Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations,
Monday, May 9, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Niels Bohr, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922 once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.” This comment brings to mind the current debate about climate change and what role, if any, humans are playing.
Which leads to the questions, is the globe warming? Are humans the cause? Is the science settled on the matter?
A new documentary called Climate Hustle takes on these very topics and several others; bringing forward fact based compelling arguments questioning much of what the public believes to be “settled science” around the Earth’s changing climate.
As seen in the film, the alarmists are continually proven wrong on their current sales pitches on global warming, forcing them to adjust the contentions they are putting forward. It used to be called “global warming” but now is being widely referred to as “climate change.” Since the arguments they have put forth are being challenged by a wide range of the international scientific community as soon as they are spoken, those who are pushing the “climate change” agenda have to reach way in the future in order to attempt to make their case. They are making predictions, and those predictions come with a DIRE warning, “We must act now!” Those pushing the climate agenda try to rush decision makers into action in a hurried fashion to eliminate the debate on the topic.
A similar instance where this tactic was tried was during the late 1960s. There was a theory perpetuated called the “Population Bomb” theory, which hypothesized that the planet had too many people and with more coming the human species was never going to be able to feed everyone by the 1970’s…oops.
“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate” -Population Bomb
Now that is not to say that parts of some countries aren’t experiencing famine, however, much of that has less to do with the growth of population as it does with conflict, economics and government leadership.
As for Climate Hustle, one of the first questions the movie tackles is – Who is behind the “Climate Change” movement?
The filmmakers pose that very question to the founder of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore who says it is the media looking for sensationalism, the environmental groups looking for donations, the politicians creating the appearance of “saving the world,” the businesses that want to look green, and the academics (universities) that want public money for grants to study this. Those are not exactly honorable motives to pursue scientific discovery. To study the climate is a science and one that must use scientific methods and sound testing which allows the researcher to come to a rational scientific claim, regardless of their motives.
In the film, one of the arguments exposed is that 97% of all scientists agree that climate change is happening and humans are the cause. That number is pulled from one survey that was conducted among 77 climate scientists, in which, 75 respondents said that climate change is happening, it is catastrophic, and that humans cause it.
Here are 97 articles that have been published that show that 97% to be incorrect.
Which leads to the next question? Are we getting warmer?
In the film, that very specific question is posed to Dr. Robert Giegengack, former Chair of the Department of Earth and Environment Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Does more CO2 = a warmer world, True or False? Dr. Giegengack says that a warmer world would equal more CO2 but does not think that CO2 is a driver of Global temperature. That comment is echoed by Dr. Moore who says that over time (about 800 years) temperature goes up followed by the climate.
One of the most important parts of the movie is the reversal of position from several of the leading international climate scientists such as France’s Dr. Claude Allegre. This is confirmed in an article in the National Post, where Dr. Allegre stated that,
"the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters.” The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, “is to see ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."
Dr. Allegre is not the only member of the scientific community who has reached the same conclusion on the topic. There are others, and it has affected their professional careers.
As seen in this clip in the film from these scientists:
“I have been ostracized by the main stream, the consensus.” Dr. Curry
“They shun me, the do not allow me to have my materials published”. Dr. Rancourt
“They either ignore you or ridicule you”. Dr. Pielke Sr.
Even those with a basic understanding of scientific principles know that scientific study is used to challenge the status quo. The Earth is flat right?
This film premiered nationwide on May 2nd and adds some interesting and much needed commentary to the “climate change” debate. It creatively, intelligently and using sound scientific methods pushes back against those who claim that the “science is settled” on the cause and disastrous effects of climate change. As the great Mark Twain reminds us “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”
If you did not see the movie check out some of the great clips and stories at climatehustle.org
Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations,
Monday, May 2, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
There is a long way to go before any shale drilling takes place within the Wayne National Forest (WNF) but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took a step in the right direction when they recently issued its preliminary “Finding of No Significant Impact” statement regarding leasing 18,000 acres in the Marietta unit.
