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Oil and Natural Gas Increase in 2017, Up from Declining Numbers in 2016

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The latest oil and natural gas horizontal production numbers released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management show a modest increase in production from where we left off ending 2016. The quarterly results show that Ohio producers recovered 3,904,732 barrels of oil and 371,921,659 Mcf (371 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, spanning the first quarter of 2017. The results are always reflective of the previous quarter, this time covering all oil and gas production that took place January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017 across Ohio.

The production results this quarter are a positive sign, as we left 2016 seeing both oil and natural gas production decrease for the first time since ODNR began recording horizontal production numbers. Production increased 9% for oil (up from 3,577,553 barrels) and 8% for natural gas (up from 345 billion cubic feet). Yes, we are up from the lowest point thus far, which is reassuring but production is still increasing modestly.

For example, some of the largest production increases on a quarterly basis that we have seen in the ODNR’s statistics is oil increasing 26% in the second quarter of 2015 (going from 4,401,687 in first quarter, to 5,578,255 in the second) and natural gas increasing 23% in the fourth quarter of 2015 (going from 245 bcf in the third quarter, to 404 bcf in the fourth quarter). Since both of those quarters, if production was not decreasing—which it did at one point for both products—we have only seen single digit percentage increases.

So how does someone make sense of seeing any array of headlines with conflicting messages:

Ohio oil production down in first quarter (Canton Repository, June 9)

1Q Valley oil, gas production down year over year (Vindicator, June 10)

Natural-gas output on rise, oil down in Ohio (Toledo Blade, June 9)

Ohio natural-gas production continued to rise in first quarter as oil numbers fell (Columbus Dispatch, June 9)

Utica Shale Oil, Natural Gas Volumes Rebound in First Quarter (Natural Gas Intelligence, June 9)

The confusion behind some of the headlines is that outlets are choosing to report on Q1 2017 compared to Q1 2016. Go back to the first paragraph of this post, and you will see that the number have increased—for both commodities. When looking for an overall trend of a cyclical industry, a quarter-by-quarter comparison over a number of years tends to provide the most accurate representation. We are encouraged to see that oil and natural gas producers are slowly ramping back up. The past two years brought a crippling downturn for the industry and this new sign of life is definitely welcomed by the industry. 

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The Federal Whirlwind Continues

Posted By Penny Seipel, Vice President of Public Affairs, Thursday, June 8, 2017

Another day brings another regulatory or legislative issue being discussed at the federal level, and for once, we can say that those in the oil and gas industry are enthusiastic about the prospect. Before President Trump was elected, America’s energy producers had been targeted for eight long years by the Obama administration, which was searching for ways to regulate the industry out of business—putting YOU out of business.


In a past article featured in the April edition of the Bulletin, I shared updates on President Trump’s Executive Orders focused on regulatory reform and encouraging domestic energy production. Those activities continue at a fast and furious pace, attempting to right the regulatory ship, which had gone far off course under the Obama Administration. 


In addition to Presidential action, Congress has been hard at work as well. In March, the U.S. House of Representatives had passed the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Venting and Flaring Rule which would have required that both new wells and existing wells on federal land be subject to strict emissions control requirements. At the time we applauded the House on their good work and began the task of educating members of the U.S. Senate on the dire impact the rule could have on the industry.


For two long months the CRA languished in the Senate, the deadline for passage rapidly approached. One of the U.S. Senate members that had outstanding questions was Ohio’s own Rob Portman. OOGA worked to illustrate the detrimental effects of the rule, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also worked tirelessly with the Senator to find a path forward to address the Senators outstanding concerns (BLM is a division within the Department of Interior). Finally, we got the word that Senator Portman would vote to support use of the CRA to repeal the Venting and Flaring Rule, with the vote scheduled for May 10, 2017.


On the morning of May 10, OOGA was excited that the Senate was prepared to move the issue to the Senate floor for a vote. To our great shock, as well as for his colleagues leading the issue in the Senate, we got word that Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who was believed to be supporting the CRA came out against it. Senator McCain joined two other Republicans, who had previously stated that they would not support the CRA, in voting against it: Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Susan Collins (R-ME). In spite of its failure, OOGA would like to thank Senator Portman and his colleagues who voted to support the CRA.


