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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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OOGA Welcomes New Leadership

Posted By Steve Downey, EnerVest Operating, Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

So how did a guy from West Virginia become the President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association? It is a good question and I often wonder myself; but as I reflect on my years as a member of the Association, the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee, and my career, I guess it is not that hard to figure out. 

I’ve had the great pleasure to work for several companies throughout my 30 years in the oil and gas business. From my time at Columbia Transmission, Triana Energy, Chesapeake Energy, and currently EnerVest Operating, which has allowed me to not only join but engage in several state Associations.  Through that engagement, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with some amazing people and have been lucky enough to be mentored by many of them. They may not have realized that they were mentoring me, but probably most leaders do not realize the effect they have on others because it just comes naturally to them. As I page through my OOGA directory and read the names of the Past Presidents and Hall of Fame members of the last many years, I count those leaders as my mentors.  As they look at me, I’m sure they are thinking, “there goes the neighborhood!” With all kidding aside, what they taught me is to become engaged, express your opinion, and get involved in the Committees to make a difference. To that end, I’ve endeavored to do so. 

My first stint was co-chairing the Commerce Committee, then ultimately chairman wherein we worked through many issues affecting the Industry. From that, we conceived the Midstream Subcommittee, given the activity surrounding processing, fractionation, and pipeline construction. My simplistic view was that it would ultimately help us get our product to market and improve our netbacks, so it would be an offshoot of the Commerce Committee.  Little did I know, this Subcommittee’s first charge was to draft legislation to fend off the onerous rules that regulatory agencies were trying to burden the midstream industry with and make the construction and operation of the facilities more difficult than necessary. Thereafter, it was ultimately decided that this facet of the Industry was so important that it needed to be separated as its own Committee. I take great pride in that!

Through my work in the Committees, I was given the opportunity to become a member of the Executive Committee, ultimately leading to the Board electing me an officer; and for that, I thank you! So the answer to the question I earlier posed, is through Committee engagement. Being a Trustee is not a rite of passage nor a ceremonial appointment. It was a charge that was given to me by the Trustees that voted for me, and the mentors that shaped me, both of whom expect me to help carry the load. 

As we enter 2019, we will have a new Governor, Administration and new department heads that we must become acclimated to and contend with. The more things change, the more they stay the same, so expect many of the battles that have raged in the past to rage again along with new ones we probably haven’t even thought of yet. However, be assured that your Association will be at the forefront of the issues and working in unison with our members to craft a viable outcome for our Industry. To that end, I urge you to become involved in the Committees and be engaged so that your voice will be heard and you will be part of the solution. The Association is only as strong as its members and Committees, in order to succeed, we all have to be engaged. Please accept the challenge!

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Secretary Perry Announces Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Report

Posted By Guest blog: U.S. Department of Energy, Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Report highlights the benefits of an ethane storage hub located in the Appalachian Region


Today in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a Report to Congress:  Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States.  The report highlights the potential in Appalachia for the development of a new ethane hub based on the tremendous low-cost resource from the Marcellus and Utica shales, and the accompanying security and reliability benefits derived from geographic diversity in the nation’s petrochemicals manufacturing base.  


“We have found an incredible opportunity, which is the potential for establishing an ethane storage and distribution hub in the Appalachian region,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry today at the annual National Petroleum Council Meeting in Washington D.C. “As our report shows, there is sufficient global need, and enough regional resources, to help the U.S. gain a significant share of the global petrochemical market. The Trump Administration would also support an Appalachia hub to strengthen our energy and manufacturing security by increasing our geographic production diversity.”


The United States is now the top producer of oil and natural gas in the world, with an additional benefit in the form of increased natural gas liquids (NGLs), including ethane. Some NGLs are burned for space heating and cooking while others are blended into vehicle fuel.  Ethane is particularly useful as a feedstock for petrochemical manufacturing.  Ethane production in the Appalachian basin is projected to continue its rapid growth through 2025 to a total of 640,000 barrels per day, more than 20 times greater than just 5 years ago.


The Appalachian region has experienced near-exponential growth in natural gas production, and that production is expected to increase for decades to come. The region is home to the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, and were it an independent country, Appalachia would be the third-largest natural gas producer in the world.


