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ODNR Releases Oil and Natural Gas Totals for First Quarter 2019, Natural Gas Production Drops For First Time

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has released its first quarter 2019 Ohio shale wells production totals. Over the first three months of this year, Ohio’s shale wells produced 5,073,536 barrels of oil and 609,452,391 McF (609 billion cubic feet) of natural gas.

Various media outlets covering the industry have reported on these latest production numbers. Some of these articles have conflicting headlines, so in order to properly make sense of them, let’s break it down:



Any instances touting a “significant increase” or “production on the rise” is looking at a data comparison of Q1 2019 to Q1 2018. Comparing that time frame and what producers were producing an entire year previously, there was significant surges seen from 2019 production of five million barrels of oil and 609 bcf of gas, to 2018 production 3,942,251 barrels of oil and 531 bcf of natural gas.

Other outlets have reported “oil and gas production dips” or “volumes decline” which is an accurate description when comparing the data from Q1 2019 to Q4 2018. Looking at production volumes from Ohio producers ending Q4 2018, the state saw 5,810,484 barrels of oil and 664 bcf of natural gas, which is higher than the five million barrels of oil and 609 bcf of natural gas in Q1 2019.  

Looking at a comparison on a quarter-by-quarter basis, natural gas production has dropped for the first time ever since ODNR has started tracking these statistics in 2012. Oil production is also experiencing a drop after climbing most of 2018, the last drop in oil production was seen ending Q4 2017 to the start of Q1 2018.

Another key element to consider when looking at the ODNR quarterly production reports is that they are reflecting information from the quarter before the current quarter. The production report that was released on May 31, 2019 is covering production results that happened in January 2019 through March 2019. The numbers seen are reflective of the cyclical commodities that are oil and natural gas. For any producers working in this industry, they have seen and experienced the ebbs and flows of the market firsthand and continue to adapt. 

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OOGA Member Spotlight: Tracy Stevens, Dominion Energy

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Friday, May 31, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org


Tracy Stevens was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, and came to Ohio to attend Kent State University. Originally, she set out to go into journalism, but veered paths and finished school with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in rhetoric. Throughout this time, she was building soft skills through extracurricular involvement with nonprofit boards, leadership and teambuilding programs, all of which kept her in the community after her formal education was finished. At this time, it was the late 1980s and she decided to take a few months off to get married and have her daughter, before jumping back into the workforce.

Stevens has been teaching communication classes at Kent State University since 1984 and is still teaching there today. In addition, she started working for the Canton Repository in 1990. The Repository hired her as a Newspaper and Education Literacy Coordinator, where she worked with local schools to develop programming to use the newspaper to increase literacy.

What transpired next led Stevens into the energy and utility industry when Dominion Energy came knocking on the door, recruiting Stevens as its Associate Education Representative. This happened in 1993 just as there were a lot of changes on the horizon for natural gas, Local Distribution Company (LDC) and the energy business as a whole.

“I brought all my background in education and curriculum assessment into that position and started branching out my portfolio and career path with Dominion,” described Stevens.  

Dominion Energy Experience

Stevens has worked for Dominion Energy for the last 26 years. In her early days as the Education Representative, the focus was on the entire soup-to-nuts process of educating consumers on how they were getting their energy. A lot of this was done in the time of career-technology and was accomplished working directly with superintendents of schools, curriculum directors, educating students in STEM work, and helping to support science fairs. Stevens recalled having a kit of materials (which she still has) to explain the industry and how it moves gas.

Some of her career progression throughout the organization was organic, and some of it was through the changing evolution of Dominion Energy through acquisitions and the integration of companies that created shifting roles. The Education Representative role transpired into Local Affairs Manager, which later on lent itself to picking up the government affairs piece. Stevens continued to build community relationships with city council members, county commissioners, engineers at all levels and would be liaison for preconstruction meetings.

“When I’m sitting in the room with all of the chamber folks because we’re working with nonprofits, and the economic development people are there, I already have those relationships,” described Stevens.

Stevens is now the External Affairs Manager of Dominion Energy, with her focus area covering eastern and southern pieces of Ohio, including all of the shale counties. When asked to describe what External Affairs means, she says it is a catch-all for internal and external populations. The relationships Stevens has fostered over the years, have made her the person to call, and then she can direct to the right area within Dominion Energy. This can cover almost anything from internal engineers upgrading a compressor station, dealing with pre-construction meetings and consumer issues, all the way to a request from a nonprofit asking for funding to support a program.

Dominion Energy

Dominion Energy is best described as a broad-based energy company, with nearly 7.5 million customers in 18 states supplying homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas. The company has more than $100 billion in assets providing electric generation, transmission and distribution, as well as natural gas storage, transmission, distribution and import/export services. They also have an entire renewable portfolio and is a leader in solar operations.

