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Friday, November 27, 2015

Agricultural Sector to Benefit from New Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure: New Study

From a press release from Ohio State Grange:
The Ohio State Grange today released a new analysis examining the interrelationship between the agricultural sector and access to affordable natural gas supplies in Ohio and Michigan. The analysis, conducted by Hillsdale College Professors Dr. Gary Wolfram and Dr. Charles Steele, examines two key aspects of new underground natural gas pipeline projects: safety and the net benefits they deliver to the farming community.

“Agriculture is the traditional industry of America’s Midwest and the livelihood of millions of Americans,” said Lisa Tharp, Legislative Director of the Ohio State Grange. “It’s important to recognize the positive impact that natural gas pipeline infrastructure will have on farming in the 21stcentury. Increasing access to affordable natural gas will serve as a great benefit to our region’s farmers that face increasing costs.”

In recent years, Ohio has become a new epicenter of energy development with natural gas production increasing from less than 7 billion cubic feet a day five years ago to more than 87 billion cubic feet a day today. The increase in production has led in turn to proposals, such as the Rover pipeline project, to build new pipeline infrastructure in Ohio and Michigan in order to move those products to market. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently reviewing the applications for proposed natural gas pipelines projects that would cross parts of Ohio and Michigan. For one such project, the Rover pipeline project, FERC recently released their proposed timeline for the project that would see a final decision made by end of October 2016.

“Farmers across our region and country are are projected to face falling agricultural commodity prices,” noted Dr. Wolfram. “Natural gas is a major component of farming operations and expenses. Building new natural gas infrastructure can reduce costs for famers by increasing access to affordable natural gas.”
View the new report below or by clicking here.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ohioans Thankful For Gas Price Drop to Six Year Lows, Saving Consumers $7 Billion

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

Ohioans have much to be thankful for this year. Not only has shale investment brought over $33 billion to the state (creating thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues), but this holiday season, travelers can be especially thankful for cheap prices at the pump.
Today, drivers from across the state have seen gas prices have fall to six year lows, dipping under $1.50 in some areas, a drop of more than 20 cents in just one week. In the Cincinnati area,gas prices have dropped 62 percent! That’s not the only good news this holiday season, either. The drop in gas prices means consumers will save a reported $7 billion at the pump during this holiday season, or about $40 per driver. So, feel free to invite your in-laws over for Thanksgiving, as this saving means Thanksgiving dinner for 8 people, according to the Farm Bureau. The Cincinnati Enquirer quoted Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy, who said,
“In Cincinnati the prices we’re seeing are at the lowest average since March 2009. At that time, the nation was struggling to emerge from the most precipitous economic downturn since the Great Depression.”
Of course, the lower gas prices are a direct result of our increase in shale development. Low gas prices impact every fabric of our society, and are particularly a welcomed relief to families during the holidays. As Marshall Doney, President and CEO of AAA said,
“This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007. While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones. One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway.
Take a look at some of the stations in Ohio over the last 24 hours, according to Gasbuddy:
As we know, shale development has pulled us out of that great depression, driving unemployment rates down in Ohio and across the country, and supporting middle class jobs with vigor. Now it’s providing low gas prices just in time for the holidays.
The Buckeye State is grateful for the harvesting of Utica shale, which has led to our economic recovery, savings at the pump, and ultimately more holiday cheer. Happy Thanksgiving!
Copyright Energy in Depth. Reprinted with permission.  View original here:

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Group in Ashtabula County Launches "Brine Ain't Fine" Campaign

From the Star Beacon:
Ashtabula County Water Watch, an all-volunteer grassroots environmental group, is preparing an educational campaign on the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing wastewater, or brine, called “Brine Ain’t Fine.” 
The campaign kicks off today, in conjunction with a “National Day of Action” organized by several national anti-fracking groups, and ACWW is seeking more volunteers to inform the local community about frackwater’s hazards.

Though brine is classified as saltwater — making it OK to dump into more than a dozen county Class II injection wells, or to spread on county roads as a dust suppressant — fracking chemicals in the brine solution are often radioactive or carcinogenic, as watchdog groups have found. 
Stephanie Blessing, an ACWW coordinator who also farms organic vegetables in Jefferson, said with the county government and municipalities’ recent concerted effort to stand up against the proliferation of injection wells — calling for a moratorium on new wells until local regulatory control is restored — now is the time to start a community discussion and spread awareness.

Blessing is a West Virginia transplant who helped organize Kentucky communities against mountaintop removal and coal mining in the state. The oil and gas industry is “the same monster,” she said.
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Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to Spend $1.4 Million in Oil and Gas Money on Improvements

From the Akron Beacon Journal:
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District will spend $1.4 million from gas and oil leasing revenue on improvements at three lakes. 
Charles Mill will get boat ramp and paving improvements. 
Leesville’s South Fork boat ramp will be replaced. 
Atwood will get a new handicapped accessible trail of 1,000 feet and an 800-foot-long pedestrian bridge connecting the parking lot at Marina West to the new Welcome Center at the park entrance. A new kayak-canoe launch is also planned.
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Energy Job Recruiter: Oil and Gas Industry Job Losses Exceed 233,000