According to the Energy Information Administration, production in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia has increased so rapidly that their combined share of total U.S. natural gas production has jumped from only 2% in 2008 to 27% in 2017. In addition, natural gas liquids (NGLs) processing and fractionating capacity in Appalachia has grown quickly to match this increase in natural gas production.  However, the Appalachian region currently lacks other physical infrastructure for a “hub” that connect supply and demand sources, including storage for the liquids. 


This Report to Congress examines the potential for a hub by comparing it to existing ones that already service the Gulf Coast and Permian Basin, which account for most of the U.S. growth in NGLs outside of Appalachia.  In addition, market analysis from the report emphasizes that the development of an Appalachian hub may offer a competitive advantage for the U.S. to gain global petrochemical market share while not being in conflict with Gulf Coast expansion.  The report explains that a new Appalachian hub would enhance the geographic diversity of the vital US petrochemical industrial sector, supporting U.S. economic security.    


The full report can be found HERE.

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Toys for Tots Foundations Teams with Oil and Gas Industry to Bring Holiday Cheer

Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations, Monday, December 3, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

For the fifth year in a row Ohio’s oil and gas industry is partnering with the Toys for Tots Foundation to distribute toys throughout southeastern Ohio. Many churches, social organizations, local businesses among others collect toys this time of year for the Foundation’s efforts, and the oil and gas industry is coming together with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) to coordinate the distribution of the toys to local families in need.

OOGA’s members that are participating this year are MarkWest, Ascent Resources, EdgeMarc Energy, XTO Energy and Williams.

Carroll County resident and Foundation Coordinator Deb Oberlin is once again leading the entire effort not only for her home county but most of southeast Ohio. According to Deb who has been honored by the United States Marine Corp and Duracell over the years for her longtime efforts for the Foundation, “Each year my family and I work to provide toys for the kids of Appalachia through the Foundation and appreciate our partners in the oil and gas industry.”

Ohio Oil and Gas Association spokesman Mike Chadsey says, “we are so grateful for Deb and her entire team at the Toys for Tots Foundation for the willingness to work with us and our member companies on toy collection and distribution, as we know there is a need in our operating areas and we want to do our part to serve our neighbors.”

Deadline to register is Friday, December 7th.

More information: https://dellroy-oh.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx


To donate a toy(s): https://dellroy-oh.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/local-donate.aspx


To request a toy(s): https://dellroy-oh.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/local-toy-request-single-form.aspx


Toy distribution dates, times and locations:


Harrison County

Monday, December 10th

Olive Branch Church, 201 South Main Street, Cadiz, OH 43907

Hosted by MarkWest


Jefferson County

Tuesday, December 11th

Grace Point Church, 4244 Sunset Blvd, Steubenville, OH 43952

Hosted by Ascent


Monroe County

Wednesday, December 12th

First United Methodist Church, 136 North Main Street, Woodsfield, OH 43793

Hosted by EdgeMarc


Belmont County

Friday, December 14th

Ebbert Farm Market, 68101 Ebbert North Road, St Clairsville, OH 43950

Hosted by XTO


Carroll County

Monday, December 17th

Our Lady of Mercy Church, 618 Roswell Road NW, Carrollton, OH 44615

Hosted by Williams

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Belmont County has New Mobile Command Center, Thanks to Oil and Gas Partners

Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations, Wednesday, November 14, 2018

On a cold November afternoon on the outskirts of St. Clairsville, the staff of the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in Belmont County eagerly cut the ribbon on the county’s new state of the art emergency response vehicle.

The process for this long-awaited milestone started more than a year ago when local active driller Ascent Resources held a training drill exercise with the EMA and other first responders in the county. At the end of the day the team involved gathered inside a rickety school bus that was then serving as the county’s command center. It became clear once everyone was inside that there was not enough room to conduct a debriefing, so everyone filed back outside to discuss the day’s events. On the way out of the bus, the staff of Ascent Resources noticed the outdated communications equipment and rusty desks. It was clear that the current county command center was not going to be able to make do any longer.

Fast forward a couple of months and Amanda Finn with Ascent Resources had raised nearly $50,000, donated from Ascent Resources along with help from fellow Utica producing companies Antero Resources and EQT, which was enough to purchase and outfit a new command center for Belmont County. 