While the CRA’s failure was a disappointment, this is not the end of the opportunity to revise and improve the rule. Through President’s Trumps previously issued executive order, the Department of Interior had been directed to review the Venting and Flaring Rule. Almost immediately after the vote, the BLM issued a statement that they would be suspending the rule while the agency worked to begin the formal process to revise it.


OOGA will be looking forward to working with our producers, with our federal partners, and with the Director Zinke to make the BLM’s venting and flaring rule more reasonable than what the previous administration enacted. 

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Out of State Activists Bring Their Travelling Tour to Ohio, Align With State’s Most Extreme Anti-Fracking Group

Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth , Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017

Last month, EID took a look at the various #NoDAPL-style pipeline protest camps cropping up throughout the country. At the time, no such camps had been set up in Ohio. But just one month later, this latest craze of the “Keep It in the Ground” (KIITG) movement has made its way to the Buckeye State.

A so-called #NoDAPL copycat “action camp” aimed at stopping fracking and proposed pipeline routes has been set up in the Wayne National Forest. And it’s being led by none other than Myron Dewey, an independent filmmaker and one of the more prominent online voices of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests, along with Athens-based Appalachia Resist!, Ohio’s most fringe environmental activist group.

If there’s one lesson to be learned from these protest camps it’s that they are predominantly made up of protesters that travel from state to state looking for the next camp to call home. Their goal is disruption at any costs — including illegal activities that end in arrest — and they inevitably leave behind big environmental messes that taxpayers are ultimately forced to pay for.

Ohioans have been victims of out-of-state activists for years, and the latest press release from Appalachian Resist! indicates this trend will continue, in addition to possibly foreshadowing the groups’ latest illegal activities.

Appalachia Resist! A History of Rogue Theatrics & Arrest

Appalachia Resist! this week issued a press release with the headline “More than a hundred people gather in Monroe County to resist fracking and pipelines in the Wayne National Forest. Long term resistance camp launch.”

The press release goes on to say,

“After a three-day long action training conference near the Wayne National Forest, organizers from multiple groups have launched a long-term resistance encampment to defend the Wayne National Forest from fracking and fracked gas pipelines. The action training conference was hosted by Southeast Ohio’s Appalachia Resist!, a direct action environmental justice group known for blockading the oil and gas infrastructure that threatens the rural communities where they live, as well as the recent action where a group member shut down an intersection in front of Chase Bank in Columbus to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

If this scenario sounds familiar, it is because Energy In Depth covered its initial training five years ago. Back in 2012, just as shale development in Ohio was getting started, self-described radical environmental organization Earth First! and its sister organization Appalachian Resist! conducted a chain of training camps, were involved in dangerous and illegal demonstrations, and recruited national groups like 350.org to their cause – actions that led to nothing but destruction of property and a series of arrests.

The groups’ first action camp training appeared to be little more than a means to teach people tactics like tree-climbing, similar to this month’s training. However, if one digs a bit deeper they can find the Earth First! Climber’s Guild has ties to a deeper, less-than-noble agenda. Earth First! has been around for more than 35 years, with a mission statement of “No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!” and employs tactics that not only encourage destruction, but put people’s lives in danger.

They describe themselves on their website as such:

“Earth First! takes a decidedly different tack towards environmental issues. We believe in using all the tools in the tool box, ranging from grassroots organizing and involvement in the legal process to civil disobedience and monkeywrenching.”

In case you’re fuzzy on what the latter tactic entails, “monkeywrenching” is defined on their website as follows:

“Monkeywrenching: Ecotage, ecodefense, billboard bandits, desurveying, road reclamation, tree spiking, even fire. All of these terms describe the unlawful sabotage of industrial extraction and development equipment, as a means of striking at the Earth’s destroyers where they commit their crimes and hitting them where they feel it most—in their profit margins. (emphasis added)

Further, their founders have confirmed their support for this illegal activity, as EarthFirst! co-founder Mike Roselle explained with disturbing bluntness,

“Monkey-wrenching is more than just sabotage, and you’re g*ddamn right, it’s revolutionary! This is jihad, pal.” (emphasis added)

Organizations such as Earth First see growth as evil — from your local car dealership to your favorite ski resort, both of which have been targets of the sister organizations of Earth First, and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). These incidents caused millions of dollars in damage and could have easily ended with an injury or loss of life, and in fact we’ve already seen a few instances of such already in Ohio.