From NGI:
Oil and gas industry losses worldwide now exceed 233,000 and are expected to continue into 2016, according to energy sector job recruiter Swift Worldwide Resources. 
The Houston-based firm said in mid-June that the number of job losses in the industry exceeded 150,000 (see Shale Daily, June 16). However, layoffs escalated through September. 
"As the end of November draws closer, the number of job losses is shown to be over 233,000," the firm said. 
Swift CEO Tobias Rad said the rate of job losses "has unfortunately increased, with almost 25,000 publicly announced job losses in the last two months alone." There's "limited incremental investment in the sector and no sign of an immediate turnaround," which means "the situation is likely to get worse." Total job losses now are forecast to exceed 250,000 in 2015, with more job losses expected in 2016. 
"With very limited new job openings for either direct hire employees or contractors, this figure represents a real and substantial loss to the upstream industry, which will be hard to replace once the market recovers," Read said.
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Investors Giving Up on Chesapeake Energy?

From Bloomberg:
Credit investors who lent $11 billion to Chesapeake Energy Corp. are starting to give up on the company, the second-biggest junk-debt issuer in the U.S. energy industry. 
Nearly all of the energy producer’s bonds plummeted to their lowest levels ever on Thursday as oil dropped toward a more-than six-year low. Chesapeake notes were the second-most actively traded in the high-yield market, just behind Petrobras Global Finance BV.

One of Chesapeake’s bonds dropped 9 cents on the dollar, while the price of credit-default swaps -- used by investors to protect against defaults -- rose to the highest ever. The company’s shares sank to a 13-year low.

"We are seeing investors capitulate to the reality of the situation," said John McClain, a money manager at Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, which oversees $16 billion. "They have a lot of debt, they are burning through cash and their earnings profile is not getting any better. They are trading worse than their credit rating suggests, and there is almost certainly a downgrade coming."
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Report: Earthquakes Linked to Less than One Percent of All U.S. Injection Wells

by Katie Brown, Energy in Depth

Fewer than one percent of wastewater injection wells across the United States have been potentially linked to induced seismicity, according to a new report by Energy In Depth. The report, entitled “Injection Wells and Earthquakes: Quantifying the Risk,” consults data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and several peer-reviewed studies to examine the number of injection wells that have been suspected as causing earthquakes, compared against the total number of operating injection wells. The report includes breakout statistics for several states as well, including OklahomaTexasColoradoNew MexicoOhioKansas, and Arkansas.
Below are the key findings, by the numbers:
  • Total number of U.S. disposal wells – 40,000 (approx.)
  • Number of U.S. disposal wells potentially linked to seismicity – 218
  • Percentage of U.S. disposal wells potentially linked to seismicity – 0.55%
  • Percentage of disposal wells operating without seismicity – 99.45%
  • Total number of Class II injection wells in the United States – 150,000 (approx.)
  • Percentage of Class II injection wells potentially linked to seismicity – 0.15%
  • Percentage of Class II injection wells operating without seismicity – 99.85%
The report helps to quantify the risk of induced seismicity from underground wastewater disposal, demonstrating that despite prevalent media coverage of each seismic event, the number of wells even potentially linked to earthquakes is comparatively small across the United States. Even in the individual states where most of the attention on induced seismicity has been focused, the vast majority of injection wells are operating aseismically.
In recent years, scientists, regulators, and industry have come together to implement a number of measures to mitigate the risk of induced seismicity, including resource and data sharing to empower states to adopt best practices. Many states have also updated their rules and guidelines for injection well permitting, and companies have spent tens of millions of dollars in mitigation procedures – many of which were voluntary – in order to further reduce risks.
To access the full report, and the state specific fact sheets, click the links below.
Copyright Energy in Depth. Reprinted with permission. Click here to view article in its original location.

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Southwestern Energy Borrows $750 Million to Pay Down Other Debts

From a Southwestern Energy press release:
Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) today announced that it entered into a $750 million three-year term loan agreement and used its proceeds to pay down balances under its existing credit facility and commercial paper program. The term loan is unsecured and includes an interest rate calculated based upon the Company's credit rating (currently 137.5 basis points over the current London Interbank Offered Rate). The term loan is prepayable at any time and requires prepayment from the net cash proceeds of any issuance of debt or equity securities and sales of assets, with certain exceptions. The other provisions in the term loan are substantially the same as those contained in the existing revolving credit facility. 
The Company also filed an automatic shelf Registration Statement ("new shelf") on Form S-3 that will replace the Company's former automatic shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 dated November 9, 2012 ("old shelf"). The old shelf expired on November 13, 2015, the third anniversary of its effective date, in accordance with the rules pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933. The Company filed the new shelf due to the expiration of the old shelf and not in anticipation of any specific securities offerings. 
"We are pleased with the strong support from our banks in moving $750 million of our existing debt to the term loan and increasing our liquidity. We are committed to creating long-term value to our shareholders. The actions announced today reflect sound financial policies that are aligned with this commitment. We also remain committed to a flexible capital program that is responsive to the commodity price environment and anticipate outstanding debt to remain flat or decline throughout 2016," remarked Steve Mueller, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southwestern Energy.
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