According to the BLM district manager, Dean Gettinger, in the recent Athens Messenger article,
“Based upon a review of the EA and supporting documents, I have determined that the proposed action (leasing of 18,494 acres in the Wayne’s Marietta Unit) is not a major federal action, and will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment, individually or cumulatively, with other actions in the general area.”
The draft Environmental Statement is subject to a 30 day public comment period (until May 29) where anyone may submit their comments focused on anticipated environmental impacts of leasing for oil and gas development. After the closing of the comment period the BLM is expected to take about 60 days to review and respond to the comments submitted. Should the “Finding of No Significant Impact” stand, the BLM can continue forward with the leasing process should the Forest Supervisor decide to move forward. If the Forest Supervisor decides to proceed with the steps to open the Wayne National Forest for oil and gas leasing, there will likely be an additional comment and review period before the final step- the lease auction. Then the process to apply for and receive a permit to drill would transpire.
A Call to Action
For now, send in your comments to encourage the BLM, and later the WNF, and show your support for leasing, drilling and private property rights. As we have stated before, the WNF is made up of many pieces and parts scattered across several counties in southeast Ohio, with many landowners personal property and minerals (through no fault of their own) are being held captive by this process.
Also, be aware of the group called “Fracking Exposed” (connected to the Athens County Fracking Action Network). They are the group that has the billboard across from the WNF headquarters calling for an end to “fracing.” They are also part of the “Keep It In the Ground” movement. We know they are going to send in comments (again) and but the strong response from the landowners, elected, business and community leaders advocating for leasing defeated the anti-drilling voice, allowing the process to continue to move along. Keep up the fight!
Please note that according to the BLM news release–
“Comments that identify issues relevant to the proposed action, or those that contain new technical or scientific information are most helpful, but all comments are considered in this decision-making process.”
Contact information for BLM
Contact: Kurt Wadzinski, Planning & Environmental Coordinator, BLM Northeastern States District
By Mail - 626 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 200, Milwaukee, WI 53202-4617
Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth,
Monday, April 25, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The Buckeye State is having a lot of good fortune lately: ExxonMobil announced recently that the company and its employees contributed $870,000 to higher education institutions across the state, as part of ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2015 Educational Matching Gift Program. In addition, Antero Resources also announced donations throughout southeastern Ohio to local schools to help with their athletic departments.
Combined, Antero Resources, ExxonMobil and their employees donated a whopping $915,000 to Ohio local schools and education institutions.
According to a press release today, Ben Soraci, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation said,
“Quality education is the foundation for individual opportunity and economic prosperity. We have a long history of supporting education excellence in the country. It’s a shared priority, year after year, with ExxonMobil employees.”
Antero Resources and their employees, echoed this same sentiment, Al Schopp, Antero’s Chief Administrative Officer and Regional Senior Vice President said,
“Supporting the communities where we’re privileged to operate is a core Antero value. We look forward to continuing to invest in the region’s youth and working to ensure they have the resources they need to meet their full potential.”
Thirty-six Ohio colleges, universities and local schools have recently been supported by ExxonMobil and Antero Resources, thanks to these generous donations. According to the press release today, ExxonMobil was able to use the donation to maximize total investment to qualified colleges and universities as they provided match donations on a 3:1 ratio, along with the American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund. The company also stated that they would like to see the grant put toward math and science programs supporting student engagement. Ohio’s support is only a fraction of the nationwide giving through the 2015 Educational Matching Gift Program, which has supported over 850 institutions through donations in excess of $45.4 million. ExxonMobil has a keen interest in encouraging students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as teacher training initiatives, with a focus particularly on women and minorities.
Educational institutions all over the state are showing gratitude for these investments. For example, Barnesville High School Superintendent, Randy Lucas said,
“Once again, Antero Resources is providing financial support to our athletic department. They have been a great partner with the school district and we appreciate their continued support!”
Marietta City Superintendent, Will Hampton said,
“Any time an organization within our community is willing to support our schools is a big deal and we really appreciate that. It says a lot when you have the support of the people you live and work with every day.”
