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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

More Utica Drilling on the Way in Washington County, OH?

We’re always on the lookout for signals–little things that we notice that may indicate where drilling will increase or decrease. We think we’ve found another one. EdgeMarc Energy is a small driller headquartered in the Pittsburgh area, formed in 2012. The company, according to their website, now has 50,000 acres leased in the Marcellus and Utica Shales. In checking our Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook series, we’ve not found a single permit issued to EdgeMarc, ever, but we have found a reference on MDN to a joint venture with Magnum Hunter Resources (see Magnum Hunter JV Deal with EdgeMarc to Drill 1,080 Acres in OH). EdgeMarc’s jv with MHR is interesting because the 1,080 acres targeted for jv drilling are in Washington County, Ohio, a county that has seen some, but not a lot, of Utica Shale drilling in the past (an average of 1 permit a month). Here’s the signal we’ve found that perhaps EdgeMarc, or jv partner Magnum Hunter, is about to ramp up more drilling in Washington County, Ohio…
Continue reading

EnLink OH Condensate Pipe in Trouble? Open Season Extended Again

EnLink Midstream is clearly having trouble getting enough business to justify building a new condensate pipeline in Ohio. In August 2014, EnLink announced a new 45-mile condensate pipeline that will stretch across Guernsey, Noble and Washington counties in Ohio (see EnLink Midstream Announces New Condensate Pipeline in ORV). The project, which connects to another EnLink pipeline in Washington County, is called the Ohio River Valley Pipeline, or ORV. In mid-December, EnLink launched a 30-day binding open season for shippers to sign up for capacity on the new pipeline (see EnLink Launches 1 Month Open Season for ORV Condensate Pipeline). An open season is the time when shippers sign on the dotted line and commit to paying for and using the pipeline when it’s built. If EnLink doesn’t get enough customers, they won’t build it. In January EnLink announced there were extending the open season another six weeks (see EnLink Extends Open Season for OH Condensate Pipeline by 6 Weeks). Those six weeks have come and gone, and guess what? EnLink has just announced they’re extending the open season again, another six weeks…
Continue reading

OH Village Gets $307K Signing Bonus, 18.25% Royaly to Lease 72 Acres

Last night, the village of New Matamoras, in Washington County, OH, was handed a check for $307,687.25. The general fund budget for all of 2014 was $121,368! The check came from MNW Energy, which is acting as the land broker for Triad Hunter (a division of Magnum Hunter Resources). The money is the up-front lease signing bonus for 72 acres of village owned-land that Triad plans to drill under. The payment amounts to a signing bonus of $4,275 per acre. When and if Triad drills, the village will get an 18.25% royalty on all gas/liquids produced. The biggest “problem” Matamoras had was how to cash the check! The next “problem” they have is how they’ll spend it. Here’s the low-down…
Continue reading

EnLink Extends Open Season for OH Condensate Pipeline by 6 Weeks

In August 2014, EnLink Midstream announced a new 45-mile condensate pipeline that will stretch across Guernsey, Noble and Washington counties in Ohio (see EnLink Midstream Announces New Condensate Pipeline in ORV). EnLink calls the project, which connects to another EnLink pipeline in Washington County, the Ohio River Valley Pipeline. In mid-December EnLink launched a 30-day binding open season for shippers to sign up for capacity on the new pipeline (see EnLink Launches 1 Month Open Season for ORV Condensate Pipeline). Midstream companies won’t build expensive pipelines (this one will cost $250 million) unless they have 15-20 contracts in place to guarantee they’ll make their money back. Today EnLink announced they’re extending the open season another six weeks–to the end of February. Oh oh, must mean they don’t yet have enough interested customers to build it…
Continue reading

WV/OH Officials Going on Field Trip to Prepare for Cracker Plant

The Odebrecht ethane cracker plant planned for the Parkersburg, WV area continues to walk/smell/act/behave like it’s the real deal. The latest evidence: Odebrecht has told area officials around Parkersburg, you need to be prepared for when the 100% official announcement comes, cause at that point, things will happen fast. So area officials are boning up now to be prepared for an influx of people and jobs–both a good thing, and a challenge. Area officials from Wood County, WV and neighboring Washington County, OH will head to the bitter-cold north country–Minot, North Dakota–in January (!) to see how that community has dealt with a rapidly expanding population and influx of new jobs due to the Bakken Shale…
Continue reading

Marietta’s City-Owned Land for Lease Tied Up (Again) by City Council

For (quite) a while now the city of Marietta, OH has tried to get leases of city-owned property for drilling under (not on) to extract Utica Shale gas. The first time around they tried, they delayed and it cost them (see Delay in Leasing City-Owned Land Costs Marietta, OH Big $). They decided to try again, with five different parcels (see Marietta Tries 2nd Time to Lease City Land for Utica Drilling). MNW Energy, a leasing company for Protege Energy, originally offered to lease Gunlock Park and Goose Run Road (two of the five parcels) for $4,750 per acre signing bonus and 17.5% royalties. Looks like that deal is back on the table and the city is reviewing it–hopefully in a more timely manner this time around. The problem is, it appears city council is once again frittering around…
Continue reading

EnLink Midstream Announces New Condensate Pipeline in ORV

Earlier this year, midstream company Crosstex Energy merged with the midstream division of shale driller Devon Energy and gave birth to a new company–EnLink Midstream (see Time to Congratulate Devon & Crosstex on the Birth of EnLink). EnLink has a small but growing presence in the northeast, including the Utica Shale. EnLink’s commitment to the Ohio River Valley (Utica Shale) has just doubled by adding another $250 million committed to a project that will build a new 45-mile condensate pipeline and add compressor stations in Noble, Belmont, and Guernsey counties…
Continue reading

Marietta Tries 2nd Time to Lease City Land for Utica Drilling

The City of Marietta, OH has several parcels of land they’re interested in leasing for Utica gas drilling: (1) Gunlock Park, behind the Walmart complex off Pike Streeet, (2) city-owned land along Goose Run Road in Marietta Township, (3) city garage property off Alderman Street, and (4) Buckeye Park off Acme and Greene Streets, and (5) the Kroger swap (i.e. “wetlands”) off Acme Street. All five locations total 95 acres. MDN reported that because city council snoozed, they lost out on an earlier opportunity to lease the Gunlock Park and Goose Run properties (35 acres) back in May (see Delay in Leasing City-Owned Land Costs Marietta, OH Big $). The city will run a second advertisement (legal requirement) to lease all parcels, and once again, they may have some interest. If they don’t botch it this time…
Continue reading