Dominion Energy has had historical relationships with Ohio producers for more than a hundred years and will continue to far into the future. Producers provide its product to Dominion Energy, which serves as the local distribution company to get that gas into homes. This entails LDC construction maintenance crews to lay pipe, both main line and service line, and field metering services personnel, ensuring the safety of those lines to the meter. Natural gas service interruptions can be more disruptive than electrical outages, replacing gas lines or planned maintenance work often require entry to the home to test that lines are safe. All of which is done with two main priorities, safety and compliance.

Stevens said, “our focus on safety is matched by our commitment to compliance, to make sure that all of our people, products, and pipelines, as well as customers safety.”

The biggest change that Stevens has seen over the years is the availability of gas from the Utica shale play. At times Dominion Energy received 80% of its gas from Ohio producers. Some of the pipeline projects have really changed the landscape and provided more opportunities for their customer base. They have long-term commitments for larger pipelines, and are now focusing on working as a LDC to be able to facilitate changes in its territory, where previously, they would have faced constrain and not had access to a local producer.  

Energy Industry

The energy industry has been appealing and kept Stevens around for more than two decades because each day is different. Coming from a background in education and nonprofit, she did not have a scientific or technical background and enjoyed the learning curve.

“The chance to learn the energy business is something that has afforded me so much variety in each of the areas I’ve worked. I’ve learned about call centers, pipelines, safety and product. I’m also thrilled to be part of an industry that is going to give so much opportunity for economic advancement in the communities we’re working in too,” said Stevens.

Stevens predicts that over the next five years the industry is going to see even more economic development. It is exciting for Stevens to see Southeastern Ohio been put on the map thanks to the oil and gas industry. Hometown opportunity being created in manufacturing and the potential of petrochemical plants in this region just make so much sense.

OOGA Involvement

Dominion Energy has always been involved with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. Stevens personally became involved over the last five years as she was building economic development relationships. Not being extremely familiar with all of the innerworkings of the oil and gas industry, she felt the need to better understand the producer community and the best way of doing so was to become an OOGA member.

“The networking opportunities has led to a lot of really innovative opportunities to help communities I’m working in. I’ve been really pleased to be a member of OOGA to be able to do that,” said Stevens. “Paying forward and paying it back are extremely important to me personally and also to Dominion Energy—it’s a really nice partnership that OOGA satisfies.”

Coming from a background in communications, it was a natural fit for Stevens to get involved with the OOGA communications committee. Dominion Energy is the original premier corporate member of the Association and has many other people from its staff involved in various capacities.

Stevens also cited the diversity in OOGA’s membership, from its legacy producers to shale producers, have provided great learning opportunities. To have all of those people in one room has been extremely beneficial and helped make her more informed about the industry. She says she looks forward to continuing to learn more about all that OOGA does, and how it can help continue to move the industry forward.

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OOGA and Ascent Resources Team Up to Expose Students To Oil And Gas Opportunities

Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations, Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association has teamed up with Ascent Resources, the Ohio Department of Education and Lt. Governor Jon Husted’s office to hold a tour of a well pad and drilling rig for students at Harrison Hills Jr/Sr. High School during In Demand Jobs Week.


In Demand Jobs Week, was from May 6-10 and is a statewide celebration of jobs, industries, and skills that are in demand in Ohio. Ohio’s oil and gas industry took this as an opportunity to share with local students and educators up close a local well pad with an active drilling rig in Harrison County.


Amanda Finn, with Ascent Resources shared that, “we are so very proud of the work we do here in Harrison County and we happily jumped at the opportunity to showcase one of our locations to students that, perhaps, will one day hopefully be part of our industry in Ohio."


With ever increasing operations in Ohio, Ascent Resources is the most active producer in Ohio and is the number one producer of natural gas in the state.


“It takes a team of people working together towards a common goal to pull a tour of this scope off,” shared Mike Chadsey with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “Our ongoing goal is to continue to bring awareness and excitement around our industry and today’s tour with the school was part of the objective and we could not have done that without our partners at Ascent and the Lt. Governor’s office."


Once on the pad, the students put on their safety gear and were split into two groups to explore the operations. The first group climbed up the rig stairs to learn about how a well is drilled and the various jobs available with a natural gas producer, while the second group walked around the pad location to learn about the various supplies, contractors and vendors that it takes to put a well into production. Then the two groups switched.


During the tours, the students asked a wide array of questions ranging from technical aspects of the operation, different career opportunities, and steps they need to take to get there. Many expressed an interest to pursue a career in the industry to the several of the rig crew members on location.