Supporting local jobs, schools, and improving the environment, all thanks to fracking, is certainly a recurring theme in Ohio. That’s why Ohioans overwhelmingly support the oil and natural gas industry and continue to be grateful for the funding that our communities continue to receive. This week’s announcement, is just one more example of tangible results from the industry that indeed have lasting impacts for the families who live and work here.
Posted By Katie Brown, PhD, Energy In Depth,
Monday, April 18, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
New reports by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Free Beacon have further exposed how anti-fossil fuel activists colluded to push politically-motivated investigations of climate dissent, adding to a series of reports from Energy In Depth that already uncovered the fundingand inspiration behind the broader campaign.
After the Wall Street Journalrevealed Wednesday that anti-fossil fuel activists (such as 350.org founder Bill McKibben and former member of Greenpeace Board of Directors Kenny Bruno) met “behind closed doors” at the Rockefeller Family Fund offices in January to strategize on furthering the #ExxonKnew campaign, many more details have now emerged.
And if there’s any doubt about how Bruno really feels, here’s what he tweeted on March 30:
Note here how the memo states quite clearly that the group is focused on establishing “in the public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution.” Despite that, Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, literally uttered the following words to the Wall Street Journal this week:
“‘It’s about helping the larger public understand the urgencies of finding climate solutions,’ said Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, which hosted the January meeting. ‘It’s not really about Exxon.’”
Of course, the claim that the campaign was “not really about Exxon” could raise new questions about its real purpose, which many have already alleged is politically motivated. The effort has already led to a subpoena of a libertarian think tank in Washington, DC, with the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general demanding documents related to that organization’s advocacy on climate policy. Naturally, the USVI official also wants to know who funds the group.
Not the first time
What the Wall Street Journal and Free Beacon didn’t report, however, is that the January 2016 meeting was not exactly the first strategy session that took place in which plans to target Exxon in particular were on the agenda.
In 2012, the Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which are both funded by the Rockefellers, held a workshop in La Jolla, Calif., at which one of the topics discussed was the various ways they could help hasten an investigation into ExxonMobil via RICO laws. Apparently proud of the progress they had made, the groups released a report after the meeting concluded called, “Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.” The Rockefellers, as mentioned, hosted the Jan. 2016 meeting. And guess who provided the financial support for 2012 conference in La Jolla? (Yes, them.)
Interestingly, the January 2016 meeting included many of the same participants who attended the 2012 meeting in La Jolla, including attorneys Matt Pawa and Sharon Eubanks, Carroll Muffett, and representatives from Greenpeace.
Matt Pawa, an attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and a board member of the CAI, which organized the La Jolla meeting, has long been involved in campaigns aimed at attacking ExxonMobil. As the CIEL website states,
“Mr. Pawa also has pioneered the use of tort theories against greenhouse gas polluters in cases such as Connecticut v. American Electric Power and Kivalina v. ExxonMobil.” (emphasis added)
Sharon Eubanks was the director of the Department of Justice’s tobacco litigation effort in the 1990s and has been active in the press on anti-Exxon efforts. Carroll Muffett is also on the board of CAI.
The state attorneys general investigations rely on cherry-picked articles written by the Rockefeller-funded InsideClimate News (ICN) and Columbia School of Journalism, which Energy In Depth has definitively debunked. ICN published an article entitled “How We Got the Exxon Story” in November 2015, which admits that ICN journalist Dave Hasemyer “learned from scientist Michael MacCracken, who had long helped run federal climate research programs, that Exxon scientists had worked with the government on climate science as far back as the early 1980s.” Michael MacCracken is a scientist with the CAI and he also attended the 2012 La Jolla conference.
According to the activists themselves, they had been looking to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for quite some time as the perfect person to launch an investigation. As ICN alsoreported in that same article, “Some climate advocacy groups have long urged that Schneiderman, a second-term Democrat, investigate Exxon and other companies under the 1921 statute.”
