America. But when antis tip over into illegal acts like blocking legal activities of building pipelines or drilling wells, or when antis tip over into acts of vandalism like destroying equipment, that’s NOT okay. Antis call it “protesting.” We call it criminal behavior. A bill just passed in the Ohio legislature calls such activity what it is–crimes. And now (provided Gov. DeWine signs the bill into law, which is expected), such miscreants will pay stiff fines and in some cases do jail time for their crimes.
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M-U Drillers Increasingly Shut-In Wells to Boost Gas Price, Profits

By now it’s a cliche to say that 2020 has been an exceptional year–and not in a good way. For the first time in our memory of writing MDN, we witnessed widespread curtailments or “shut-ins” of wells in the Marcellus/Utica during 2020. That is, drillers voluntarily turned the values off and flowed less gas in a bid to (a) not sell the gas at prices that don’t return a profit, and (b) drive up the price of gas (see M-U Shut-ins Help Keep Regional Gas Prices Stable…for Now). Will that trend continue in 2021?
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OH Supreme Court Makes Mineral Rights Disputes More Confusing

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 the Ohio Dormant Minerals Act (DMA). In February 2019, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals said the MTA *does* still apply to mineral rights. The Seventh Circuit then ruled in a second case in April 2019, reaffirming yet again that yes, MTA applies to mineral rights. The Seventh Circuit ruled in a third case in October 2019 to say YES, the MTA still applies. In April, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to hear and rule on the matter too (see Case Affecting Surface & Mineral Owners Goes to OH Supreme Court). The Supremes ruled earlier this month, making the issue even more confusing.
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