During a ribbon cutting ceremony held on November 13, Finn shared that, “today was a long time coming, but I think the trailer turned out really well and will benefit not only Ascent, Antero and EQT, but the other producers active in the Utica, as well as the entire community it will be able to serve.” 

The newly acquired Fifth Wheel has 911 dispatch capabilities, a meeting area that can hold up to 20 people [with room to move], a small kitchen, two bathrooms with a shower, as well as flat screens and sleep quarters.

While the vehicle will be based in St. Clairsville it can be dispatched by any of the surrounding counties for shared use.  

Mike Chadsey with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association said at the ceremony, “this trailer is ready to roll to serve the people of Belmont thanks to our member companies stepping up to provide the funds necessary to make it happen. We are so grateful for their ongoing commitment to the communities that they operate in.” 

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Member Spotlight: James Haas, Reserve Energy Exploration Company

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Monday, October 29, 2018

Background Information

James (Jim) Haas is second generation oil and gas. Haas grew up in Chagrin Falls, graduated high school from Notre Dame Cathedral Latin and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati business school. After forging a path in commercial real estate for the first decade of his career, Haas found his way back to the family oil and gas business, Reserve Energy Exploration Company.

Right out of college, Haas started working for Developers Diversified Realty Trust (DDR) and was an early member of the Executive Training Program. Haas did this for five years, with the focus on developing large power center shopping centers throughout the country. He went from a role in a large public company to a small family business when he took an opportunity to work for a privately owned real estate developer in Cleveland. He remained in this role for nine years, wearing many hats and leading the development of smaller scale shopping centers, post offices and historical buildings. This all involved handling leasing with tenants, coordinating with contractors, government officials, historical tax credit buyers and lenders.

Industry Background

Haas grew up around oil and gas, as his father, Joe, has been working in the business since 1973. Growing up his father emphasized the importance of having a strong work ethic by requiring all of the Haas children to have jobs. This was not just encouraged for money, but to gain an understanding of responsibility. In high school and throughout college, Haas started doing odd jobs, from painting tank batteries, to installing pipelines and working for Orwell Natural Gas one summer. The work he did for his father at this time was more technical, including doing courthouse research.

When Haas graduated in 1996, the opportunity that existed in oil and gas in the Appalachian Basin looked very different than it does today. Having a college internship at DDR and a great job lined up out of school led Haas to commercial real estate. The skills that he built in this field would later be of great value as the shale play started taking off in our region in the late 2000s. In 2009, Haas decided to start working for his father.

Reserve Energy Exploration Company

In 2001, Reserve Energy Exploration Company was founded by Joe Haas, based in Auburn Township, Geauga County. Joe had been in the oil and gas business nearly thirty years and previously worked for his brother and on ventures of his own. The company’s business model is to locate new reserves beginning with the development of a geological concept, reviewing historical data and using this experience to identify potential areas that may support oil and gas exploration. Upon completing the initial studies, a land team will research lease availability and infrastructure. Reserve will begin to acquire leases.

“Reserve is pretty unique in that we are an early stage exploration company, which is rare, not a lot of people are focused on exploration,” said Jim Haas. “You don’t see many groups even having exploration budgets. Everyone is willing to participate once you prove up an area, and they have budgets for the development piece.”

The exploration team will then high grade the prospect with an in-depth subsurface study and geophysical studies that furthers the likelihood for a successful drilling program. Depending on the size of the program, Reserve will begin developing the project or, in the case of larger acreage plays (10,000+), seek an industry partner to jointly develop the prospect. Many times Reserve will continue to do land services after the prospect is in the development stage.

At Reserve, Jim is the vice president of development and, being that it is a small family company, still wears many hats. Haas’ primary role is to look for new opportunities and execute on existing projects with industry partners. He truly believes that it’s a relationship-based business, with many repeat partners and some of the relationships stemming back to his father’s work in the industry multiple decades ago. Haas also works alongside his three siblings and says they all have characteristics that complement each other and the business well.

“Our business model and focus are that we treat people well, from the bottom to the very top,” explained Haas. “From our staff, to our contractors working in the field, to the landowners—if we drill on their land to ensure that property is taken care of.”

