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Monday, August 3, 2015

Stark State Receives $3.26 Million in Grants for Oil and Gas Program

From Gas & Oil:
Stark State College has been awarded $3.26 million in grants from the Department of Labor (DOL) and The Timken Foundation to fund oil and gas related labs and equipment, according to information released by the college in June. 
The college said it plans to use the funds for course-related activities at the Energy Innovation Center in its downtown Canton Satellite Center, scheduled for completion this year. 
The $2.76 million from DOL and $500,000 from The Timken Foundation will fund education training systems for associate degree and certificate programs related to the growing oil and gas industry. Stark State said it plans to offer programs in welding, water sampling and analysis, safety, surveying, industrial operations, maintenance and more.
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Links for 8/3/15: More 2nd Quarter Results, Activists Making Death Threats, and More

Williams Companies Inc:  Williams Partners 2015 Second-Quarter Financial Results   -   "Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) today reported second quarter 2015 adjusted EBITDA of $1.01 billion, a $291 million, or 41 percent, increase from second quarter 2014. The increase in adjusted EBITDA for second quarter 2015 is due to increases of..."

Antero Resources:  Antero Resources Reports Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results   -   "Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR) ("Antero" or the "Company") today released its second quarter 2015 financial results. The relevant financial statements are included in Antero's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2015, which has been filed with theSecurities and Exchange Commission ("SEC")..."

Seventy Seven Energy Inc:  Seventy Seven Energy Inc. Announces Second Quarter 2015 Operational and Financial Results   -   "SSE reported total revenues of $295.1 million for the second quarter of 2015, a 31% decrease compared to revenues of $429.8 million for the first quarter of 2015, and a 46% decrease compared to revenues of $549.5 million for the second quarter of 2014. During the second quarter of 2015, SSE sold..."

Forbes:  Nimby Nation: The High Cost To America Of Saying No To Everything   -   "For more than 50 years Onyx Specialty Papers of South Lee, Mass. has carved out a niche selling unusual, high-value products like the Kevlar-reinforced paper used in automobile clutch plates. The company’s twin 100-foot-long paper machines sit in a 150-year-old brick building on the Housatonic River, churning out 12,000 tons of..."  Critics Refute Study That Blames Fracking for ND High School Dropouts   -   "A recent study links higher rates of high school dropouts to hydraulic fracturing, but critics say North Dakota schools’ education priorities are more to blame. “Our estimates imply that, absent fracking, the male-female gap in..."  FBI Investigating Death Threats Made Against PennEast Pipeline Employees   -   "The FBI is investigating letters that were sent to the PennEast pipeline company threatening to kill people connected to the proposed $1.2 billion project, officials said Thursday. The company that is proposing..."

Reuters:  Marathon: Alkylation Can Satisfy Higher Octane Demand   -   "U.S. motorists are using more "premium" high-octane gasoline as low oil prices led to cheaper fill-ups at the pump. But even if prices rebound, octane demand will keep growing in the long term as fuel economy standards strengthen, Marathon Petroleum Corp Chief Executive Gary Heminger said on..."

TribLIVE:  Range Resources Cuts Workforce 11%   -   "Range Resources Corp. cut 11 percent of its workforce this year as it reduced costs to deal with low natural gas prices, the company disclosed Wednesday. In addition to about 60 jobs that were lost when it closed an Oklahoma City office in February, the Fort Worth-based company in May cut 41 jobs connected..."

The Courier:  MPLX Earnings Climb 78 Percent   -   "Profit ballooned 78 percent to $51.2 million last quarter at MPLX, Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s pipeline and logistics subsidiary, the company reported Thursday.  The profit increase in the April-June quarter from a year earlier was due to MPLX buying additional interests in Marathon Petroleum subsidiaries. Earnings per common unit amounted to 50 cents, compared with 37 cents..."