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OOGA Member Spotlight: Ray Walker, Encino Energy

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org




Ray Walker grew up on a farm in Clyde, Texas, a small town outside of Abilene. Walker is the oldest of five children. The one family tie to the oil and gas industry was his grandfather, who was a roughneck in the Kilgore East Texas oilfield days back in the 1940s. He took Walker out to his first rig shortly after graduating high school. This was his first experience in the oil business—and it seemed pretty interesting to him.


When Walker graduated high school with a class of 33 students, he then went on to Texas A&M University and studied Agricultural Engineering. Arriving at Texas A&M was a whole new world. When he attended his first college course, there were more students in the class than the entire K-12 school district in Clyde. To pay his way through college, Walker roughnecked on an oil rig. He graduated in 1979 with more than 70 job offers. Walker accepted his best offer—to go work for Halliburton in the oilfield.


Industry Overview


Walker’s first role at Halliburton was on a well control team fighting well fires all over the world. The reason he was put on this team was because he was good with a slide rule and could do calculations quickly. He spent nearly three years in this position and continued to grow his career and expertise within Halliburton over the next 12 years, becoming a “frack guru” and publishing author of multiple papers on this expertise.


In 1991, Walker went to work for Union Pacific Resources Corp (UPR), the exploration and production arm of the Union Pacific Railroad. His first role there took him to Carthage, Texas where he ran the entire east Texas gas plant. Two years later he moved to Fort Worth and was the east Texas team leader. Walker stayed in Fort Worth for the next nine years and went on to become the U.S. Onshore Operations Manager for UPR.


As one of the early pioneers of horizontal drilling and completion techniques, Walker holds a uniquely rare expertise in this break through technology. He has also published on this subject matter expertise and is truly looked to as an expert in water frack and horizontal drilling.


“It was pretty exciting,” described Walker. “It was brand new. It was one of those things where we did a few wells, and it worked, and the next thing you knew we had 40-50 rigs running. At one time I had 40 rigs reporting to me, so it was quite an experience.” 

The year 2000 became a turning point on multiple fronts, there were two things that happened deemed “tornado one” and “tornado two.” Tornado one was an actual tornado that hit downtown Fort Worth and destroyed the 40-story building where the UPR offices were located. Tornado two was that Anadarko Petroleum Corp came to town to buy UPR.


Walker did not want to go to Houston to work for Anadarko. When he was approached about starting up a new company, it took his interest. The next five years brought three different start-up opportunities that were private equity backed. Two of them worked, one did not at all, as the money fell apart in each of the ventures, it became Walker’s golden rule that, “he who has the gold makes the rules.”


Frustrated from the start-up hurdles, in 2006 Walker found comfort in taking his industry expertise to consulting. Within the first couple months, a friend at Range Resources called Walker and described a well near Pittsburgh that they couldn’t frack after the first horizontal attempt. Since Walker had designed and pumped the very first frack job ever done on a shale well in 1982 for George Mitchell, he was the natural go-to person for this job. Walker thought he was going to Pittsburgh, Texas but after some clarification on asking what the Marcellus was, he realized he was going to Pennsylvania.


In early 2006, Walker went to Pittsburgh as a consultant for Range Resources. A few months later, he was offered a full-time position. The next thing he knew Range wanted him to start a new office in Pennsylvania. Walker ended up as employee number one in this region. The entire Marcellus play was three wells making 800mcf a day. Walker remained in Pennsylvania for the next four and a half years (or five winters as he described it) as the COO of Range Resources. Once the Pennsylvania operation was up and running, Walker moved back to Fort Worth and started contemplating retirement. In April 2018, he officially retired from Range Resources. This didn’t last long and, after three months, he started consulting again.


The Encino Energy Story


Walker was in Houston and happened to run into John Pinkerton, former CEO at Range Resources. Pinkerton knew Walker was consulting again and wanted him to meet Hardy Murchison, the President and CEO of Encino Energy. It didn’t take Murchison long to convince Walker to work for him a few days a week, and as Walker describes it, “I basically never left.”


Walker recounted that this May, he will have worked in the oil business for 44 years. “I can honestly say every day since then has been an adventure. It has been an exciting career, it has been challenging and there’s so many different aspects of it that make it interesting.”


In the web of relationships, Murchison worked for Pinkerton at Range Resources in the 1990s.  He left Range to go back to attend Harvard Business School, thinking he would come back to work for Range at a later time. That did not happen, and Murchison went on to become a managing partner at First Reserve Corporation, a private equity company. After some time in the private equity world, decided he wanted to start his own company—which he did in 2011 by forming Encino Energy


Murchison believed it was a good time to be a buyer in the market and started acquiring minerals, non-oppositions and a few wells to operate. This progressed for the next few years and started becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace around 2015, with billions of dollars in private equity coming into the industry. Pinkerton’s vision was to stop messing around with the little stuff, or as Walker described, “Pinkerton says, ‘let’s quit hunting rabbits and let’s start hunting bears.’”