Industry Overview

Haas likes working in the energy industry because it is essential to our every day life and comforts along with providing an exciting opportunity to be entrepreneurial. Also growing up around the business draws people into it. He has seen the industry change tremendously because of the shale play over the last years.

“It is a hope that we can continue to work towards having the average Ohioan fully realize the positive impacts of our industry and to shed this negative stigma,” explained Haas. “It is amazing what one HBO documentary can do to an industry. There’s so many uses for the products that are derived from oil and gas that people do not even think about. The average consumer could really suffer economically if it wasn’t for our industry.”

Ohio was traditionally groups of independent operators, conventional service companies and rigs. Haas has noticed this shift as larger groups came into the state to drill horizontal shale wells. This shift has had broader impacts on changes in land, leasing and royalty rates, changes in well costs and overall midstream capacity. Private equity has really energized the business with the money but changed the way people are viewing exploration. In Ohio, it is amazing how important midstream and take away is, with the quantity of gas being produced.

OOGA & Professional Involvement

Haas recounted his father instilling the importance of being involved with professional organizations since he was young. He attended his first OOGA Summer Meeting with his father when he was still in high school. As Haas has built his career over the years, his perspective on the importance of these groups has also evolved. Early on he saw professional organizations as a means of providing networking opportunities, but as he has become more involved with OOGA this notion has completely changed for him. 

In 2015, Haas was elected to the OOGA Board of Trustees and since then has gotten a glimpse of the broader impacts on the industry. It has been eye opening to Haas the level of proactivity that OOGA derives and its ability to emphasize the bigger picture and support the industry as a whole.

“There should be a huge level of respect for the past board members and trustees who have put in so much time and effort to get the policies in place that we currently have,” emphasized Haas. “It is a big commitment to be that involved, but everyone who is realizes the need for it. It is equally as important to stay ahead of forthcoming issues and continue to build a group of people willing to be that involved as we’re facing a shift in generations.”


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

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Top 5 Things to Look Forward to at SHALE INSIGHT™

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Monday, October 22, 2018

Are you headed to the 8th annual SHALE INSIGHT™ conference in Pittsburgh this week? This year’s events will include the kind of stimulating conversation and noteworthy featured speakers that you’ve come to expect, along with a few new, exciting features.

  1. Policy Insight from Top Government Officials: Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will kick off the conference by discussing his efforts to bring clarity and predictability to EPA policy actions, while Admiral Michael Rogers, former head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, will close the event with his take on how American shale is a gamechanger in terms of U.S. global leadership and stability. Mr. Wheeler will speak on Wednesday around 9:15 a.m. & Admiral Rodgers will take the podium on Thursday at 1:45 p.m.
  2. Engaging Panels Addressing Today’s Issues: Hear from leaders at major companies including XTO Energy, MPLX Energy, Ascent Resources, Dominion Energy, K&L Gates and many more on subjects such as the potential of our region’s natural resources, maximizing opportunity for natural gas-fired power plants, the challenges facing pipeline expansion, and protection from cybersecurity threats and attacks.
    • Join XTO’s Karen Matusic and Andreè Griffin as they discuss the potential of the Utica Shale and how this enormous shale play has become a global opportunity. Karen and Andreè are slated to speak following Administrator Wheeler’s address on Wednesday morning.
    • Michael Huwar of Columbia Gas will foster a dialogue among senior pipeline executives to discuss the buildout of pipelines, challenges, opportunities and lessons learned, highlighting the $13 billion of approved projects and sensationalized public protests. Pipelines to Prosperity II: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons Learned is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, following a conversation about getting gas to market.
    • Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum will guide a conversation Thursday morning focused on the threat of cybersecurity attacks in today’s digital age. Cybersecurity: How will Operational Cyber Threats and Attacks Impact You? will begin Thursday at 9 a.m.
  3. Groundbreaking Findings: Debuting this year, the University Research Showcase will highlight the important studies, projects and research surrounding the natural gas industry being conducted by students from universities in the region. Students will present at various times, click here for a schedule, including the research topics.
  4. Emerging Technologies: Check out presentations from suppliers of emerging technologies that will create value, reduce costs and generate competitive advantages to address Appalachian Basin shale industry challenges. The Technology Showcase will take place on Tuesday from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., be sure to stop by!Click here to learn more about this year’s presenters and topics.
  5. Endless Networking Opportunities: SHALE INSIGHT™ offers a unique opportunity to foster relationships and engage with colleagues from around the tri-state area. Networking breaks are scheduled throughout the day in the exhibit hall. And be sure to join us Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. for the Welcome Reception to renew and build new business relationships with industry professionals.