Business Journal Daily:  Vallourec Loses $217M in 2Q, More Losses Ahead   -   "Vallourec, the French company that operates the huge pipe and threading mills here, says it lost 199 million euros, or $217 million, in the second quarter, and its CEO expects 2015’s full results to reflect the “worst-case scenario.” Vallourec eliminated 1,600 jobs worldwide during the first half of the year, including “60 to 80” jobs at its pipe mill here, which the company announced July 9 would be..."

Seeking Alpha:  Why Gulfport Energy Acquired Additional Acreage in the Utica Shale   -   "Gulfport Energy (NASDAQ: GPOR) is an oil and gas E&P player in the U.S. The company's properties are primarily located in the Utica Shale, but the company also has acreage positions in other countries such as Canada and Thailand through its various equity interests. The Utica Shale is well known for..."

EQT Investor Center:  EQT Releases Seven-Day Data for Utica Well   -   "EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT) today announced completion of the flow-back operation on its Scotts Run 591340 dry Utica well located in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Last week, EQT Corporation announced the well’s 24-hour deliverability test of 72.9 MMcf per day, with an average..."

Marcellus Drilling News:  Blue Racer Midstream CEO Says Utica Shale Better Than Marcellus (subscription required)   -   "In an article published in the July issue of The American Oil & Gas Reporter titled “Midstream Adjusts For Emerging Utica,” Mr. Arata makes this prediction about the Utica: “Arata predicts development of the Utica is about to take off. ‘The rock in the Utica is great,’ he enthuses. ‘The core of the rich part of the Utica is..."

Gas & Oil:  Hess Corporation Receives Ohio Association of Community Colleges Excellence Award for Partnership with Belmont College   -   "Belmont College is pleased to announce that its ongoing partnership with Hess Corporation is now award winning. The Ohio Association of Community Colleges recently presented the Excellence Awards on June 12, during a luncheon at the annual conference at Cuyahoga Community College. Through a nomination by Belmont College’s president, Paul Gasparro, Hess Corporation was awarded..."

USA Today:  Amid Oil Downturn, Silver Lining for Shale Producers?   -   "Just look at second-quarter earnings, which largely show disappointing results again for oil companies and their shareholders. But while there may be no end in sight for the industry’s dilemma, there may be a silver lining for producers, especially those using the downturn to hone drilling techniques, like hydraulic fracturing, to reinforce their..."

Natural Gas Now:  Shale Gas is Saving the Earth   -   "Shale gas is changing the world. It is saving the earth in myriad ways that most industry outsiders don’t even begin to comprehend, let alone talk about. Prior to the shale revolution, natural gas was an expensive premium fuel. Now there’s so much of it, some smart people are thinking about alternate uses. We already know about natural gas transportation for trucks, buses and fleets. Up to forty percent of..."

PR Newswire:  Chestnut Ridge Storage, LLC Announces an Open Season for Services at the Junction Natural Gas Storage Facility in Southwest Pennsylvania   -   "Chestnut Ridge Storage, LLC, owned by affiliates of eCORP International, LLC and financial partners, is conducting a non-binding Open Season for natural gas storage capacity and deliverability that will be offered at the Junction Natural Gas Storage Facility that is currently under development. The Open Season for the initial 15 BCF of working gas capacity will begin on..."

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Athens County Warned About Being Led by Activist Group Behind Fracking Bans

CELDF founder Thomas Linzey
From the Athens News:
The county charter/community bill of rights for Athens County appears headed toward the Nov. 3 ballot, but it’s important for residents to be aware of its limitations and potential consequences.

This isn’t intended to recommend how residents vote on the proposed county charge (not yet), but rather that when they vote yes or no, they do so with eyes wide open.

Or another way of putting it, the question isn’t whether stopping oil and gas injection wells and regulating fracking are worthy endeavors (I think they are), but rather whether city and county community bill of rights amendments will accomplish that goal. Evidence strongly suggests they won’t.

Even if the Athens County charter/community bill of rights wins in a landslide, it likely will have no effect on oil-and-gas drilling activities (including injection wells) in Athens County. If you’re voting for this measure to protect county water resources and the environment in general, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the results.