“State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light. In addition, lawyers at the workshop noted that even grand juries convened by a district attorney could result in significant document discovery.”
In other words, the #ExxonKnew campaign didn’t just materialize overnight. It was the product of four long years of careful planning and constant coordination among the groups and the Rockefellers, which handled at key stages issues related to logistics, network management, and (critically) funding. The Rockefeller Family Fund has admitted that it poured tens of thousands of dollars into ICN and Columbia School of Journalism in order to push “better climate policy.” According toReuters:
Rockefeller Family Fund Director Lee Wasserman said Exxon was not singled out when it granted about $25,000 to InsideClimate News.
“We supported public interest journalism to better understand how the fossil fuel industry was dealing with the reality of climate science internally and publicly,” Wasserman said. “No specific company was targeted in our push to drive better public understanding and better climate policy.”
This is just the latest report to note the large web of activists working hand in glove to push a story that is based on anti-fossil fuel ideology, rather than the facts. We don’t expect it to be the last.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator,
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
The Ohio Oil and Gas Association hosted its 69th annual Winter Meeting in Columbus on March 16th – March 18th which brought together hundreds of attendees including membership and top industry leaders from Ohio and the nation to provide the most current updates of the state’s oil and gas industry.
The first day was considered a day of “pre-meeting events,” where OOGA’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees convened; continuing to work towards improving the Association. The Ohio Geological Society held its annual meeting that brought in a large crowd to hear Joseph Smith with PDC Energy present on the Determination of Wellbore Orientation in the Utica Shale of Southeast Ohio. Evening receptions followed on day one and two that allowed for attendees to network and the Association to thank attendees for their support.
The next two days held the main events including updates from national authorities, state and federal elected officials, and included production, exploration, legal and legislative insights. The keynote speaker for this year was David Wasserman, U.S. House editor and quantitative election analyst for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, where he is responsible for handicapping and analyzing U.S. House races. Wasserman provided stirring insight on the current presidential primary results, road mapping potential likelihoods of candidate’s winning nominations and charting how winning the White House would be achieved. He provided a humorous approach to understanding how Donald Trump has been able to ride a wave of discontentment with the established Republican Party to become the lead nominee. The information was extremely timely, relevant and looked at the presidential nomination process, impacts on senate races and the potential of a contested republican primary.
While the business session presentations were occurring the other component of the Winter Meeting was simultaneously taking place right outside the presentations in the form of an industry trade show. This year the Association had more than 70 exhibitor booths displaying products, demonstrating new equipment techniques, and representing multifaceted components of the industry. As attendees came and went and transitioned between business sessions, they could engage with exhibitors showcasing the latest in oil and gas technology.
And of course this event would not be possible without our sponsors. Even during trying times for the industry we appreciate the support from each and every one of you.
The Association hopes to see each of you back at next year’s 70th annual Winter Meeting.
Posted By Penny Seipel, Vice President of Public Affairs,
Monday, March 14, 2016
You may have seen recent headlines about a court case involving Cabot Oil and Gas in Pennsylvania. The case was brought by two families, Scott and Monica Ely and Ray and Victoria Hubert. There were three parts to the original lawsuit: personal injury and fraud, reduction of property values and nuisance claims which stemmed from the finding of the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection (DEP) that Cabot oil and gas was responsible for contaminating some water wells because of faulty well casing. The plaintiffs allege that faulty well casing allowed natural gas to migrate into water wells.
The parts of the lawsuit pertaining to personal injury and property values were thrown out by the judge for lack of evidence. As it relates to the lowering of property values, the judge found that property values had actually gone up.
The third issue, the nuisance claim, is more complicated because Pennsylvania law includes a “presumption of liability”. This means that the company is presumed to be responsible for any well contamination within 1,000 feet from a drilling site regardless of whether the company was actually at fault. It is the company’s responsibility to prove in court that they are not liable. The DEP had previously determined that Cabot was responsible for the presence of dissolved methane in some families’ water wells. Even though a Consent Order and Agreement was signed by the DEP and Cabot, Cabot disagreed with the determination that its activities caused the contamination.