For example, Earth First and Appalachian Resist! staged a dangerous display of activism in New Matamoras at a GreenHunter Class II storage site five years ago in which 10 people were arrested, seven of which were from out of state. The event brought out 100 activists dressed in Hazmat suits to demonstrate against the facility, all while a fellow member constructed a pole tied to equipment on site.  In the end, they disrupted business activities for five hours.

A year later, national activists groups entered the Buckeye State as 350.org founder Bill McKibben hosted a rally in Warren, Ohio, sponsored by none other than Appalachia Resist!, as well as groups such as Don’t Frack Ohio (part of McKibben’s 350.org) and Washington, D.C.-based Food and Water Watch.

In fact, Appalachian Resist! led a series of illegal acts from 2012 to 2014 that drew from the same playbook — as participants chained themselves to private property and blocked normal legal business proceedings from taking place. The fiasco was preceded by an Appalachia Resist! press release eerily similar to the one posted this week, and leader Crissa Cummings issued a media statement that said:

“In light of the recent studies that have linked fracking chemicals to birth defects, I feel sick when I think about all the babies and the pregnant friends that were protesting at this site in February, a couple of weeks after the brine spill.”

Less than 24 hours after the press release, Cummings chained herself to the gate of the K&H 2 injection well in Torch, Ohio.

Notably, the study that prompted Cummings’ actions was quickly denounced by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) executive director and chief medical officer. This information may have been very helpful to Cummings before she was compelled to handcuff herself to a gate, causing the business to be shut down for most of the day, and was arrested and charged with trespassing. 

Cummings was joined by activist lovers Peter Gibbons-Ballew and Madeline Ffitch. These three amigos must wear their arrest records like a badge of honor, as Ffitch was arrested for blocking access to an injection well in 2012 where she was charged for inducing panic and disorderly conduct, and again in 2014 for trespassing in Athens County.

Ms. Ffitch is a “long-time political and environmental activist and crusading journalist”.

Last year Ffitch and Gibbons-Ballew were cited “occupying” a Wayne National Forest meeting, once again inducing panic and threatening landowners, as was reported in a September EID blog post.

Shortly thereafter, a very small group of protesters made a spectacle of themselves in front of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s office, with Gibbons-Ballew going so far as to park a van in the middle of a busy intersection for 90 minutes and handcuff himself to it. He was arrested on charges of inducing panic, disorderly conduct, hindering and failure to comply. He later pled guilty and was sentenced to 18 months probation and community service for inducing panic, while the other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement. Here’s a few photos of how the spectacle went down:

Fast forward to today, and the latest press release makes no mention of Gibbons-Ballew (we’ll get to that in a bit). However, he can be seen clearly holding a baby in a disturbing anti-fracking video that Appalachia Resist! posted three months ago in an effort to recruit activists for its recent so-called “action camp.” The video, narrated by a child and an elderly woman, exclaims “fracking kills” and “the danger is especially high for children, babies and nursing mothers,” as well as a host of other absurd claims. Here’s a picture of Gibbons-Ballew from the video:

While Gibbons-Ballew was not mentioned in the Appalachian Resist! press release documenting the highlights of their so-called weekend “action camp,” he has emerged again under the alias of “Cusi Ballew.” In a recent interview with the Times-Leader, Peter Gibbons-Ballew, aka “Cusi Ballew,” said of the weekend camp,

“These issues, whether they be about racism or environmental degradation, or sexism or genderism, all these things affect us all. We held workshops on issues ranging from racism, cross-movement solidarity, to climb trainings. The climbs train for tree-sitting encampment strategies.”

Gibbons-Ballew — who is still serving his 18-month probation sentence, by the way — went on to say,

“My advice to people reading this is to think long-term, think creatively and think together. Think about the economy we could build for the long-term.”

Gibbons-Ballew encouraging people to “think about the economy” after negatively impacting businesses by shutting down traffic and being arrested for inducing panic is ironic on multiple levels, considering Monroe County has overwhelmingly supported leasing the Wayne National Forest. Gibbons-Ballew has also acknowledged he is an “outsider” and not from Monroe County, where the camp was taking place.

Ballew’s cohort, Ms. Cummings, also can’t get enough media attention, as she was featured yet again in in this week’s press release, stating that companies can “expect a wall of resistance.” The press release also paid homage to Standing Rock and called upon recruits to stand in solidarity of their cause.

