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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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OHIO811 Now Includes Oil & Gas Producers

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Monday, September 24, 2018

The Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS), in collaboration with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) and the Ohio Gas Producers Underground Protection Service (OGPUPS), are announcing the consolidation of Ohio’s two utility protection services under the unified OHIO811 trademark.  “Call Before You Dig” just became easier for Ohio’s excavators and homeowners, increasing public safety and the protection of the state’s critical underground utilities infrastructure.

Ohio’s Revised Code requires that ALL excavation contractors, property owners, or utility operators planning an excavation project must notify local utilities a minimum of 48 hours, but no more than 10 working days, prior to beginning any excavation. Now, a single call to 8-1-1 or a visit to OHIO811.org will insure that affected member utilities as well as those owning, operating and maintaining oil and gas production facilities are properly notified of planned excavations.

“This consolidation eases utility notification and legal compliance for Ohio’s 11.7 million citizens and anyone else involved in property excavation projects within our state,” said Roger Lipscomb, Executive Director of OHIO811. “Through this collaborative effort, we can more efficiently and effectively promote responsible digging, decreasing dangerous and costly damage to underground utilities.”

“For nearly 30 years OGPUPS has been enabling oil and gas producers to protect their underground systems in conjunction with OUPS,” said Matt Hammond, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “After much consideration we decided that it was in the best interest of all parties to consolidate and streamline the programs within a unified center managed by OUPS.” 

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Lifting the Curtain on the Group Blocking Shale Development in the Wayne National Forest

Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth Appalachian Basin, Monday, September 17, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2018

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a Tucson, Ariz.-based environmental activist group, has used the legal system for years to delay federal leasing of minerals. These delays are costly not only for federal and state government coffers, but for the local communities and forests CBD claims to be trying to protect. CBD’s latest target is Ohio’s Wayne National Forest – where CBD has claimed victory after victory over ongoing delays of federal permitting and, most recently, the cancellation of a federal auction lease sale.

CBD says its mission is “to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction.” But as EID has highlighted before, CBD is actually an extremist “multimillion dollar litigation factory” that brags about ignoring science and the law in pursuit of its agenda. What is CBD’s real agenda? To use “psychological warfare” to “mock” regulators and “destroy” and delay projects of every type – not to advocate more effective regulations or to protect the environment.

The Wayne National Forest provides a perfect case study illustrating CBD’s tactics. The group recently statedthat the “feds” are finally “listening to their concerns” with regard to its efforts to “stop all fracking in the Wayne.” In reality, of course, all of these delays can be traced to the CBD’s May 2017 lawsuit alleging, among other erroneous claims, that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Services violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing fracking in the Wayne.

EID will look at what the CBD claims to be, how the group articulates its real goals in rare moments of candor, its playbook of techniques designed to mislead reporters and frighten the public, and the disturbing business model that has evolved over the years to, among other things, fleece taxpayers through a technicality in the Endangered Species Act.

What does CBD actually do?

CBD employs a number of manipulative techniques, but its bread and butter is using the law to “turn one side of industrial society against itself” and abuse the law to fund its absurdly large budget – often through taxpayer dollars.

In a 2009 interview, CBD founder Kieran Suckling explained how the CBD playbook works – sue a federal government agency, attempt to “mock” and “destroy” regulator’s careers during litigation, and ultimately settle out of court.

Suckling has stated what CBD does in plain English, saying;

“The environmental movement spent a decade going to meetings and demanding action and getting nothing done. They were asking powerful people for something from a position of no power. We realized that we can bypass the officials and sue, and that we can get things done in court.”

“They are one tool in a larger campaign, but we use lawsuits to help shift the balance of power from industry and government agencies, toward protecting endangered species. That plays out on many levels. At its simplest, by obtaining an injunction to shut down logging or prevent the filling of a dam, the power shifts to our hands. The Forest Service needs our agreement to get back to work, and we are in the position of being able to powerfully negotiate the terms of releasing the injunction. They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed – and they are. So they become much more willing to play by our rules and at least get something done. Psychological warfare is a very underappreciated aspect of environmental campaigning.”

