XTO Selling 9,400 OH Utica Acres in Monroe & Washington Counties

XTO Energy, the shale drilling arm of Exxon Mobil, wants to sell ~9,400 Ohio Utica Shale acres in Monroe and Washington counties. Have no fear, XTO isn’t going anywhere. According to XTO’s website, the company currently owns 82,000 acres of Utica Shale leases in Belmont and Monroe counties. The tiny 9,400-acre sale appears to us to be selling off acreage in areas that don’t fit with XTO’s future drilling plans. XTO maintains a regional office in Belmont County. According to the sale announcement appearing on Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse, there are potentially 40 drilling locations on the 9,400 acres. The acreage has dry gas potential. The sale is not exactly an auction, but it is timed and uses bids. XTO is accepting sealed bids on the property through May 17. Here’s a copy of the listing, along with a flyer…
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Blue Ridge Mountain Res. Jazzed by Utica Wells in Washington, OH

Blue Ridge Mountain Resources is jazzed about a pair of Utica wells originally drilled in 2014, but completed this past December, located in Washington County, OH. Blue Ridge is the renamed remnant of Magnum Hunter Resources. Magnum Hunter filed for bankruptcy in December 2015, emerging from bankruptcy in May 2016 minus CEO Gary Evans (see Magnum Hunter Emerges from Bankruptcy with CEO Gary Evans Gone). Looking to shed the image of the past, the company renamed itself as Blue Ridge in January 2017 (see Magnum Hunter Changes Its Name, Leaves the Bankrupt Past Behind). Blue Ridge is 100% focused on the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays. The company’s current production is 100 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d). They own 119,000 acres of leases with huge potential–96% of their acreage is not yet developed (i.e. undrilled). In 2014 Magnum Hunter drilled two Utica wells in Washington County, OH but never completed them. In December Blue Ridge completed those wells. The early production results from the two wells is very encouraging and has allowed Blue Ridge to “de-risk” 6,700 surrounding acres that will support another 40-50 new wells. Translation: Washington County landowners signed with Blue Ridge can expect drilling activity soon…
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1st Marietta College Oil and Gas Technical Exposition Big Success

Credit: Marietta College

Hats off to the smart and ambitious kids at Marietta (OH) College. A group of students in the college’s oil and gas program planned and hosted the first Marietta College Oil and Gas Technical Exposition (MCOGTE) last Friday. There were 51 companies exhibiting at the event. The event drew over 400 attendees–students, members of the oil and gas industry, and members of the local community. There were five large pieces of equipment prominently on display: Halliburton’s Data Van, a Halliburton 30-foot long mud motor, a Nine Energy wireline truck, a Wagner torque and test unit, and an Aqua Source lab. These kids know how to put on a good show! The event offered opportunities to learn and network. Callum Streeter, COO of EdgeMarc Energy and president of Appalachia AADE (American Association of Drilling Engineers) was the keynote speaker. Below is a roundup of what happened at the event…
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Utica Production in Washington County, OH Tumbles, PDC Pulls Out

Washington County, OH, along the southeastern tip of active Utica drilling, has never been known as a hotbed of Utica drilling. However, there is at least some drilling in the county. In 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 there were eight (8) active Utica wells producing hydrocarbons–gas and oil and NGLs. Those eight wells are owned by three companies: Edgemarc Energy, Protege Energy and PDC Energy. PDC, you may recall, announced in May that it has put all of its remaining Utica assets up for sale, including wells/land in Washington County, so it can use the proceeds to drill for oil in Texas and Colorado (see PDC Energy Pulling Out of the Utica – Selling Acreage & Wells). What does that mean for Washington County? Because no new drilling has taken place, production is, understandably, falling. In 1Q17 oil production fell 39% and natural gas production fell 20% from the the previous quarter. That trend will continue unless/until new drilling happens. Here’s an update on Washington County, OH and on PDC Energy pulling out…
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OH Supremes to Decide if Landowner Getting Free Gas can End Lease

Here’s a case in Ohio that has the potential to impact Utica Shale, as well as conventional, leases. According to OOGA (the Ohio Oil and Gas Association) it has the potential to affect “the validity and viability of thousands of oil and gas leases across the state.” In brief, a conventional gas well was drilled on property in Washington County, OH in 1951. The landowner later agreed to exchange royalty payments for free, unlimited gas to her home. Leases can be terminated if they stop producing profitable amounts of oil and gas. Between 1977 and 1981 there was no commercial sale of gas from the well–but the landowner kept getting her free gas. Using that five-year period of time of no commercial output, the landowner filed paperwork to declare the lease has been terminated and reverts back to her, the landowner. The driller says she continued receiving her “royalty payments” (i.e. free gas) even though nothing was sold from the well–and that’s enough to keep the lease in effect. There appear to be strong arguments on both parts, and apparently this arrangement of receiving free gas in lieu of royalty payments is not uncommon in Ohio. So the Ohio Supreme Court will decide, having recently heard oral arguments…
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MDN Exclusive: 2016 Ohio Wastewater Disposal Market Report