Appalachia Resist!’s ongoing aping of #DAPL and Standing Rock via its acts of civil disobedience, press release and the recruitment of leader Myron Dewey showcases just how connected they are to the “Keep It In the Ground” copycat “action camp” craze. One would think they could at least be authentic with this latest stunt, but it’s pretty obvious it is anything but original.

In addition to the recent camp in Ohio, here’s where #NoDAPL and other anti-fracking protesters have migrated since leaving North Dakota:

Texas – Trans-Pecos Pipeline

In Texas, camps were set up along the 148-mile Trans-Pecos Pipeline with many of the protesters traveling to the area from North Dakota. As Fuel Fix reported in December,

“The coalition said it would soon gather at a winter camp in hopes protesters from North Dakota would move south.”

Pennsylvania – Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

Pennsylvania is currently the site of two campaigns aimed at delaying and stopping pipelines from crossing the Commonwealth. These efforts do not align with the majority of Pennsylvanians’ views on the Marcellus industry, as Wall Street Journal recently reported:

“A majority of Pennsylvania residents support natural gas development and the use of fracking, according to several statewide polls conducted in the past five years. Since 2012, a fee on natural gas wells has generated a billion dollars in revenue for the state. There are more than 12,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines in Pennsylvania.”

In February, protesters began a camp where they built two structures to “disrupt construction” of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline and hold weekend training meetings. Funding for the camp is anything but local, with at least a portion — $22,000 — coming from Lush, a British cosmetics company.

The Wall Street Journal reported that organizers want to try to prevent some of the things they saw happen when they “made the 1,500-mile drive from Lancaster County to Standing Rock over Labor Day weekend.” From WSJ:

“In Lancaster, protesters won’t be allowed to wear masks as many did at the North Dakota protests, local organizers say. Malinda Clatterbuck, an associate pastor at a Mennonite church who sleeps at the Lancaster encampment several times a week, along with her husband and two daughters, said the group won’t allow tactics that could hurt their cause by turning off local supporters.”

Despite these claims, the organizers welcome former #NoDAPL protesters to make the trek to Pennsylvania. State Impact reported when the camp began,

“Protesters from other states, including groups involved with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest against the Dakota Access line, have also voiced support. ‘Outsiders are fine, we want them too,’ says activist Tim Spiese.”

Arrests have already been made for direct action against the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

Pennsylvania – Mariner East Pipeline

The other Pennsylvania camp is protesting the Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Hunterdone County. Organizers of Camp White Pine in Hunterdon County recently sent out a call to action, asking for more people to come support their cause, playing off the #NoDAPL strategy. Also similar to #NoDAPL — which raised over $12.5 million, none of which has gone to clean up their mess – organizers have donation campaigns going to try to raise money to help them stay in the camp.

Kansas/Nebraska – Keystone XL Pipeline

Protesters announced shortly after the March approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline that camps similar to those seen in North Dakota will be set up along the pipeline’s route through Kansas and Nebraska. As the Washington Times reports:

“[c]ritics say the guerrilla warfare tactics used to hold up the Dakota Access project will be seen again.

“We fully expect to stand united and to continue resistance and carry forth the fire of mobilization … in the fight we saw against the Dakota Access pipeline to this next project here,” he [Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network] continued.”

The Atlantic reported,

“We do expect resistance camps along the path of the Keystone pipeline,” said Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. These camps attracted great public attention throughout the summer and fall, when a similar tactic was used among Sioux-affiliated nations to reject the Dakota Access pipeline.”


It’s clear that “Keep It In the Ground” activists are simply traveling from one pipeline protest camp to another in an attempt to stop all oil and gas development, with no consideration for the local population or environment — despite claiming that’s who and what they are protecting. If #NoDAPL is any indicator, it’s the local communities and the states as a whole that will be left cleaning up their messes. Their actions speak louder than their words, and as we can clearly see with the new alias of Gibbons-Ballew, they are trying to deceive the public of who they really are and what their mission truly is.

Make no mistake, this group is connected to national, well-funded rogue environmental activists, and they have demonstrated again and again they are willing and ready to get arrested at any costs. Their values and carpet-bagging nature stand in sharp contrast to the more than 80 percent of Ohioans that fully support oil and gas development and truly represent the Buckeye State.