Courts in Ohio and elsewhere across the country have ruled against similar community bill of rights and charters purportedly designed to ban or restrict fracking and other oil and gas drilling activities. Nearly all of these laws were either written by, or based on measures written by, an insurgent outfit in Pennsylvania, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).
Read much more in this article by clicking here.

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Energy in Depth Responds to Stanford Study on Fracking

We mentioned yesterday on the blog a new study from Stanford professor Rob Jackson.  It is the latest study to find no actual water contamination from fracking, although Jackson's focus in the study's conclusion was to focus on the potential for such contamination to occur.

Energy in Depth, an industry-backed site, has posted an article about this study.  Below you can read it in its entirety.

New Stanford Study Confirms No Contamination from Fracking, “Shallow” or Not

by Dave Quast, Energy in Depth

Researchers led by Rob Jackson of Stanford University recently released a study in the journalEnvironmental Science and Technology that suggests that shallower wells could pose more risk to groundwater than deeper ones. (You may recall Dr. Jackson from previous fracking-related work he did while at Duke University.)
In the Stanford study, Dr. Jackson and his coauthors found no evidence of the fracking process contaminating groundwater, which is consistent with studies released in the past several weeks by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).
According the report’s press release:
“Using innovative techniques such as isotopic “tracer” compounds that distinguish the source of chemicals in well water, Jackson has not found evidence that frack water contaminants seep upward to drinking-water aquifers from deep underground.”
The researchers simply claim there are potential risks from shallower wells, but they do not provide convincing evidence that these risks are plausible.  Further, existing evidence from other studies, and from 65 years of practical experience, do not support such a conclusion.
Fact #1: Landmark studies find no contamination from shallower wells
The researchers claim,
“Using 44000 observations of hydraulic fracturing depths reported to FracFocus between 2008 and 2013, we address three questions: (1) What are the range of depths and water use for hydraulic fracturing across the United States?; (2) In which states and at what locations has the shallowest high-volume hydraulic fracturing occurred?; (3) What policy protections are or might be put in place to minimize the risk of direct contamination of drinking water from hydraulic fracturing?” (Stanford Study, Page B)
The study, then, assumed a greater risk of water contamination based on well depth. However, the most recent existing peer-reviewed study involving fracking and water quality is one the Stanford authors cite – a peer-reviewed report by the independent California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), which was released in the last few weeks. The study notes among other things that approximately half of the hydraulically fractured wells in California were found at depths less than 2,000 feet from the surface.
The CCST study then clearly states that even shallow wells have not been contaminated:
“We found no documented instances of hydraulic fracturing or acid stimulations directly causing groundwater contamination in California.”    Page 52  [Emphasis added]
Another landmark national study drew the same conclusion earlier this month. The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted its own comprehensive, five year study on wells around the country, including the shallowest hydraulic fractured wells: those involving coal-bed methane (CBM).
The EPA concluded:
“From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which  hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources…We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” (ES-6) [Emphasis added]
Well depths of the investigated areas were as shallow as 350 feet, and seven of the major coal basins had depths lower than 1,000 feet.
This confirms a 2004 EPA study specifically related to shallow CBM wells that concluded:
“Based on the information collected and reviewed, EPA has concluded that the injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into [CBM] wells poses little or no threat to USDWs [underground sources of drinking water] and does not justify additional study at this time.” (Section 7.4)
Whether in extra-shallow CBM wells or much-deeper shale wells, we would know about anyproven links between fracking and water contamination if they existed, not least because anti-industry activists would trumpet them from the proverbial (or perhaps literal) rooftops. As it happens, when asked at a U.S. Senate hearing by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to name a specific instance of fracking contaminating groundwater, representatives of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council were unable to do so.
Fact #2: Hydraulic fracturing accounts for a fraction of one percent of total water use

California Study Doesn't Find Impacts From Fracking, But Focuses on Potential Dangers

From the Los Angeles Daily News:
The study found that while there is little evidence of widespread negative health and environmental effects directly related to fracking, there are huge gaps in record-keeping and data necessary to understand whether the practice is causing small earthquakes, contaminating future drinking water supplies and injuring nearby residents. 
Oil producers, it says, should not be allowed unlimited use of hazardous chemicals because there are hundreds of harmful substances being injected underground without study.