“Encino Energy spent about two years looking at assets in the Permian, Eagle Ford, Utica, Marcellus, even looked at the SCOOP And STACK, and after all of that the Utica won out,” explained Walker. “It was the best economics, best potential, best upside and it became a match made in heaven.”


Murchison had developed a partnership with the Canadian Pension Plan, $300+ billion pension plan, the third largest in the world. The partnership made sense for both parties involved that were looking for a long-term investment, that was very different from any normal private equity fund that you hear about.


“It’s hard to describe how unique the Encino story is and our vision, because we really are long-term,” said Walker. “We’re not a public company that has to live quarter-to-quarter, and we’re not a normal private equity deal where we’re worried about having to flip this deal in a few years. We really are interested in generating stable activity and cash flow, and doing things the right way.”


They announced in July and at that time had 26 people employeed in Texas. Walker came on board full time in August, and what evolved from six weeks of consulting was that Encino needed a COO to help build the organization, stand up the system and build a team that can go drill. What it means for Ohio are intentions of steady work for service companies, jobs for its employees for generations to come, with Walker estimating that there’s 50 years of drilling in the Utica.


OOGA Involvement


After spending time in Pennsylvania, Walker met people there who knew what they were doing in the industry and fostered relationships working together over the years. This lended itself to Walker being a founding member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). He saw the importance of trade organizations that are well organized and have consistent messaging, which seemed to hold the most weight with legislators and regulatory agencies.


“The one thing I always admired about Ohio was that they avoided a lot of the mistakes we made early on in Pennsylvania,” explained Walker. “We were going up the learning curve, and I think OOGA looked at that and went up the curve a whole lot faster and smarter, which is a good thing.”


Walker recalled the first time he met with ODNR, and how different that experience was from meeting with Pennsylvania’s regulatory agency. He felt welcomed and that they were actually interested in helping them start drilling in Ohio. He also noted that OOGA’s overall approach to working together with regulators and legislators has been developed very positively, compared to many other states he’s done work in.


“I understand how important a strong trade organization is, and I see that with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association,” said Walker. “There was never any question in my mind that Encino was going to get involved in OOGA and would like to play a big role. We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars, I think it’s critical that we have a strong organization representing the industry and that’s here to help the members succeed in Ohio.” 

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OOGA Welcomes Brad Miller, Director of Membership

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Wednesday, May 1, 2019

In early April the Ohio Oil and Gas Association welcomed Brad Miller to our staff in the role of Membership Director. The OOGA is excited to have Brad in this newly created position with the goal of driving new membership and providing current members a go-to membership resource person.


As Membership Director Brad will focus on recruiting new members, some in categories the organization has not previously placed a focus on targeting. Another component of this role will be retaining current members to ensure they are recognizing value of their membership and educating them on the work your Association is doing on your behalf.  This is especially vital as we’re entering a period of consideration for dues restructuring.  Finally, Brad will be assisting in driving sponsorships for all of our events.   


“I am excited for this opportunity to help the Ohio Oil and Gas Association bolster its membership. I am eager to get to know current members and develop strategies for growing this Association,” said Miller.


Brad’s background and experience at the Ohio House of Representatives lends him to be a strong fit for the OOGA and this role. Following his graduation from the Ohio State University, Brad began working at the House as a communications assistant. He transitioned to the Ohio House Republican Organization Committee (OHROC) where he was director of communications for more than four years. Most recently he was press secretary/deputy communications director for the Ohio House Speaker and Republican caucus.


“I am greatly looking forward to seeing Brad develop this role within the OOGA and building our membership,” said Matthew Hammond, executive vice president of OOGA. “It is long overdue for OOGA to have someone focused solely on our membership and strengthen affiliations with our organization as we stand to present a unified voice for the industry.” 


We are currently in a position to grow our membership and maximize revenue. Over the past few years membership has changed to reflect the concentration of the Utica play, consolidation of both shale and conventional operators, service companies and other entities within membership classifications.

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Member Spotlight: Karen Matusic, XTO Energy

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Monday, April 1, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org

Background/ Industry Overview

Karen Matusic grew up in Jefferson County before the oil and gas industry’s impact was even a thought there. Matusic stayed local for college, attending Bethany College in West Virginia and was a communication major with an emphasis in journalism. Right out of school she took her first job as a journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, where she began working as a foreign correspondent for a local newspaper. This would lead her to her next position as a journalist for Reuters News Agency where she wrote in English and in Spanish. In the late 1980s she started covering the oil and gas industry, at the time Venezuela’s involvement with OPEC was a hot topic.

Matusic described saying to her boss, “I want to cover the oil beat, and my boss said, “no woman has ever covered the oil beat,” and by the end of my time at the newspaper I got to cover the oil beat. I learned about the upstream and downstream sectors and it was an exciting time as they were developing heavy oils there at that time. I learned a lot from being in a producing country and a lot about OPEC.”