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Ascent Resources - Utica, LLC Teams Up with Belmont County for LEPC Drill

Posted By Guest Blog: Ascent Resources LLC, Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ascent Resources - Utica, LLC (“Ascent”) in conjunction with Cumberland Trail Fire Department hosted a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) mock exercise this week.  The emergency response training exercise was held in the area of mile marker 215 on Interstate 70 west of St. Clairsville, Ohio.


Each year Belmont County is required to complete a series of tabletop exercises, as well as functional drills, which consist of smaller training mechanisms to test a certain skill set.  The training exercise that took place today was completed to meet their full-scale drill requirements.  This drill is the largest the County conducts and is done at a minimum of every five years.  Participants for this exercise included the following:


·       Ascent Resources - Utica, LLC

·       Belmont County 911

·       Belmont County EMA

·       Belmont County Engineer

·       Belmont County Hazardous Materials Response Team

·       Belmont County Sheriff

·       Cumberland Trail Fire District (Mutual Aid Fire Departments)

·       East Ohio Regional Hospital

·       Ohio Oil and Gas Association

·       Ohio Emergency Management Agency

·       Ohio Department of Environmental Protection

·       Ohio Department of Natural Resources

·       Ohio Department of Transportation

·       Ohio State Highway Patrol

·       Ohio Valley Medical Center.


“Assisting Belmont County with this training exercise not only enables Ascent to be better partners with the communities we operate in, but also gives us the ability to evaluate and test our own safety and operational protocols,” said Amanda Finn with Ascent.  “Ascent is proud to report that in 2016, their Ohio operations employees successfully worked without a single OSHA recordable injury or reportable spill.”


Ascent would like to thank Wise Trucking and Pilot Thomas Logistics for participating in this important drill, as they set the stage for the emergency response training exercise conducted today.  Wise and PTL created the mock disaster as follows:


A fuel truck (PTL) and produced water truck (Wise) impact each other on the Coleman RCH BL lease road on the hill just off the pad.  The water truck driver suffers from a heart attack which causes the incident.  This incident will create a chain reaction of accident related events and all parties will be evaluated on the following: (1) notification of response agencies, (2) incident assessment, (3) resource management, (4) communication, and (5) population protective actions as well as other criteria.

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Ohio Mineral Owners Score a Win in Efforts to End De facto Fracking Moratorium on State Lands

Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth , Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It appears Ohio mineral owners have had just about enough of the federal and state government interfering with their right to develop minerals located under their private property.

At the urging of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) Appalachia and Landowners for Energy Access and Safe Exploration (LEASE), Ohio Republican lawmakers this week added a provision into the state budget to remove the authority granted to Gov. John Kasich to establish the Oil and Gas Leasing Commission and instead shift that authority to the legislature. The action could be a significant step toward ending what has essentially been a six-year fracking moratorium on state lands and parks, and is just the latest win for mineral owners who also emerged victorious following a two-year fight with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to gain access to leasing of federal minerals in the state.

Similar to the Wayne National Forest (WNF) saga, bureaucratic inaction has led to private landowners adjacent to state lands and parks finding themselves in a positon where their minerals are not able to be fully realized and less desirable to develop. Ohio’s General Assembly actually approved fracking on state lands six year ago, but development has yet to take place. At the time, the legislation essentially laid out a plan toward leasing and development on various state lands using a tiered system where some state-owned lands could be developed with surface disturbance, while other areas would not be accessible. To get the ball rolling, the legislation included a provision to create an Oil and Gas  Leasing Commission to govern the process, which required appointments by Gov. Kasich. The Commission establishment and rules were supposed to be in place by June 2012, but that never happened, resulting in what can best be described as a de facto moratorium on state land shale development.

In response, mineral owners have taken their private property rights fight to Columbus, where they’ve been working hard to educate legislators in Columbus of their concerns. And as a result of those efforts, the Ohio House Republicans, led by Rep. Andy Thompson, added this week’s provision to the state budget. The measure would essentially turn the clock back six years to when the state initially determined it would allow exploration on state lands.