In spite of Cabot’s vigorous defense, on March 10, 2016, a jury found that the company was guilty of the nuisance violation and awarded the two families a combined $4.2 million.
In 2010, Ohio passed Senate Bill 165 which made significant upgrades to the state’s oil and gas regulatory laws. One very important change included more stringent well casing standards for the industry. The bill required additional strings of steel casing and proper cement to protect underground sources of drinking water. Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources must also be notified when the cement is being set.
Additional protections were put in place in 2012 when the legislature passed Senate Bill 315, which required water well testing within 1,500 feet of a horizontal well before drilling takes place.
While regulations can’t predict every unforeseen circumstance, Ohio’s oil and gas regulatory framework is considered one of the most comprehensive in the nation.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator,
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
The OOGA 69th annual Winter Meeting is quickly approaching. The event will bring together the membership and top industry leaders from Ohio and across the nation to provide the most current updates regarding the oil and gas industry. Attendees will hear from state and federal elected officials and nationally accredited speakers. Topics will include production, exploration, legal and legislative updates.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER David Wasserman House Editor, Political Analyst David Wasserman is the U.S. House editor and quantitative election analyst of the non-partisan Cook Political Report,where he is responsible for handicapping and analyzing the U.S. House races.
Company Donations Top $13,000 for Local, Regional Food Banks, Pantries
Marietta, OH – At a recognition event today hosted by Antero Resources, the company honored a set of local food bank and pantry representatives for their continued efforts to reduce hunger. Volunteers from Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe, Noble and Washington Counties received more than $13,000 in donations from Antero and its employees, supporting 16 separate charitable organizations. Locally, Antero donated to, Robert T. Seacrest Senior Center, Living Water Fellowship, Pleasant City Food Pantry, St. Vincent De Paul, Guernsey, Monroe, Noble (GMN) Tri County Community Action, Samaritan House, and Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio (LSS) Food Pantry.
“Antero and our dedicated employees are proud to be a partner in combating local hunger in the communities where we live and operate,” said Al Schopp, Antero’s Chief Administrative Officer and Regional Senior Vice President. “Our efforts in alleviating food access issues across the Appalachian Basin mark our unwavering commitment to the many local families in need of this critical resource.”
“I am happy to be here to benefit from the generosity of Antero,” said Linda Hall, Executive Director, Pleasant City Food Pantry. “We did not go looking for this donation; they found us. On behalf of the pantry visitors, we want to say thank you to Antero, as we rely solely on donations.
“It’s a different experience to have a company seek us out for a donation,” said Misty Decker, Executive Director Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio. “It is nice to be recognized. We don’t realize sometimes the light that we are to our own clients on a daily basis.”
“I am supportive of the work Antero is doing in our region,” said Gary Ricer, CEO, Guernsey, Monroe, Noble (GMN) Tri-County Community Action. “GMN is proud to be a recipient of these much needed funds of which 100% will go toward the senior services food bank. Generous donations like these really go a long way as we distribute several tons of food per month to the community. This will be helpful and huge to our cause.”
In line with its core commitments aimed at improving the communities where it works, Antero places a high-level of value on employee volunteerism.
“Community involvement and giving back are central to our culture at Antero. I am thankful to work for a company that not only values but also encourages local volunteerism.” said Randall Randolph, Antero’s Surface Land Manager.
# # #
Antero Resources (NYSE:AR) is an independent natural gas and oil company engaged in the acquisition, development and production of unconventional liquids-rich natural gas properties, as well as water logistics located in the Appalachian Basin in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Antero is the most active operator of oil and gas exploration and production in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Visit www.anteroresources.comto learn more and connect with Antero on Twitter (@AnteroResources) and Facebook:www.facebook.com/AnteroResources.
Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator,
Monday, February 29, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, March 2, 2016
The member spotlight series features legacy OOGA members who have been a member of the Association for at least 10 years. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Miller was born in Gilmer county West Virginia; his family moved to Windham (Portage County Ohio) when he was two years old. He graduated from a small town high school in a class of 80 students. John’s father always had aspirations of being a schoolteacher, as many of the Millers in West Virginia were, but decided to forgo college and moved to Ohio for employment to support his wife and five children. As the middle child and only boy in the family, John was active in high school sports—wrestling, gymnastics, and track—and had a superb group of coaches that inspired him to also want to become a teacher and coach.
Following his high school graduation in 1966, John worked for a year to save money for college. In 1967 John enrolled in Kent State University to pursue a teaching degree. After three quarters at KSU John ran out of money and left the university to go back to work and save more. During these times it was easy to get a job and John was offered a position at Wheeling-Pittsburg Steel located in Warren, Ohio. Following his decision to leave college John was drafted into the United States Army and began serving in September 1968, in the wake of the Tet Offensive.
After being drafted John was convinced he would be deployed to Vietnam where most new recruits were being sent. However, he was not sent to Vietnam but rather to Heidelberg Germany where he was part of the 529th MP Honor Guard unit, and as he put it, “I got to march around Germany for two years.” He said “going to the military was one of the best things to happen in my life with the most important thing being accepting Jesus Christ as my savior and marring my wife Carol”. The military matured him and brought him back to the U.S. a different person.
Following his military time abroad, John returned to KSU to finish his degree while working full time at Wheeling-Pittsburg Steel. During this time he married his wife Carol in 1974 and had his first child, Jonathan in July 1975. It was also during this time that he came to the realization that teaching jobs were scares and that majoring in business would be more practical. In 1975 he graduated from KSU with an accounting degree and was recruited right out of school.
John’s career aspirations were to start working, become a CPA, and transition into industry. He was hired by a small CPA firm in Beachwood Ohio and had his own clients within six months, gaining great experience. He work at the CPA firm from 1975 to 1977 because two years public accounting experience was needed to become certified. John passed the CPA exams in 1977. Because he was working so many hours as a CPA he had little time to pursue a job in industry, as a result John left the CPA firm without having a job, all while expecting his second child, Angela.
His next position was working as a tax analyst for Premier Industries located in Cleveland, Ohio, however he didn’t see much professional opportunity within the company. In the fall of 1977 John was analyzing an offering for one of the Belden & Blake Corporation partnerships for the Mandel brothers (Premier’s primary owners). During that analysis a recruiter informed him of an opening for an accountant at an oil and gas company located in North Canton, Ohio, Belden & Blake Corporation.
Work History Overview:
Belden & Blake narrowed their search to two candidates, John and another person, who did not have public accounting experience and was asking for less money. Belden & Blake’s treasure Mary Thomson would make the final hiring decision. Fortunately for John, Henry “Chic” Belden was prepared to purchase the company from the current owners Henry S. Belden III and Glenn Blake. Marty deliberated with Chic who told him to hire the CPA.
John started working for Belden & Blake in November 1977, which launched his career into the oil and gas industry. The company at that time had a production accountant on staff, and John was hired as the only general accountant.
“Shortly after Chic acquired the company, he hired C. Richard Cox (Dick Cox) who I would consider my mentor. Dick was a brilliant man, a perfectionist and a great teacher. He expected nothing but the best from all his staff. He pushed me hard, and as a result made me a better communicator, writer, analyst and better at budgeting and cash flowing. I give Dick Cox a lot of credit for any success I have had in my career.”
Every month John prepared a 50-60 page financial analysis of Belden & Blake for Dick and together they would spend hours reviewing it. John recalled once having a present tense on page 5 and a past tense on page 13 and Dick would say, “John, you’re killing me! You have to be consistent!” With Dick you had to be consistent, he demanded excellence. John had many praises about working for Chic Belden and Dick Cox and has great respect for both men.