Matusic has dual citizenship in Britain and the United States since she was born in London to a British mother. After four years in Venezuela (and loving every minute of it) she went to London to work for Dow Jones in the early 1990s to cover energy, eventually running its global energy service.

“The first day I was covering futures markets I didn’t even understand the language. After six months I was talking that language, which was the same situation as when I was learning Spanish. This really planted the seed in me that I loved commodities,” explained Matusic. “I began to see that oil and energy is a key factor in geopolitics and is the cog in virtually every economy, whether you’re a producer or consumer.”

After three years at Dow Jones she was poached by Reuters to go back and run its energy service, covering OPEC there up until the mid 2000s. Her return to Reuters started in London but took her to the Middle East, based in Dubai where she was the first woman Bureau Chief for the Gulf Countries covering Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Yemen. The reporting expanded from OPEC, to covering wars, and the Saudi royal family. After moving back to London, Matusic was in charge of UK general news which covered the war on terror during the time of September 11 and the spread of Islamic extremism in Europe.

Matusic described that every job she had, whether it was in general news, always led her back to energy and politics. She took a new opportunity to move to Washington D.C. to work for Energy Intelligence, and she was reporting for the publication Petroleum Intelligence Weekly where she specialized in Middle East and Iraq war coverage.

In 2006 the American Petroleum Institute (API) offered her a job to run its media department. Matusic cited the transitional struggles many journalism professionals face transitioning to public relations, but that she was eager to take on this role and new faucet of communications.

“To go from journalist to PR is not an easy thing for a lot of journalists. I had been a journalist all of my professional life. But I had covered the industry and I knew there were a lot of fallacies about the industry.  Since I believed in the industry and admired the technology and know-how, it was not a difficult transition for me.”

An active member of API, ExxonMobil offered Matusic a position to do corporate media relations in 2010 from its Dallas headquarters. The job focused on executive corporate media relations for then-CEO Rex Tillerson and Exxon’s senior management committee. The acquisition of XTO Energy in 2010 would make ExxonMobil the largest producer of natural gas in the United States. When XTO opened an office in Pittsburgh, Matusic mustered perhaps her best lobbying performance to convince her boss in Dallas to allow her to move back home to set up public and government affairs in the region in 2011.

XTO Energy started out of Cross Timbers with a small group of oil and gas employees that formed the company. They expanded to eventually become the largest gas producer in the country, at which point an acquisition by ExxonMobil became of interest. Specializing in unconventional production, the company had the technology and know-how to cost effectively produce oil and gas that was difficult to access. As the merger matured, XTO unconventional resource experts are overseeing a key cog in Exxon’s upstream portfolio shales and are currently operating in most shale plays across the country and others worldwide.

Back home

After serving as an Exxon lobbyist in Washington DC, where she worked on lifting the U.S. crude export ban, and then returning to Texas where she helped establish Exxon’s public affairs operations in the thriving Delaware Basin division, Matusic has returned back to the job she has most loved. Matusic is based in Wheeling West Virginia, and covers the Appalachian division which spans Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Delaware. However, she primarily operates out of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Matusic oversees everything from community engagement, to media relations, to government affairs, to internal engagement and communications, social media for the region, and engagement with public or government officials.

Having grown up in this region, Matusic has seen firsthand how the industry is transforming the area. In Ohio, XTO is concentrated in Belmont and Monroe counties. Belmont is the largest producing county in Ohio and is very prolific  

Investment in the communities they operate in extremely important to XTO and ExxonMobil, with the adopted philosophy of entering the community as an active participant. This takes the form of community advisory panels meeting quarterly to discuss areas of mutual interest among county commissioners, first responders, charitable organizations, educators, and service companies.

“I think there is a welcome here that you don’t always get in some other states,” said Matusic “However I still think there is a still a lot of education to do, and a lot of fallacies and rumors to dispel; communication is key, and we are very proactive in the communicating with our stakeholders.”

Part of why Matusic thinks this way, is that Ohio has a history of extractive industries. All of the employees at XTO live in the tri-state and most are from the area, so they have an appreciation for what’s important to the community. Another component of what goes into their approach to entering a new community is to never assume that they know everything, that why it’s so important for to engage, well before they start to drill.

The greatest misconceptions among the tri-state area that Matusic runs into is that all of the counties and townships are the same and that they all operate similarly. This is definitely not the case and drives home the importance of the steps they take when entering a new community.

Matusic describes what she thinks is a great attribute about the region, “I think here there is a community sense that they want to industry to do well, because that means the community does well. There’s an appreciation that this industry is here to stay, and that we’re investing in the future. Great sense of community that we’re all in this together and want this to work, more some than some other areas.