This exact strategy has been employed by CBD in its effort to stop development in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest, as you can clearly see in this National Association of Royalty Owner’s (NARO) infographic.

These ongoing delays even caught the attention of the House Committee on Natural Resources, which recently held a hearing entitled, “The Weaponization of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Implications of Environmental Lawfare.”

With “psychological warfare” and endless litigation as its admitted strategy, CBD has not had to trouble itself hiring scientific experts or those concerned primarily with the nuances of species protection. Instead it has decided to recruit from top law schools, not primarily to ensure that we have clean water and air, or that loggerhead sea turtles thrive, but to shut down, if possible, entire industries that humans rely upon for survival and, failing that, to reap financial windfalls through abuse of the law.

It is not “winning” that CBD is interested in – it is using the process itself to frustrate the aims of regulators, other NGOs and industries trying to create a safe and healthy environment for humans and other species. This strategy allows CBD to generate a lot of media attention and even more money, while never having to actually help find a solution to any environmental problem.

As former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Director Dan Ashe explained to the House Committee on Natural Resources in 2011, this litigation strategy actually takes away from pools of money federal agencies would otherwise spend on species and habitat recovery. Ashe said,

“We fully agree with the concern that our resources are better spent on implementing the ESA than on litigation. … [O]ur FY 2011 resource management allocation for listing and critical habitat was $20.9 million, of which we spent at least $15.8 million taking substantive actions required by court orders or settlement agreements resulting from litigation.”

If CBD existed to help advance environmental policy, it would work with regulators, industry and NGOs to advocate for and craft laws and regulations to suit its ends. Instead, it seeks to “cripple – and eliminate, if possible – industry.” It appears that’s precisely the case with the Wayne National Forest, as CBD’s efforts to “mock” regulators has led to a complete gridlock in allowing regulators to do their job to adjudicate requests for permits and mineral development.

Meanwhile, as the regulatory gears remain jammed, there’s no doubt that the CBD and its team of lawyers are working overtime to try and settle with the federal government, as they have done over and over again in cases all over the country.

The Sue & Settle Playbook

CBD is, first and foremost, a deep-pocketed law firm. The group’s 2016 Form 990 shows revenue in excess of $14 million. It’s hometown newspaper, the Tucson Citizen, has called it a “multimillion dollar environmental litigation factory.” Unfortunately, it is a “factory” that is willing to say or do, it seems, almost anything in pursuit of its ideological agenda, regardless of its relationship to the truth or its actual impact on the environment.

The Wayne National Forest lawsuit is just the latest example of CBD filing an Endangered Species Act lawsuitagainst the Department of the Interior (DOI), which the DOI inevitably is unable to comply with due to CBD’s intentionally impossible demands. CBD’s approach – really, its business model – has, according to self-described “environmental extremist” and outdoors writer Ted Williams, become an industry:

“You and I are a major source of revenue for that industry. The Interior Department must respond within 90 days to petitions to list species under the Endangered Species Act. Otherwise, petitioners like the Center for Biological     Diversity get to sue and collect attorney fees from the Justice Department.

The Center also shakes down taxpayers directly from Interior Department funds under the Equal Access to Justice Act, and for missed deadlines when the agency can’t keep up with the broadside of Freedom-of-Information-Act requests.” [Emphasis added]

In the same article, environmental leader Amos Eno, who currently directs the Resources First Foundation, is even more blunt:

“The amount of money CBD makes suing is just obscene,” he told me. “They’re one of the reasons the Endangered Species Act has become so dysfunctional. They deserve the designation of eco-criminals.” [Emphasis added]

Eno, who formerly directed the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and who worked in the federal government’s Endangered Species Office, noted that CBD’s litigation strategy actually runs counter to its stated goal of protecting species – actually hurting endangered species instead:

“Eno figures the feds could ’recover and delist three dozen species‘ with the resources they spend responding to the Center for Biological Diversity’s litigation.