Becky Clutter, a member of the board of directors for NARO Appalachia, explained in a recent statement to EID:

“This is very similar to the Wayne National Forest issue where Federal parcels prevented citizens from producing their privately held assets.  In this case, it is the State of Ohio that is doing the blocking, and not just near Monroe Lake.  It was found that private mineral rights were being held hostage in every County with State owned lands within the shale play.  It is also important to note that it is not clear whether the State of Ohio owns all of the minerals under the surface of the State lands.  In the case of the WNF, the Forest only owned approximately 41 percent of the mineral rights underlying the surface, the rest were privately held.  A 2015 Audit of several of the ODNR lands noted that the State does not own all of the properties in fee simple, meaning that the State does not own all of the minerals under their surface.”

This latest grassroots effort by mineral owns highlights a movement afoot in Ohio where private mineral owners have clearly had enough of anti-fracking groups and political red tape impeding their right to develop private minerals. Fringe environmental activists consistently try to paint these debates as “big oil” fracking public lands for profit, but that’s simply not the case. As we continue to see play out in the Buckeye State, this is actually a property rights matter led by concerned citizens who are standing up for their right to develop their land and minerals.

And as EID recently highlighted, leasing federal and state lands can be a major boost to tax revenues and royalties for Ohio. In fact, if we assume the 41,697 acres owned by Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources were developed, that acreage alone could mean up to $160 million in bonus payments for the state. This income would surely help add revenue to Ohio’s budget needs.

Clutter explained in her statement that due to the generational transfer of property rights, this issue impacts mineral rights owners across the state, including “people who live in non-producing areas like Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo and Cleveland.” And as Clutter also describes, the evidence of the benefits of development are already clear:

 “In areas where development has not been impeded, the impact to local governments and citizens is staggering.  People are being pulled out of poverty, new businesses are being created, local governments are upgrading their infrastructure and databases, and jobs are coming back to the area.

Watershed Districts, which are controlled by boards of directors are able to lease those lands and have done so with great benefit.  The income generated in those areas has done quite a lot to improve visitor centers, beaches, wildlife areas, hiking trails, and on site building improvements.  Sadly, the same is not being allowed around the State owned lands areas.”

And as we have already seen through the great example of the Muskinghum Watershed Conservancy District, it’s clear that oil and gas development can be harvested responsibly and in an environmental sound way on public lands, a win-win for the Buckeye State, considering the obvious financial benefits.

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Ohio and Pennsylvania Lead Growth in Natural Gas Production in 2016

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Monday, May 1, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its latest natural gas production findings in late April—showing Ohio and Pennsylvania to be the top two states for growth in natural gas production in 2016. In 2015 the U.S. saw its peak natural gas production at 79 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), with 2016 showing the first annual decline to 77 Bcf/d since 2005.

Ohio and Pennsylvania each saw natural gas production increase by 1.2 Bcf/d, with most other fossil fuel rich states seeing minimal increase, while other actually saw declines. Texas natural gas production fell by 2.5 Bcf/d.

The EIA says it measures natural gas production in three different ways:

Gross withdrawals are the full volume of compounds extracted at the wellhead, which includes all natural gas plant liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases after oil, lease condensate, and water have been removed. Marketed natural gas production excludes natural gas used for repressuring the well, vented and flared gas, and any nonhydrocarbon gases. Dry natural gas production is marketed production minus natural gas plant liquids.

The Utica and Marcellus shale plays which account for 85% of the U.S. shale gas production growth since horizontal drilling really took off in 2012 are a reflection of Ohio and Pennsylvania seeing the two largest increases in natural gas production last year. Over the last decade, the two states were producing less than 2% of the nation’s natural gas in 2006 to 24% in 2016. Ohio surpassed West Virginia in 2016 to become the seventh-highest natural gas producer among U.S. states.

Although this information paints a rather positive picture of U.S. natural gas production, especially in our region, the industry is still working its way out of a recession.  Specifically in Ohio, in the fourth quarter of 2016 both oil and natural gas production decreased from the previous quarter. We saw oil production start its decline in the beginning of 2016 during the first quarter and has since continued declining—but this is the first time we have seen natural gas production on the decline. While we are encouraged that the industry is making its way back to an upswing, it is important to put production results into perspective in order to get a realistic view of our nation’s oil and natural gas producing industry. 

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Energy In Depth Releases Compendium Demonstrating Health Benefits of Fracking

Posted By Guest Blog: Energy In Depth, by Katie Brown, PhD , Monday, April 24, 2017
Updated: Friday, April 28, 2017

Ahead of Earth Day, and as anti-fossil fuel activists prepare to “march for science,” Energy In Depth is releasing a new compendium demonstrating that air quality improvements across the country can be traced directly back to fracking.