What’s more, the federal government is allowing oil producers to discharge fracking and other well-stimulation discharge into the ocean and isn’t keeping accurate records on those discharges. The first federal study on well-stimulation methods, released last month, found that the practices are largely safe but that there is insufficient data to truly know whether damage to the environment and human health is taking place. 
“We should be looking for the direct impacts and preventing them with precautionary measures,” Long said. “All chemicals should be revealed. We should know the toxicity and environmental profiles for all of them and work corroboratively with the industry on how to reduce them.”
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Shale Activity Keeps Driving Hotel Construction in Belmont County

From WTOV 9:

As hotels continue to pop up all over the Belmont County hillsides, another readies to open in a matter of hours. 
It’s led Cafaro Company spokesman Joe Bell to suggest now, more than ever, is a boom time for the hotel industry in the county, as the drilling industry continues to spike a staggering demand for local housing. 
"They’re finding now that when they open these hotels, within a few weeks, they're topping out at 90 percent occupancy," Bell said. 
On the perimeter of the Ohio Valley Mall, part of that demand is still a work in progress.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Study Finds No Evidence of Fracking Contaminating Water, But Still Sounds Alarm on Possible Impacts

Rob Jackson
From the Stanford Woods Institute:
Stanford scientist's investigations show that drinking water sources may be threatened by thousands of shallow oil and gas wells mined with the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing. A new study suggests safeguards.

The United States now produces about as much crude oil as Saudi Arabia does, and enough natural gas to export in large quantities. That's thanks to hydraulic fracturing, a mining practice that involves a rock-cracking pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals. 
Ongoing research by Stanford environmental scientist Rob Jackson attempts to minimize the risks of "fracking" to underground drinking water sources. 
The most recent such study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, finds that at least 6,900 oil and gas wells in the U.S. were fracked less than a mile (5,280 feet) from the surface, and at least 2,600 wells were fracked at depths shallower than 3,000 feet, some as shallow as 100 feet. This occurs despite many reports that describe fracking as safe for drinking water only if it occurs at least thousands of feet to a mile underground, according to Jackson. 
The authors also estimated water use for hydraulic fracturing in each state. The states with the highest average water use per well were Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. 
Perhaps most surprisingly, the researchers discovered that at least 2,350 wells less than one mile deep had been fracked using more than 1 million gallons of water each. Shallower high-volume hydraulic fracturing poses a greater potential threat to underground water sources because there is so little separation between the chemicals pumped underground and the drinking water above them. 
"Shallow hydraulic fracturing is surprisingly common," said Jackson, the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Provostial Professor in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy. "The places where hydraulic fracturing is both shallow and water-intensive may need additional safeguards." 
For example, Arkansas had more than 300 wells fracked shallower than 3,000 feet, using an average of 5 million gallons of water and chemicals. Other states that fracked wells shallower than 3,000 feet using more than a million gallons each included New Mexico (16), Texas (10), Pennsylvania (seven) and California (two).
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Lack of Pipelines Still Slowing Things Down in Utica Shale

From Crain's Cleveland Business:
In Ohio’s Utica shale, getting the natural gas out of the rock is the easy part. 
Getting it out of the state, however, where it can fetch a decent price, is another matter entirely. 
“The problem we have in this entire play is we’re still behind on midstream infrastructure and we need pipelines to get the gas out of the region,” said Ned Hill, an economist and former dean at Cleveland State University, now with Ohio State University, who has been studying Ohio’s shale boom. 
Midstream means pipelines and processing plants for the most part. It’s the part of the oil and gas industry that either gets natural gas to end markets like Canada or the East Coast — where it sells for a fair bit more than it does in gas-drenched Ohio — or the part that separates out natural gas liquids like propane, butane and ethane and processes them. 
In other words, it’s the highway to lucrative markets for the Utica shale’s two chief commodities — methane and ethane — and so far there are not enough lanes open.
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