’The amount of money CBD makes suing is just obscene,’ he told me. ’They’re one of the reasons the Endangered Species Act has become so dysfunctional.’” [Emphasis added]

According to a former Obama Administration official:

“CBD has probably sued Interior more than all other groups combined. They’ve divested that agency of any control over Endangered Species Act priorities and caused a huge drain on resources. In April, for instance, CBD petitioned to list 404 species, knowing full well that biologists can’t make the required findings in 90 days.”

It is for that reason that CBD’s Taylor McKinnon’s claim that the group’s Wayne National Forest lawsuit was being filed to “stop this dangerous fracking plan because drinking water safety and public lands should come before corporate profits” was so disingenuous.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found that CBD raked in over $2 million in taxpayer dollars paid to its attorneys and directly to CBD for cases open between 2009 to 2012 in Endangered Species Act-related litigation and settlements. Then-Chairman Hastings said:

“American taxpayers have a right to know how much of their money is going to pay attorneys and settlement costs for lawsuit-happy organizations that make a living off of suing the federal government. The numbers from the Justice Department speak for themselves.” [Emphasis added]

In response to investigations, CBD called for the chairman’s retirement, saying in the press release “good riddance” to then-Chairman Hastings. In addition, the NGO also put out a flurry of press releases slammingHastings in retaliation.

Fast forward to just a few months ago, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) opened another probe into CBD as part of an ongoing investigation into the organization and foreign influence on U.S. natural resources and environmental policy.

In other words, CBD has not only grown into a litigation factory, but a taxpayer-funded cash cow with clear ties to foreign influence that is simultaneously stalling America’s move toward energy dominance.

The Media Playbook: Adjectives, Not Facts

In addition to filing suits to frustrate the efforts of regulators, CBD brings legal action so that it can write press releases about … bringing legal action. This strategy has been relatively successful, especially in Ohio around the Wayne. The news media has too frequently “reported” on these legal filings without understanding the broader strategy behind many of them.

A visit to the group’s online “Newsroom” reveals a steady churn of adjective-laden press releases, often several a day, many of them regarding filed or ongoing litigation. In fact, as of this writing, CBD has issued 395 press releases in 2018 alone. By the time you read this, the number is sure to be higher.

CBD press releases follow a familiar pattern: amp-up the adjectives, seek to scare – rather than inform – the reader, repeat. There’s no “just the facts” for CBD.

The headline and subhead from CBD’s release about the Wayne National Forest lawsuit is a typical example: “Lawsuit Challenges Fracking Plan for Ohio’s Only National Forest; Feds Overlook Danger to Wildlife, Watersheds, Ohio River.”

This May 2017 press release is, as noted previously, an attempt to nullify the years of significant environmental reviews that went into the Environmental Assessment that concluded there would be “no significant impact” from the development of oil and natural gas in the area, allowing leasing in the Wayne National Forest. Energy In Depth has reported on this circumstance previously.

The press release and media talking points are a model of sophistry, wholly inaccurate and completely misleading substantively. Let’s unpack it:

Probably the most absurd allegation is the fact that CBD claims there was not a “hard look’ at how the Wayne National Forest’s many natural values would be impacted by fracking and horizontal drilling, in violation of NEPA’s requirement for federal agencies to disclose significant environmental effects of their proposed actions.” They also mention that there was not enough “public notice and comment” and the decision to lease was “rushed.” Federal agencies have been debating and conducting environmental reviews around this subject since 2011. The decision to lease federal minerals did not come until October 2016. During those years of review there were multiple public notices, meetings, and comment periods, as EID has covered extensively.

The entire premise of this typical CBD press release is an attempt to scare Ohioans into believing that the federal government did not include dangers to wildlife, watersheds, and the Ohio River, rushed to make its decision and rejected public opinion, which CBD knows to be false.


In this blog post, we have only scratched the surface of CBD’s radical ideology, its legal strategy premised on harassment and obstruction, its disinterest in science as an objective enterprise, and the techniques it uses to mislead the media and the public. And we have done so only in the context of the group’s anti-energy crusade, which Energy In Depth has reported on extensively.

From the story of its origin to its anti-regulatory activities, there is ample evidence that CBD has positioned itself so far to the fringe of the debate over oil and gas development that it borders on journalistic malpractice to trust any “analysis” or claim it makes without independent investigation.