OOGA Involvement

XTO and ExxonMobil are both advocates of trade association involvement and presenting a united front on issues of mutual importance. XTO has been a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since it started operating in Ohio in 2010. They are also involved in numerous other state trade organizations, every big national organization, and every chamber of commerce where they have a drill bit.

“I think with Ohio what strikes me is everyone in Ohio, from the community members, to the trade association, to the operators, are pulling together because we want Ohio to thrive, and we all want to be a part of that.”

The camaraderie among the trade groups and the stakeholders is also extremely important in providing regulators, legislators and policymakers with a one stop shop for industry information.

“I really like being a member of OOGA because technically speaking you have a lot of expertise,” said Matusic. “Those of us who have come in new to Ohio benefit from the knowledge and the history of the folks that have come before us. Ohio has a rich history of being an oil and gas state, so whenever there is regulation discussed I can also count on the expertise and ideas of other producers involved with OOGA.”

Matusic is a current OOGA Board of Trustees member and is actively involved on the communications committee. She truly feels forums of shared ideas among this group and talking about different ways of communicating is vitally important to this industry. It is really important that everyone is on the same page and that we provide good materials to the public and policy makers because it is not an easy industry to understand. At the end of the day, we all are in this together.

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Member Spotlight: Tyler & Nate Levengood, Sound Energy Company, Inc.

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communication Manager, Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The member spotlight series features OOGA members making an impact with their membership. If you would like to recommend someone to be highlighted, please contact Lyndsey Kleven at: lyndsey@ooga.org


Nate and Tyler Levengood grew up in a family owned oil and gas business in Dover, Ohio. Both brothers recalled times of being “cheap labor,” working for the business in any capacity that their father (Bruce Levengood) needed them. The brothers have fond memories of being woken up on weekends to work on a service rig or anything else that need done. Nate, who is six years older than Tyler, has a few more of these weekend experiences.

In 1981, Bruce Levengood, along with his brothers formed Atwood Resources, Inc., which became their turnkey drilling company. In 1988, Atwood bought Park Ohio Industries’ wells; at the time prices were thought to be at the bottom which turned out not to be the case. In 1992, Atwood sold their controlling interest to Transfuel and the brothers amicably parted ways. Bruce took 100 of the old wells and started Sound Energy Company later that year. The company started as a sole proprietor and became Sound Energy Company, Inc. in 1994.

When Nate and Tyler finished high school, both of them went to college to forge their own paths. Neither had any intentions of working in the oil and gas industry. Nate went to college at Ashland University and double majored in finance and economics. After working in finance for a brief period, it quickly became apparent that he did not like cubical life and the career path he was on. As he was finishing college, his perspective of how the oil and gas business functioned began to change.

“I started to look at each well as its own invest opportunity and I was becoming very intrigued by that factor,” described Nate Levengood. “You get to research and invest in new deals; and every well was its own new business deal. It wasn’t hard to realize I should have been doing this the whole time.”

Tyler went to Ohio University’s business school and double majored in marketing and management information systems. He graduated in 2009 and went to work for an IT consulting firm in Cleveland. He then moved to take a position in Columbus working for Nationwide in its accounting department on the IT side. Later he ended up back in Cleveland to start a new position at Safe Guard Properties, still working in IT but with a focus on business intelligence, reporting data and analytics. This role is where Tyler started to really find his niche and it was his eye opener to analytics and using data to make decisions. It was shortly after this Tyler decided the time was right to return home and channel these skills into the family business.

Sound Energy Company

Sound Energy Company, Inc. still operates as a family business, with four full time employees. Everyone wears many hats to meet all of the business operational needs. Operating in 18 counties around eastern Ohio, its focus is mostly conventional Clinton wells. The fundamental business model is to have wells close to home that can be easily accessible within a matter of a few hours. Nate has been working there full-time since 2003 and with Tyler since 2015, when he started full-time.

Nate has experience in land work and has focused his attention away from taking new leases, to working with what they have and acquiring new production—this has been a ramification of shale’s impact. In late 2013, Nate also put together a deal for expanding their focus, and now runs commercial disposal well operations in southeast Tuscarawas County. The Dennison Disposal side of the business is a large 24-hour, seven day a week facility with over ten employees, that Nate helps manage and oversee.

Tyler describes his role as operations analyst, ranging from making sure all field issues are handled, communicating with contractors and pumpers, digesting field information from pumper reports and charts, and focusing attention to profitable parts of the field. He came back to the business at a time when commodity prices were dropping, which was a tough way to start and his first real taste of the day-to-day beginnings of the industry. Quickly after starting to work together, the two brothers were able to create a great synergy, with Nate managing overall business operations and Tyler utilizing and analyzing company data and bookkeeping.