The report – Compendium of Studies Demonstrating the Safety and Health Benefits of Fracking – houses dozens of scientific studies that show how the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation, made possible by the shale revolution, is the reason for dramatic decreases in air pollution across the board. This, in turn, has provided substantial health benefits for Americans.

In addition to the compendium, EID unveiled a new microsite, EIDHealth.org – a one-stop shop for anyone looking for information about shale development and public health.

“This new compendium and health microsite provides the overwhelming scientific evidence that our increased use of natural gas, thanks to fracking, has delivered immense health benefits for families across the country,” said Jeff Eshelman, executive vice president of Energy In Depth. “Activists who are supposedly ‘marching for science’ this weekend should stop denying the science that clearly shows shale development has led to cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

EID’s compendium includes data from 23 peer-reviewed studies, 17 government health and regulatory agencies, and reports from 10 research institutions that clearly demonstrate:

  • Increased natural gas use — thanks to hydraulic fracturing — has led to dramatic declines in air pollution. The United States is the number one oil and gas producer in the world andit has some of the lowest death rates from air pollution. Numerous studies have shown that pollution has plummeted as natural gas production has soared.
  • Emissions from well sites and associated infrastructure are below thresholds regulatory authorities consider to be a threat to public health – that’s the conclusion of multiple studies using air monitors that measure emissions directly.
  • There is no credible evidence that fracking causes or exacerbates asthma. In fact, asthma rates and asthma hospitalizations across the United States have declined as natural gas production has ramped up.
  • There is no credible evidence that fracking causes cancer. Studies that have measured emissions at fracking sites have found emissions are below the threshold that would be harmful to public health.
  • There is no credible evidence that fracking leads to adverse birth outcomes. In fact, adverse birth outcomes have decreased while life expectancy has increased in areas that are ramping up natural gas use.
  • Fracking is not a credible threat to groundwater. Study after study has shown that there are no widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water form hydraulic fracturing.

It is well known that the shale revolution has been a boon to our nation’s economy, its geopolitical position, and the millions of consumers and manufacturers who continue to benefit from historically low energy costs. But the case in support of shale’s salubrious effect on air quality and health continues to be an underreported phenomenon. This new report and microsite puts the health benefits of our increased use of natural gas in the spotlight.

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Come Try the Ohio Oil and Gas Safety Council (OOGSC)

Posted By Brian Hickman, Director of Government Affairs, Operations Managing Director, Monday, April 17, 2017

The Ohio Oil & Gas Safety Council (OOGSC) is a not-for-profit organization organized by the Ohio Oil & Gas Association (OOGA) in collaboration with the Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH).

The goal of the OOGSC is to provide quality occupational safety training opportunities and safety resources for these member companies. Our mission is to promote health and safety awareness and environmental stewardship within the oil and natural gas industry in an effort to reduce workplace injuries.

To this end, the OOGSC has provided information on the topics of instilling a culture of safety into your company, safety training workshops (via OOGEEP), trench safety, Ohio’s underground damage prevention marking standards and overmarking, fall protection and working at heights, accident analysis, and winter driving tips, to name a few. 

The OOGSC is also a great way to learn more about industry-related training opportunities. Organizations like the OOGEEP and the Ohio BWC provide several educational opportunities that are beneficial to the Ohio oil and gas industry. The OOGSC will update you on these opportunities in an effort to promote continued industry safety. 

Membership in the OOGSC is open to the public. Additionally with your membership, employers who pay premiums or administrative fees to the Ohio BWC may be eligible to earn a 2% to 4% rebate on their workers’ compensation premium. 

The OOGSC currently meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the Cambridge Country Club. The next OOGSC meeting will take place on June 14th at 7:30 a.m. Gary Babb, Ergon Trucking, is slated to discuss unloading. I’d recommend that you come by, give us a try, and see what the OOGSC has to offer. In the meantime, follow us on twitter for important safety updates and information on twitter: @oogsc

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Disturbing Video Shows How Out of Touch Fringe Anti-Fracking Activist Group Is With Ohioans

Posted By Jackie Stewart, Energy In Depth , Monday, April 3, 2017

disturbing anti-fracking video from Appalachia Resist! — perhaps the most rogue fringe activists group in Ohio — was recently posted to social media in an apparent effort to save their failed campaigns. The group, which has been tied to media stunts and several arrests for public disturbance, has shifted focus to use children as part of their misinformation efforts. The new video, narrated by a child and an elderly woman, exclaims “fracking kills” and “the danger is especially high for children, babies and nursing mothers,” as well as a host of other absurd claims.