“I worked at Belden & Blake for 10 years and during that time earned a MBA from Kent State University. When I left I was corporate controller and managed 21 people and three accounting managers. Belden & Blake was comprised of several entities including an international company and a SEC reporting company which gave me great opportunities to learn. I traveled to London several times to set up an office. I had a wonderful work experience.”
A former executive at Belden & Blake left the company to consult for Alliance Petroleum Corporation and operate wells on their behalf. John was recruited by that executive to work for Alliance Petroleum in the fall of 1987. John felt he would always be a middle manager if he stayed at Belden & Blake so he decided to submit his resignation to Chic Belden. Chic advised John that Alliance was a struggling company and might not survive.
Alliance was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia where John interviewed. He thought the company had great future plans. Retrospectively, John described Alliance as being comprised of three small struggling companies that were syndicating drilling programs. An attorney convinced the owners of those companies to align themselves to form one larger struggling company. Alliance had little cash flow, a lot of debt, and did not have an operating arm. In December of 1987 they bought Ohio L&M Co, Inc., located in Marietta Ohio which provided them with an operating team. John was recruited to serve as CFO of Ohio L&M.
“So I left Belden & Blake for Alliance, and Chic was right, they were not going to make it, it was pretty bad. The folks at Alliance had great plans; the problem was that they were not ready to execute those plans. They had no accounting system, and no viable strategic plan. They had ideas but no plan to get it done.”
John spent all of 1988 working in Marietta and living in the Lafayette hotel. The directors of Alliance soon realized the company was going in the wrong direction and began restructuring. By mid 1988 the process of closing the Atlanta office had begun and by the end of 1988 all the former principles were no longer with the company. The president of Ohio L&M was promoted to president of Alliance and John became the CFO of Alliance. In a matter of months John went from being CFO of the operating company to CFO of the parent company. In December of 1988 the company was nearly bankrupt, they moved the headquarters to Canton and started hiring staff.
John said he hired an outstanding group in Canton which greatly contributed to the success of Alliance. He hired Dora Silvis as his accounting clerk; she was greatly needed for the position but he also recognized that she was highly over qualified. In 1991 the company restructured again and John was promoted to president & CEO and Dora was promoted to vice president. Marty Miller, Vice President of Operations was another important member of the management team as was Steve Nicholson who managed the Ohio L&M northern field.
John started restructuring Alliance’s debt in 1988 and 1989, and at the same time determined that in an effort to generate more income and cash flow Alliance needed to expand its production through acquisitions and drilling. During 1993-1996 Alliance drilling 2 to 5 well programs. In the late 1990s John started raising money through brokerage firms. In the early 2000s they had success drilling some of their best wells and gained increased access with those firms. In 2006 Alliance Petroleum was the number one driller in Ohio. The company operated approximately 1,700 wells during this time period.
In the height of its drilling success Alliance started looking for an exit strategy and began marketing the company in 2007 because the price of oil and gas was peaking at this time. In 2008 the market crashed, as did the price of oil and gas, greatly slashing the market value of Alliance and as a result the company suspended its marketing effort.
Along came the Utica, which provided another marketing opportunity for the company. Alliance had built up a massive leasing program by raising money through brokerage firms and drilling wells, much of that acreage covered the Utica shale. In late 2011 they started marketing the company again. Interest in the Utica play was still early, but they saw it as an opportunity to sell the company and provide a return for their shareholders. Management’s plans were to sell the deep rights and find a buyer for the stock. They were able to sell the company’s “deep rights” to larger companies interested in the shale play and in January 2012 sold the stock of the company to Lake Fork Resources owned by Tom Wright. The stock sale provided an opportunity for the employees of Alliance to keep their jobs which was a priority for John when negotiating the sale.
“I loved the people I worked with at Alliance, I loved the job, it was my life for 25 years. I was in mourning for months after I left Alliance. But you would have to drag me back at this point.”