Any entity – a government agency, an industry, an NGO – should have its claims investigated and held up to journalistic scrutiny. That is equally true for the activists of CBD. Citizens seeking facts and reliable information about environmental policy, and journalists seeking credible information on the science behind energy development, should be wary and should most likely look elsewhere.

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Ascent Resources and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association hosted U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson on a tour of a Utica shale drilling rig in Guernsey County

Posted By Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations, Monday, September 10, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2018

Ascent Resources and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association hosted U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson on a tour of a Utica shale drilling rig in Guernsey County.

After proceeding through security and watching a safety video, the tour commenced with a walk around the well pad to see the various pieces of equipment on site and how the pad is laid out to ensure safety and efficiency.  Next the group checked in with the crew in what is known in the industry as the “doghouse” for a visit. It was there that the Congressman first commented on the impressive technology in place to protect Ohio’s precious water resources. Here, the driller showed the congressman how they take the pipe downhole, what precautions they use during the process and how intricate the equipment used really is. 

While everyone was watching and listening to the crew explain what was happening the gentleman at the controls offered up he was from Ohio and he pointed to the group on the rig floor and shared that they were all from the tristate region. Hiring local is part of an industry wide effort in Ohio to ensure that qualified workers for the tristate area find meaningful employment in the industry that is working in their towns. According to the latest state data, over 200,000 are employed in shale related jobs in Ohio.

After a tour around the drilling floor it was back down to check out the various pumps, machines and equipment used to drill a horizontal well. All along the tour, it was pointed out the various measures in place to protect safety the workers, watershed and our shared environment.

According to Amanda Finn, Government Affairs Manager at Ascent Resources, “we host these kind of tours to ensure our elected officials at all levels understand what it is we do, how we do it and the incredible economic activity we create when we set up in a given area.”

At the conclusion of the official tour, the entire group gathered to answer questions that were posed by the Congressman about various aspects of the industry, the state of Ohio’s oil and gas industry and how things have been since coming out of the downturn.

Mike Chadsey, Director of Public Relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association shared that, “OOGA is grateful for the Congressman taking time out of his busy travel schedule to stop by an active well pad in Guernsey County to take a tour and ask intelligent questions about the industry and discuss current production from Ohio’s producers.”

Ascent owns 9 of the top 10 producing natural gas wells in Ohio per the latest report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and they are a growing company with over 200 employees in Oklahoma City and over 100 here in Cambridge. They, like other producers, while coming out of a long downturn are reinvesting in Ohio by purchasing assets from other companies such as their recent acquisition of the Hess and CNX joint venture acreage. They are still a single play operator only drilling in the Utica in Ohio. 

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Member Spotlight: Amanda Finn, Ascent Resources-Utica, LLC

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Monday, August 27, 2018

 Background Information

Amanda Finn grew up in Mason Ohio just north of Cincinnati where she lived until her final year of high school. Just before starting her senior year, her parents moved the family to Oklahoma. That year proved to be a challenging time in 17 year old Finn’s life, which she managed to survive after realizing she was not required to ride a horse or live in a teepee (original dramatic thought of a 17 year old). She then moved on to attend Lindenwood University just outside of St. Louis, Missouri and graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing. Immediately after school she started working for a local marketing research firm in St. Louis focusing on internal marketing and social media. This was a good role for a recent college graduate, where she remained for three years developing marketing strategies for major Midwestern clients.

With her parents move to Marietta, Ohio, a visit home sparked a change in career path that she was looking for. Finn met a local Ohio congressman and, after shadowing his D.C. fundraiser staffer, she was offered a position to move back to Ohio and start working as his director of finance. This opened the door to the state’s energy industry as Finn was meeting numerous people directly involved in oil and gas.  

Work History

In her fundraising role, Finn met the CEO of Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation, who presented an opportunity for Finn to leave the fundraising side of politics and make the leap over to government relations and community affairs. Having built a network in oil and gas while doing congressional fundraising, Finn felt ready to make this career shift. For the next two years, Finn was the Government Relations Manager for Magnum Hunter. During this time, she also focused on community relations and public relations throughout Ohio and West Virginia. During the oil and gas industry’s bust of 2016, Magnum Hunter filed for bankruptcy, in turn causing staff turnover. Finn then went on to Ascent Resources – Utica, LLC (“Ascent”) where she currently works as their Government Relations Manager.