We are super excited to bring you an exclusive report that has just been released by MDN subscriber Andrew Kilgore. The report is titled “2016 Ohio Wastewater Disposal Market Report” (full copy below) and it details the wastewater injection well industry in Ohio. Andrew has spent most of his career working in the Appalachian Basin. He is an alumnus of BlueJack Energy (see Wastewater Co. BlueJack Energy Launches with $100M Investment), EnLink Midstream, and co-founder of UM Resources. Andrew authored the report and offered to let MDN be the first media outlet to release it. We thank him! The report finds that in 2016 the total amount of wastewater disposed of in Ohio was 29.4 million barrels–almost 2 million fewer barrels disposed of compared to 2015. The majority of the decline was from wastewater from out-of-state slowing down (i.e. from Pennsylvania and West Virginia). The report outlines a number of reasons for the decline in wastewater volume disposed in OH, with the primary reason being less drilling due to the low commodity price of natural gas. A few quick facts from the report: Washington County, OH saw the most volume of wastewater disposed. Buckeye Brine processed the most wastewater volume. Here’s the full report…
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Artex Energy Selling 14,885 Utica Acres in Eastern Ohio

Artex Energy Group, a subsidiary (on paper) of Marietta, OH-based Artex Oil Company, is selling 14,885 Utica Shale acres located in Noble, Guernsey, Washington and Tuscarawas Counties (southeastern OH). On its website, Artex claims it is “one of the largest oil and gas producers in Ohio” pumping out “millions of dollars per year in royalties to landowners.” The company says it has drilled and operates “more than 600 operated wells in Ohio.” Some of those wells are Utica Shale wells. However, many of their wells are conventional (vertical only) non-shale wells. The auction notice says 87% of the leases being offered are held by production. Over 2,000 acres is part of a joint venture Artex has with Antero Resources on land in Noble and Washington Counties. Artex is accepting bids now and will accept bids through March 2nd, with a target closing date of March 31st. Here are the particulars of what is being offered for sale…
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Close-up on Petrogas Co: A New Player in the Ohio Utica?

A couple of weeks ago four companies won bids on 17 parcels totaling 719 acres of federal land (for Utica Shale drilling) in the Ohio Wayne National Forest (see OH Wayne National Forest – List of Auction Winners). We recognized three of the winners: Eclipse Resources, Flat Rock Development, and Gulfport Energy. But we didn’t recognize the fourth as a Utica driller: Petrogas Company. Then we spotted a couple of press releases from Petrogas touting their first “successfully purchased two oil and gas leases in the Eastern States” with the added statement they are “looking forward to exploring the potential in this area.” Petrogas says in its press release that it is an exploration and production company (E&P, or what we call a driller) “focused on the acquisition of properties in areas with significant oil reserves and drilling potential.” So we began to dig. First, the land Petrogas leased in WNF amounts to a grand total of 3.7 acres, for which they paid the princely sum of $2,705.50. No, they won’t be drilling on 3.7 acres any time soon. Then we further dug and discovered that Petrogas is a Chinese-backed company with an office in Houston, TX, that started life as an entertainment company and is operated by what appears to be one guy. A guy who apparently knows how to publish press releases that sound big and and important…
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BLM Launches Auction to Lease Wayne National Forest for Fracking

auctionIt’s been 10 looooooong years, but finally the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just posted a lease sale auction for 33 parcels in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF). Although there are some 18,000 acres under consideration for leasing by the BLM in WNF, this first batch amounts to about 1,600 acres–most of it in Monroe County, OH. Monroe is a prime location for Utica Shale drilling. WNF is the only national forest in Ohio and portions of it are found in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Those mineral rights owners have been denied the use of their property rights for a decade. The BLM controls drilling on federally-protected lands like WNF. Last November the BLM held a series of hearings about finally beginning to drill in WNF. With this auction, it appears that not only will public land get leased, but drilling on private land in WNF can go forward as well…
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OH Man Blames Pipeline Construction for Driving his Car into Ditch

Blue Racer MidstreamA Washington County, OH man is not happy with Blue Racer Midstream’s construction work on a new pipeline in the area. Heavy rain washed out gravel used as fill for the project. The man was on his way home (rural area) and ran into a ditch because, he says, the work was not done well and is “destroying” area roadways. Here’s the story of a man, a car, a ditch and a rainy night…
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Ohio Injection Wells Under ODNR Microscope