For a full conference schedule, click here, and if you’re on social media, join the conference conversation with #ShaleInsight and by following @ooga_hq on Twitter.

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Member Spotlight: Kevin Ellis, Antero Resources

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Kevin Ellis has a unique background that brought him to Antero Resources in West Virginia. Ellis grew up in Abbeville, South Carolina, which is a small rural farm town where the primary businesses were the railroad and textile mills. Ellis’ father worked on the railroads and had a military background, as did his grandfather. After high school, Ellis joined the U.S. Army Reserves and the very night that he graduated went off to basic training. In 1990, his unit was called to active duty during Operation Desert Storm, where he was deployed to southwest Asia for almost a year. When he returned, Ellis finished an undergraduate program at The Citadel, in the military college of South Carolina.

Ellis remained in South Carolina for the next eight years, where he worked as a deputy sheriff and he held various positions in the grocery business. In 2002, Ellis and his family decided to make a major career change. He decided to attend law school at West Virginia University, graduating in 2005, and began working at Steptoe & Johnson in Morgantown.

Industry Background

At Steptoe & Johnson, Ellis practiced energy law, focusing on coal and oil and gas, primarily doing titles and transactions. Initially when joining the firm, he spent his first few years as a new lawyer in record rooms researching title and writing title opinions. These actions proved valuable as he learned how to properly do title work.

“It became apparent to me even back then, that energy law was the area of law you wanted to be in, in the Appalachian basin,” explained Ellis. “Timing is everything, it just so happened at the time when I joined the firm that energy law had a need and I had an interest, which made it a natural fit for me.”

Ellis left Steptoe & Johnson and ultimately went on to work for one of his clients, Bluestone Energy Partners, a small producer based in Richie County, West Virginia. Bluestone was a family run business where Ellis managed landmen, oversaw land management and obtained new leases.

“To me, the nuts and bolts of the energy business was understanding titles,” said Ellis. “It was fundamental and there is the old adage, ‘no lease, no grease,’ you have to find out who owns the rights to the lease. I wasn’t an engineer or geologist, so for me this was where I needed to be.”

Ellis enjoyed working at Bluestone and got to wear many hats, including working on the permitting, developing drilling units, business development along with doing various legal work. Bluestone held about 40,000 acres of lease holds and drilled upwards of 150 vertical conventional wells and at one point, Bluestone had the most Marcellus wells of any other operator in WV, albeit all vertical wells. Branching into the Marcellus, vertical wells progressed into a drilling a few horizontal wells, and soon Bluestone’s assets became of interest to other operators.

Antero Resources

Antero Resources acquired Bluestone Energy in 2010. Ellis was retained by Antero to manage the land department in WV. Ellis’ background in lease negotiation, surface agreements and pipeline right of ways put him at the forefront of many deals involving conventional producer’s acreage. Ellis remained in this area for the next four years, focusing on land, growth and helping with litigation and title disputes. After this time, Ellis began to work in the area of government and community relations and expanded this work to cover both WV and OH where Antero continues to have significant operations. 

Ellis helped to establish an official government relations branch within Antero and was promoted to vice president of government relations and still wears many hats. He covers government relations, community relations, landowner relations and oversees office administrative personal in the Marietta and Bridgeport offices.

“There really are major opportunities for people that grew up in this region to be able to stay here, and work in a field that they like,” explained Ellis. “The oil and gas industry provides a variety of opportunities that can be really amazing for people that are willing to roll their sleeves up and work hard to get there.”

Antero employs about 3,000 people, including all its employees and contractors. Ellis enjoys working for Antero because, even though it is a large operation, it still has a small company feel and allows him the ability to do a variety of work. He also respects the values Antero holds for its employees and the communities it operates in. Antero is heavily involved philanthropically with local food banks and among charities impacting children in need.