“I think it’s addicting,” Finn described. “I think most people’s jobs get old and they just go through the daily motions. This industry is always something different, it’s always exciting, every day is something new and you have no idea what’s going to happen when you walk in the door. I think part of the allure of the industry is the many ebb-and-flows that keeps you on your toes and produces some of the best work ethic I’ve ever seen.”

Finn’s role at Ascent involves a variety of focuses, but a key piece is government relations. The job, which includes working individually and with OOGA involves educating and working with members of the General Assembly on key pieces of legislation, rules and regulations through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and all aspects of community relations. This includes working with local township trustees, commissioners or mayors, along with land owner relations, mainly updating them on activities in the area and fielding any issues or complaints.  

“I think it’s challenging for some to understand or see the magnitude of the legislative process and why it is so important,” explained Finn. “These legislative initiatives and rules/regulations proposals are key to the industry continuing to operate at a safe and productive level in the future.”

Ascent Resources - Utica Overview

Ascent is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with about 240 employees based in that office; Finn works in the Cambridge field-office that has over 100 employees and is the largest office outside of the headquarters. In Ohio there is one other small office in St. Clairsville that focuses on Ascent’s dry gas operations. Finn described that Ascent hires primarily local contractors, with at least 80% of them coming from the tri-state region in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Ascent is operating strongly in four Ohio counties that include Belmont, Harrison, Guernsey and Jefferson, and its recent acquisition of natural gas assets from CNX, Hess and UMD will expand its acreage position in Monroe and Noble Counties. Across these counties they have seven rigs running and four frac crews. Being the largest gas producer in Ohio, Ascent has nine of the top ten gas wells in the state according to the latest production figures released for Q1 of 2018.

“Legislatively we’ve achieved a lot in 2018 with HB 225 and HB 430 being signed and will become law later this year,” Finn said. “The affected mine legislation, SB 236 will be a focus in the next legislative session along with other initiatives that will be finalized in the next few months. Rules and regulations have been more of a struggle, with ODNR doing an overhaul of the rules package as part of their five year review process. Part of resolving this is to try to get everyone on the same page and ensure that they are interpreting the rules in a way that won’t create added frustrations to the producers.”  


Finn initially became a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association in 2013 while she was in her fundraising role. When she started working at Magnum Hunter, one of the first things she did was make sure the company became more involved with the Association. She also stepped up her personal level of participation by joining the Government Affairs Committee and the Environmental Committee, later becoming chair of the Government Affairs Committee in 2016.

Finn carried this same attitude over to Ascent when she started her new position. Ascent upped its membership to the highest corporate level in order to get a wider reach of its staff members involved with the OOGA. They now have at least one employee on each committee that OOGA has available. Finn continues to chair the Government Affairs Committee and has expanded her involvement to include a Board of Trustees seat in 2017 and was recently appointed to the Executive Committee in 2018. She remains involved in other committees to keep Ascent up to speed on what is happening in the industry, and sits on the Environmental Committee, Communications Committee, Technical Committee and other work groups when necessary. 

“If you take advantage of your membership, it’s of huge benefit,” said Finn about her involvement among the Association. “If you participate in committees, pay attention, read the news clips and get engaged, you get as much out of it as you put in. For Ascent, I would not be able to do everything else I do if I didn’t have the legislative assistance OOGA provides. Having OOGA be that support system of representing us on a daily basis is of huge importance to Ascent.”


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

Tags:  Amanda Finn  Lyndsey Kleven  member spotlight  ohio oil and gas association  oil and gas  shale  utica 

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Ohio Oil and Gas Association Honors Dan Pottmeyer with 2018 Oilfield Patriot Award

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Tuesday, August 7, 2018

During an August 6 ceremony, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) presented Dan Pottmeyer, Chairman of Zanesville based Producers Service Corp. with the 2018 Oilfield Patriot Award, an annual honor bestowed by the trade association.