Water Energy Services has completed the final part of a project that eliminates the need for trucks to climb Harmer Hill, hauling brine to an injection well located along Ohio Route 676 in Washington County, OH. Instead, brine is hauled to and deposited at a facility on Ohio Route 7, and from there the brine is pumped, via pipeline, to three injection wells at the top of Harmar Hill. Just to give you an idea of how closely regulated these injection wells (and the pumping station) are, inspectors from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) make 2-3 inspections PER WEEK of the facility. There’s seismic monitors for each of the three injection wells that constantly report their data directly to the state. Every load of brine brought to the facility is tracked and logged. This facility (and others like) are, quite literally, under the ODNR microscope, which should alleviate resident’s concerns…
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Small Progress with Drilling in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest

There’s been some progress on the now nearly 10-year delay in drilling in the Wayne National Forest (WNF) in Ohio. WNF is the only national forest in Ohio and portions of it are found in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Those mineral rights owners have been denied the use of their property rights going on a decade. It’s a travesty. The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) controls drilling on federally-protected lands like WNF. Last November the BLM held a series of hearings about finally beginning to drill in WNF. The hearing held in Marietta (Washington County) was civil and orderly, with landowners respectfully asking questions and getting answers (see Overwhelming Support for Wayne Natl Forest Drilling @ BLM Mtg). The hearing held in Athens, OH, a hotbed of lefty lunatics, got out of control when they didn’t have a microphone to throw up on (see Anti-Frackers Out of Control at Athens Mtg on Wayne Natl Forest). Athens antis can breathe easy. The BLM has decided to wait on pursuing drilling in the “Athens Unit” until 2017. However, the BLM is taking the next step in the “Marietta Unit” now…
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Overwhelming Support for Wayne Natl Forest Drilling @ BLM Mtg

On Tuesday, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a hearing on the possibility of allowing shale drilling in Wayne National Forest (WNF), the only national forest in Ohio with portions in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Some 250 landowners turned up at a hearing in Marietta (Washington County), OH to show their support for drilling in WNF…
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9 Years Later Fracking Set to Begin in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest (WNF) is the only national forest in Ohio and portions of it are found in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Back in 2012 MDN told you that the U.S Forest Service, after holding up drilling in WNF since 2006, had cleared the way to allow fracking to begin (see Fracking Coming to Wayne National Forest in SE OH). Then any potential fracking came to a screeching halt because it was delayed by yet another federal agency–the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Since 2012 the BLM has moved like a snail, but finally (finally!) the BLM has scheduled public scoping hearings for Nov. 17, 18 and 19. Things are moving once again. Once the hearings are done, there will no reason not to move forward with plans to drill (and frack!) in the WNF…
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GreenHunter Sues 2 Former VPs + OH Competitor for Conspiracy

lawsuit8/4/17: There is an important update to this story. The lawsuit brought by GreenHunter was dismissed in June 2017. Please see this post for more details: GreenHunter Lawsuit Against Former Employees Dismissed.

A lawsuit filed by GreenHunter Resources against two former vice presidents of the company is just coming to light. On October 15 GreenHunter filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Ohio against John Jack, former vice president of Appalachia operations for GreenHunter, and against Rick Zickefoose, former vice president and operations manager at GreenHunter. The lawsuit also names Dean Grose, CEO of Comtech Industries and a principle with Water Energy Services–both competitors of GreenHunter. The lawsuit alleges that Jack and Zickefoose shared company secrets with a competitor and then left to work for that competitor, damaging GreenHunter in the process. Some of those secrets–a key part of it–dealt with GreenHunter’s talks with the U.S. Coast Guard over barging brine down the Ohio River…
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Marcellus Driller EdgeMarc Gets $300M from Ontario Teachers

money bagEdgeMarc Energy is a small driller headquartered in the Pittsburgh area, formed in 2012. The company has leased 50,000 acres in the Marcellus and Utica Shales. On Monday EdgeMarc issued a press release to announce they’ve attracted a new investor–the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan–which has promised the company up to $300 million in cash in return for part ownership (called an “equity commitment”). The announcement also says EdgeMarc currently drills and produces natural gas in Monroe and Washington counties in Ohio, and Butler County in Pennsylvania. In checking the latest issue of our 2015 Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook series, Volume 2, we find that EM Energy (which we assume is EdgeMarc) received permits to drill or continue work on 11 different wells in Butler County from May through August 2015 (see our Databook chart below). Including an existing equity commitment from Goldman Sachs, EdgeMarc, a private company, has now sold off $750 million worth of the company to outside investors…
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