Industry Overview

Ellis got into energy law on the front end of shale development in the Appalachian Basin. He described seeing the industry shift and a change in fundamental players within the Basin. Conventional producers have and will continue to play a very important role in the industry in Ohio and elsewhere.  Ellis commented that “Conventional and unconventional producers are aligned in many ways including the continued production of conventional wells to maintain HBP lease status even during very difficult economic times.  As has been the history of the conventional industry – most being family owned for generations – they continue to look at their business and adapt to find new innovative ways to be competitive and profitable.”

On some of the early challenges to Ohio’s unconventional shale producers, Ellis observed that, “I’ve seen the industry from the earlier stages where it was really about justifying what we were doing, that we were safe and environmentally responsible, that we were impacting the economy by hiring local people. We overcame those hurdles. We got to a place where you finally put to bed some of the myths. This translates to the messaging, while we continue to evolve operationally, we now need to look at delivering on the value-added benefits of all of this production, how do we get to the downstream opportunities.”

Ellis is optimistic that the regional alliance being built across the Appalachian Basin is in the interest of all producers and will provide new opportunities. Producers are finding ways to drill longer laterals and derive both cost and operational efficiency in their operations. Much of the positioning is starting to settle, and Ellis thinks most of the big deals are done or starting to become more predictable. He pointed to the Chesapeake announcement as a recent big event that people have to take notice of, just due to the sheer size of its footprint. 

“The industry is in the middle of an infrastructure build out of pipelines that is necessary to get the region’s gas to the places that it needs to go. This is what is helping companies and operators still be able to produce in a low-cost environment, to get some production to outlets that provide a better return, which has a ripple effect on the economy of places where the gas is being produced,” described Ellis. “The end game that policy makers and residents want is now the downstream piece that encompasses manufacturing jobs, cracker plants and ethane storage hub.”

The industry has changed over the years, yet it is still vibrant and important. Ellis feels the energy industry is the most exciting business to be in, bar none. Every day is different and brings new challenges to face and problems to solve, all in ways to make things better.

Trends and Legislation to Watch

Rules and legislation impacting the industry need to be closely monitored. Ellis is currently watching the development of new rules packages from ODNR, (including simultaneous operations, waste facility rules and spacing rules).

“Anything we can do to help enable a producer to drill a well sooner is always helpful,” explained Ellis. “Streamlining unitization at the administrative level is a priority, as are timely orders. Getting a well drilled faster than you might be able to in another state or county, is really the name of the game, these companies want to get the wells put in the ground.”

Another area of particular interest to Ellis is the dormant mineral act (DMA) in Ohio. As it currently stands, the DMA creates uncertainty in business and creates confusion around its application and process. Ellis is leading the OOGA DMA workgroup to help identify the issues and put forth possible solutions, rather than intolerably continuing to react on a case-by-case basis across every shale county.

OOGA & Professional Involvement

Ellis began to interact with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association early in 2012. As Antero grew its operations, Ellis grew his participation and involvement among the Association. Ellis has been on the OOGA Board of Trustees for the past two years and looks forward to continuing to work with all the other board members to advance OOGA’s common interest.

“It all comes back to what policies and goals the Association will undertake to achieve. All of that is informed by a very experienced group of people and many of the board members have been in business in Ohio for generations,” said Ellis. “Companies like Antero that bring in people like myself, want to continue to learn from those experiences, to leverage those experiences, so we can help each other achieve our business objectives.”

Ellis likes being involved with the Association because it’s always good to have friends in the trenches. OOGA is a group of people who have and overall commonality of interest. The members are able to pursue those common goals together and show a unified front. Ellis feels OOGA has demonstrated effectiveness in this regard, in achieving successful legislative outcomes.

Ellis’ experience working with and leading other oil and gas trade associations has brought an added value to the OOGA board. Ellis has recently served as a three-term president for the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA), where he has served since 2013. He is currently the interim chairman of Energize West Virginia, the public education and outreach nonprofit affiliate of WVONGA. He is also in the middle of a three-year term serving as an elected board of director for the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGA WV), and also co-chairs its government relations committee. He is a board member of the Nature Conservancy of West Virginia, and on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, Harrison County, West Virginia.   


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 lyndsey@ooga.org

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