Established in 2006, the award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to protect, promote and advance the common interests of those engaged in all aspects of Ohio’s crude oil and natural gas industry. Pottmeyer was honored for his long-time advocacy on behalf of the industry, as an authentic entrepreneur who saw the need and took the risk to start Producer Service Corp. at a time when the industry needed a local quality service company that Ohio producers did not have access to. This is in addition to his devout involvement within the Ohio Oil and Gas Association since the late 1980s.

“The Oilfield Patriot Award was made for people like Dan Pottmeyer,” said Jim Aslanides, president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “The legacy that Dan is leaving in Ohio for the oil and gas industry has brought countless benefits and created hundreds of local jobs. Dan was the innovator that led the employee purchase of the company in 1994, which laid the groundwork for becoming a 100% employee owned company today with each and every employee being an individual shareholder of the company.”   

A resident of Zanesville, Pottmeyer left a stable position with Halliburton to take a chance on Producers Service Corp in 1981. Today the company currently operate four large shale fracturing fleets out of its operating districts in Zanesville, Ohio and Hennessey, Oklahoma. Dan is a former football player and graduate of Marietta College with a degree in petroleum engineering. He has been an inspiration to many other members of his family to follow in his footsteps and study petroleum engineering.

Learn more about the Oilfield Patriot Award: http://www.ooga.org/?page=OilfieldPatriot

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OOGA 2018 Summer Meeting Preview

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The 2018 OOGA Summer Meeting will be held at the Zanesville Country Club on August 6th – August 7th bringing together the membership and top industry leaders.

A legislative update regarding issues impacting Ohio’s oil and gas industry will be held on Monday morning before the start of the first golf flight.

The Monday golf flight will consist of competitive stroke play at Zanesville County Club. Golf will continue on Tuesday with competitive stroke play at The Virtues Golf Club (formerly Longaberger Golf Club) and a scramble held at Zanesville Country Club. Ken Miller Supply is sponsoring the Clay Shoot again this year at Briar Rabbit Shooting Sports. Tennis, euchre, corn hole and other traditional favorites will take place simultaneously at Zanesville Country Club.

All Summer Meeting attendees are invited to join OOGA for a networking welcome reception; beverage and appetizers will be served Monday evening at Zanesville Country Club at 7:30.

As has been the tradition since 2006, the 2018 Oilfield Patriot Award event will take place on Monday evening, sponsored by Producer Service Corporation. Festivities will include a reception, dinner, award ceremony, and a video presentation honoring the recipient. *Separate registration required to attend this dinner.

General registration for this year’s event is available online. Be sure to login and pre-register online for the 2018 Summer Meeting at www.oogasummermeeting.com. Registration will also be available onsite at the event.

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Ascent Resources Hosts Training for Local First Responders

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Thursday, July 12, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ascent Resources hosted a training exercise to assess integration of emergency response plans for the Senecaville Fire Department, Ohio EPA, Ohio DNR, County EMA, in Guernsey County. The drill was based on a fire with liquids going off the pad.

“We recognize we have a responsibility to keep people safe, and today’s activity allowed us to work with our community partners to ensure our response mechanisms are working. Today, we strengthen our relationship with those partners,” said Joe Steele, Ascent Resources’ EH&S Supervisor.

The purpose of the drill was to test Ascent Resources’ employees for notification of response, incident command, resource management and overall communication. Over 15 Ascent employees were involved and played various roles from engaging with law enforcement, working with the local fire department, updating DNR and EPA.

“The drill was well put together, there was really good communication between all parties, it was important to go through a real-life example of a situation that may happen on a well pad,” said Lt. Dan Webster from the Senecaville Fire Department. “The take away was that we learned there are additional resources available that could have been used if required. The biggest thing was the interaction between all parties before something happens. You don’t want to be meeting someone for the first time at 2 am when it’s raining, and something just happened.”

The verdict after debriefing was while things can always be tightened, everything went according to plan. Those involved kept to the task at hand and executed their role with precision and dedication. Days like today keep operators prepared, the community protected and allows everyone to go home safe at the end of the day.