“When I was drowning in paper work getting Dennison Disposal up and running, Tyler’s experience with business analytics was able to query and organize all of this data, which exponentially cut down my time doing paperwork,” explained Nate. 

Tyler has also been able to apply these skills to all of Sound Energy’s administrative workings. The company owns about 480 producing wells, the record keeping and paperwork that goes with them consists of a tremendous amount of data. One of his primary projects after starting was getting a handle on this. He has helped Sound Energy Company utilize systems to streamline efficiencies, letting the data do the work, and making it much easier to resourcefully access all of this information.

“That’s a good thing I’ve been able to bring from my former professional life, is my intimate knowledge of data, how to organize, structure, and use it. How to make it work for us,” said Tyler. “We’ve come a long way and have been able to really automate a lot of our data aggregation, collection and distribution to whatever agency necessary.”  

Industry Overview

In 1992, Sound Energy Company started with 100 wells and their father Bruce was truly a one-man operator. The company drilled some wells over the years, becoming more oil oriented when the price of oil started rebounding in the mid 2000s. Most of what they have come from acquisitions, all conventional and some directional.

Tyler described his father’s original business model as being, “if you get enough crumbs, you can make a cookie.” Both of the Levengood sons spoke admirably of their father’s entrepreneurial skills and strong work ethic in building the company. He managed and operated the wells, getting to know the fields and the areas he was working in everyday, which help him foster relationships and lead to numerous acquisition deals.

“We do a lot of the same things today. We may not touch each well every month, but we’ve kept the same approach to growth,” described Tyler. “We are not doing much leasing now, there’s not a lot of leases left to get. You have to be more creative, if we do want to lease, we have to really craft out a deal, the volatility of the industry can be harsh.”

The industry is ever changing, and both Nate and Tyler are watchful of gas futures, trying to make smart business decisions. They both feel fortunate to have a lot of experience working in the field that they’re in and finding new efficiencies to cut costs and do a lot of the work themselves.

“Our company has benefitted from having positions in some areas where there was interest in shale. This has helped us through some of the lean times,” said Nate. “Our bread and butter is the Clinton. We try to become more efficient and work better, living within cash flow to make it through down times.”

They hold a similar outlook for where the industry is headed, with short term consolidations continuing. Nate cited more stringent regulatory policies being a major driver for pushing legacy operators with personal stakes in their operations to divest their business. For a long-term forecast, they are both optimistic for what the future holds and think there could come a time when larger operators divest non-critical fields, which could bring new opportunities and people back to the industry.

OOGA Involvement

Nate cited his first involvement with the Ohio Oil & Gas Association was in 2002 when his father brought him to the Annual Meeting while he was still in college. Reflecting on changes over the years, Nate noted how the Annual Meeting was previously held in a small room, and now it hosts hundreds of attendees for a multiday event. It also stood out to him that at that time, he was the youngest person in the room with only one other person in his early twenties in attendance. There was a clear generational gap missing with a serious lack of young adults involved. Nate felt this time period was setting up for an interesting shift to shortly follow, almost a changing of the guards.

Nate and Tyler both became involved with the OOGA when they returned to the industry and Sound Energy Company, Inc. full-time. Their father’s involvement has been influential, as Bruce been an active member since the early 1980s and is on track to become the Association’s president in 2021. Nate is now on the Board of Trustees and is the Region II committee chair. Tyler recently has also been increasing his involvement and has spearheaded the Region I & II golf outing the past two years.

Becoming more involved has been a good learning experience to both of them as they see the importance of the Association and are continually feeling more inspired by everything the organization is doing for the industry. They both especially see this on a legislative and policy front and feel that OOGA really takes care of successfully advocating for the industry, in whatever undertaking it become involved with.

“If we didn’t have the Association, the ramifications could be detrimental for the industry. OOGA is a top-notch Association to be a part of and truly has the industry’s back,” said Tyler. “The staff and those highly involved with OOGA really care; they’re educated and extremely committed to succeed for the oil and gas industry.” 

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Industry Partners With Several Local Food Pantries

Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations, Thursday, February 28, 2019

As many of you have seen, over the last five years, your Association closes out the year during the holiday season by partnering with the Toys for Tots Foundation to bring some much-needed joy to families in need. When the Communications Committee got fired up again this year, one of the first items we discussed was what can we do during the first part of the year to build on that success and partner with the communities we all operate in. While we kicked around several really good, solid and fun ideas, we landed on a food pantry drive.

For those unfamiliar with this process, there are several food banks in Ohio that buy food at discounted prices from big box stores and then in turn pass it along to local community based food pantries. According to the Mid- Ohio Food bank, which serves southeast Ohio, they provide enough food to serve 140,000 meals a day! While that sounds like a lot…and it is, there are still families that are classified as “food insecure” meaning, they may not know where their next meal is coming from.