John started AIM Energy LLC in 2007. He had interest in some wells along with friends and used that interest to form AIM Energy. AIM Energy operates about 80 wells; some wells John and his partners owned and others were acquired. “I do all the administrative work and my two partners are field oriented so they operate and manage the wells, pipelines and compressors. It keeps me in the industry and I’m still a producer. I love the industry and I and want to stay involved in oil & gas and OOGA as long as I can.”
John came up with a slogan while he was at Alliance, “Vision alone is no solution, success depends on execution. And that’s what we did with the company. The employees of Alliance executed, they performed with excellence (as Dick Cox taught me early in my career) and that made all the difference”.
History with the OOGA:
John became involved with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association when he started working for Ohio L&M in 1988. The first meeting he attended was the Summer Meeting and he came back to the Winter Meeting the following year. He hasn’t missed many meetings since then and feels that OOGA is a great organization and wants to stay involved as a member.
“I can’t remember going to a Winter Meeting held by OOGA while I was president and CEO of Alliance that I didn’t do a deal. Besides all the training the meetings give us, you get to network with people you don’t see very often. We were always buying and selling and discussing drilling programs at that event.”
John began to get involved with the Association during the Tom Stewart era. Tom encouraged John’s involvement and a president’s appointment was used to put John on the board, John was elected thereafter. In 2002 he was appointed to the executive committee, where he served through 2008. Today he remains on the board and hopes to be reelected when his seat is up again next year so that he can remain involved. In addition to serving on the board of trustees and executive committee, John was previously involved with the government affairs committee, was PAC chairman for over six years and is currently on the audit committee.
“The great thing about the industry is all of the relationships. It is truly full of fantastic people and I’ve made some great relationships over the years. I can’t imagine any oil and gas state that would have a better organization than the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.”
New information has surfaced on how its research was funded. Based on this, the university is obligated to do more to publicize the study’s findings.
For those getting up to speed on the story, Energy In Depth posted a short clip [full video] from the University of Cincinnati’s Dr. Amy Townsend-Small’s presentation to local Ohio hydraulic fracturing opponents along with some key findings about hydraulic fracturing’s safety:
“All the samples fell within the clean water range and they did not find any changes over time either in any of our homes during the time series of fracking.”
“We never saw a significant increase in methane concentration after fracking well was drilled.”
Samples that were collected that were high in methane “clearly did not have a natural gas source.”
“Some of our highest observed methane concentrations were not near a fracking well at all.”
“There was no significant change in methane concentration over time, even as more and more natural gas wells were drilled in the area.”
Unfortunately Townsend-Small said her team’s research won’t be publicized further because the study’s funders stopped supporting them because of they didn’t like the findings.
“I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Townsend-Small told the audience. “They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”
No press releases, no research papers, and no data released for the public or other researchers to dig deeper.
That’s not just disappointing; it looks to be in violation of the grant the University of Cincinnati used to fund its research.
The premise of the research project was to see what effects hydraulic fracturing has on drinking water by testing wells before, during, and after fracturing took place.
This innovative research study is examining the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on groundwater in Ohio's Utica shale. Led by UC geologist Amy Townsend Small, this first-of-a-kind project is testing for the presence of methane (the primary component of natural gas) and its origins in groundwater and drinking water wells before, during, and after the onset of fracking.
Water samples were tested using a stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer to determine the source of methane found in the water. As Inside Climate News explained in a 2014 story:
Each sample is tested for methane, the main component of natural gas. Townsend-Small's lab uses isotopic analysis to "fingerprint" the methane to determine if it's "biogenic methane" (produced by microbes, and unrelated to natural gas drilling) or "fossil fuel methane" (methane found in oil, gas and coal deposits).
The NSF grant’s mandate states unequivocally that findings gleaned from using the instrument be made publically available:
Results from research projects using this instrumentation will be disseminated through student and faculty presentations at national and international scientific meetings, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and online data repositories.
The University of Cincinnati should hold up its end and add to the public’s knowledge of hydraulic fracturing’s safety. With so much misinformation being pushed by hydraulic fracturing opponents, a short presentation in front of a few people in southeast of Canton, Ohio doesn’t cut it.