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Ohio’s Oil and Gas Industry Contributes More Than $343 Million in Direct Invest in Eight Counties

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) and Energy In Depth (EID) released findings in its Utica Shale Local Support Series that show Ohio oil and gas operators have invested more than $343 million in direct investment into counties where drilling and production of oil and natural gas from the state’s shale resources is occurring.  The findings include more than $300 million in road improvements with more than 630 miles of roads improved. In addition, $43.7 million in property tax payments, with a projected more than $200 million to be paid over the next decade.

“The series of reports continue to prove that the oil and gas industry is a partner to the communities that it operates in,” said Matt Hammond, OOGA’s executive vice president. “The industry is making significant contributions to the state and local economies in multiple ways, as can be seen directly by the millions of dollars paid in property taxes and road miles improved.  This revenue flows directly to local schools and creates local economic activity."       

The Utica Shale Local Support Series: Ohio’s Oil & Gas Industry Road Improvement Payments, report takes a closer look at the history of the Road Use Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) and the execution of these agreements within eight counties spanning from 2011 to 2017: Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Guernsey, Jefferson, Harrison, Monroe and Noble. The key finding includes more than $300 million total investment, more than 630 road miles improved, 100 percent invested directly into local communities.

The Utica Shale Local Support Series: Ohio Oil and Gas Industry Property Tax Payments, report looks at the industry’s contributions of $43.7 million to six Ohio counties from 2010 to 2015: Belmont, Carroll, Guernsey, Harrison, Monroe and Noble. The report projects that over the next decade, $200-$250 million will be paid to these six counties alone. The percentage of property tax collections to local Ohio schools in these areas is 60-70 percent.

The Utica Shale Local Support Series is an on-going series of studies between OOGA and EID that collectively examine multiple ways in which oil and natural gas production directly benefits local schools, counties, townships, cities, villages and other vital local services and infrastructure. The information obtained for the studies was gathered through public record requests. 

Tags:  ad valorem  Lyndsey Kleven  ohio oil and gas association  oil and gas  RUMA  Utica shale 

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Sales Tax and Orphan Well Legislation Heads to the Governor’s Desk

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Manager, Friday, June 8, 2018

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association commends members from the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate for passing House Bill 225 and House Bill 430, moving the bills on to await final approval from the Governor.

“On behalf of the members of the OOGA, we thank the leadership of the Ohio House and Senate for bringing these vital bills to the floor for consideration and the bipartisan support from members in both chambers in passing these important pieces of legislation,” said Matt Hammond, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. “The vision and fortitude of Representative Tim Schaffer and his sponsorship of House Bill 430, and Representative Andy Thompson for being a tireless advocate of House Bill 225, both of which are greatly valued by the membership of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.”

House Bill 225 requires the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to spend 30% of the Oil and Gas Well Fund on plugging orphan wells and requires annual reporting from the ODNR to the Ohio General Assembly. With support from environmental organizations, those in the oil and gas industry have long advocated for a more robust oil and gas plugging program even as Ohio operates one of the best in the nation. This legislation will clean up legacy issues dating back to the early 1900s and ensures that revenue coming from the severance tax and fees are used to support the oil and gas regulatory program. H.B. 225 passed both the House and Senate Floors unanimously.

House Bill 430 reaffirms the traditional sales tax standing that oil and gas operators have received since 1960. Every business needs clear and consistent system of taxation, this legislation will provide Ohio’s oil and gas industry tax certainty. This bill simply reaffirms what has been conducted for decades and does not expand the scope of exemptions, but rather clarifies it. H.B. 430 passed the House by a vote of 85-12 and the Senate 32-1. It is also important to note that the Ohio Department of Taxation initially testified in opposition to H.B. 430., later withdrawing its opposition the day the Senate passed the bill out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The past few months have been full of twists and turns, uncertainty and political obstacles. Pending approval from Governor Kasich, signing these pieces of legislation into law will benefit Ohio’s oil and gas industry by bolstering the state’s orphan well plugging program and clarifying oil and gas sales tax treatment.

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