Our members Amanda Finn with Ascent Resources, Tracy Stevens with Dominion Energy, Katharine Denby with Hilcorp Energy, and Sheri Cramblit with Williams all jumped in to help sponsor a local food pantry in their operating areas, respectively including locations in Jefferson, Belmont, Columbiana and Harrison Counties.

Through directly shopping at a local grocery store to collecting items with fellow employees, we teamed up to gather more than $2,000 worth of nonperishable goods to donate to the Epworth Center in Bethesda, 2nd Baptist Church in East Liverpool, Cadiz Food Pantry and the Smithfield Friends Church.

While we can each do a charitable event by ourselves, when we team up and work together, the giving goes farther and the impact becomes greater. The Association is so thankful for the members who participated in this event and the other community based activities we pull together throughout the year, we could not do this without you and your giving hearts. Thank you. 

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ODNR Announces Request for Proposals for Orphan Well Program Contractors

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Monday, February 11, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management is seeking oil and gas contractors to plug orphan wells.  Companies interested in becoming a certified contractor must respond to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services’ (DAS) request for proposal and complete a certification process.

DAS Request for Proposal:

DAS Contract Analyst: Melissa Anderson

Proposal Due Date:
February 22, 2019

Once a company becomes a certified contractor, a company may participate in a secondary offer process administered by the ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. Contractors will receive scopes of work for new Orphan Well Program projects, which are released and awarded monthly. The Orphan Well Program’s projects are given terms of three, six or 12 months for completion and often contain multiple wells, providing contractors with prime opportunities to efficiently plug orphan wells.

ODNR’s Orphan Well Program is on pace to offer projects to plug 173 wells during Fiscal Year 2019. Last year, the program encumbered $6 million in projects to plug 83 orphan wells. House Bill 225 became effective in September 2018, increasing the funding of the program, and created projected allocations of over $20 million for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021. The ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management has identified more than 700 orphan wells across the state. This increase in funding and inventory of orphan wells create abundant opportunities for plugging contractors.

ODNR’s Orphan Well Program was established in 1977 to plug abandoned oil and natural gas wells. If unaddressed, orphan wells may pose a significant threat to public safety, the environment, conservation of our natural resources and economic development. The program is funded by a percentage of the state’s severance tax on oil and natural gas production.

To view previously offered Scopes of Work for the Orphan Well Program, visit: http://oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/regulatory-sections/orphan-well-program/scope-of-work.

For more information about the Orphan Well Program, contact the ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management at 614-265-6644 or email OrphanWellProgram@dnr.state.oh.us

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Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s New Look

Posted By Matt Hammond, Executive Vice President, Thursday, January 31, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Welcome to the new-look of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.  We have spent the past year developing a new website that is user-friendly, full of easy-to-find resources, updates our membership on what your Association is doing, and has a fresh, sharp modern look.  The project of a new website evolved into a new logo and a full rebranding of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

Our Association has a rich history, which must continue to be respected and honored. Today’s Ohio Oil and Gas Association undoubtedly has a different composition then from previous years. While the mission remains the same (to promote and defend Ohio’s oil and gas industry), the way we accomplish our mission and our organizational structure has evolved and must continue to do so. Aspects of the Association, such as logos and websites, must be evaluated and updated in an effort to continue to explain who we are and what we represent. Our logo hasn’t been updated in over 10 years and it didn’t properly reflect the current composition of today’s Association.

The first thing I wanted to do was have a logo that stood out from the rest of the field.  Most trade association logos are similar.  Same color scheme and use of the organization’s acronym is standard across the board.  But the Ohio Oil and Gas Association isn’t like most trade associations.  We are unique compared to most of our peers across the country.  We successfully represent and advocate for a diverse membership with at times different needs.  Ultimately, we are one unified industry. 

The colors in our new logo are unique compared to other trade associations and gives our brand a distinct look.  Developing a new logo with what has become the industry standard of blue and green didn’t seem like the right fit.  While we kept a good portion of our logo blue, we incorporated a new color, that helps to represents all of the resources that are produced in Ohio, while also giving our logo a sharp look.  The two-colored image also reflects the resources our members are producing in Ohio, a natural gas flame encompassing an oil drop within. 

Another focus of the new logo was to tell people exactly who we are, which should be a key function of any logo.  Telling someone you are with the “Ohio Oil and Gas Association” can certainly feel like a mouthful, so most shorten it to “OOGA.”  How you say “OOGA” is up to you and I’ve heard a multitude of variations.  Our logo, and therefore our brand, shouldn’t be up for interpretation or force people to ask the correct way of saying it.  It should tell people exactly who we are and what we represent.  Using the Ohio Oil and Gas Association in our logo was an important change we wanted to emphasize.  

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Main Office
88 E Broad Street, Suite 1400
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614.824.3901
Fax: 614.824.4329