The video also features Appalachia Resist! leader Peter Gibbons-Ballew, who was recently charged with civil disobedience, inducing panic, and hindering and failure to comply, after shutting down a busy intersection by chaining himself to a pipe in downtown Columbus.  It’s amazing how one day Gibbons-Ballew is putting other children in harm’s way by “inducing panic” in Columbus, yet just a few months later is featured holding a child in this disturbing video. A closer look at this group clearly demonstrates they are completely out of touch with reality and highlights the perpetual “do as I say, not as I do” mentality that has become prevalent among environmental extremists.

Appalachia Resist! Playbook: Violence & Children

Two extreme worlds represent this out-of-touch group.

On one hand, we have the Appalachia Resist! logo, which represents pretty much everything you need to know about their mode of operation.

On the other hand, you have the flip side of the two-faced misinformation campaign, such as this new video moderated by a child.

In another scene, we see a man“standing in solidarity,” holding a child as part of their new effort to recruit troops to fight for their cause.

Below we see the reality, as the same man featured above striking a pose “in solidarity” is none other than Gibbons-Ballew. Appalachia Resist! proudly posted the following picture of Gibbon-Ballew only months ago:

This playbook is unfortunately all too common by anti-fracking groups. Under the auspice of so-called “solidarity” we hear a child say in this new video—“We’re not just screaming, we’re organizing.” But it appears that enlisting children isn’t exactly helping them organize for their spring action camp, as they have registered a whopping seven people to attend thus far.

The same “do as I say not as a I do” tactics played out recently in North Dakota, where eerily similar strategies were used as part of the organizing efforts to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, as one protester reported,

 “[i]t’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the pipeline ruptures, that the children will get sick with their water polluted by oil. Do these people standing there with batons and Taser guns understand that? I wonder if they have families, if they have grandkids, to be enforcing this oil company’s will to come through here and pollute our water?”

Of course, we know this effort played out very different in reality, and as the Washington Timesreported, the activist ended up leaving an environmental disaster, including contaminating water at the same sacred grounds they claimed they were protesting to protect.

In conclusion, while Appalachia Resist! may be using children to advance their agenda to ban fracking, their actions speak louder than words. A history of violence, civil disobedience, resisting arrest and inciting panic are the calling card for this group of fringe environmental activists, which is precisely why they are completely out of touch with Ohioans.

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A Look Back At Production in 2016

Posted By Lyndsey Kleven, Communications Coordinator, Monday, March 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, March 30, 2017

The recently released oil and natural gas production numbers from the fourth quarter of 2016 are being reported in varying ways depending on which news outlet is writing the story— we are here to help make sense of it all. Ohio law requires the owner of any capable producing well to annually report its production data to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. ODNR then release its quarterly report on how much oil and natural gas was produced in our state, from each company, in each county. On March 22 they released horizontal shale production numbers from the fourth quarter of 2016 that show the amounts of oil and natural gas produced from October 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 (quarter 4, i.e. Q4) completing the results of 2016 activity.

In Q4 of 2016 there were 3,577,553 barrels of oil produced and 345bcf of natural gas. The quarter before that we saw higher amounts of both oil and natural gas being produced to the tune of 3,954,095 barrels of oil and 360bcf of natural gas. When comparing quarter over quarter you see that the production trend was heading downward by the end of 2016—in both oil and natural gas production.

This is the first quarter that both oil and natural gas production decreased from the previous quarter since ODNR began recording shale production numbers. We saw oil production start its decline in the beginning of 2016 during the first quarter and has since continued declining—but this is the first time we have seen natural gas production on the decline.

So why are we seeing headlines like these following the release of the new stats:

Ohio Utica Shale gas production up 43% in 2016 (Farm and Dairy, March 23)

Ohio energy production: Shale oil slides, natural gas rises in fourth quarter (Columbus Dispatch, March 20)

Eastern Ohio Sets Bar for Natural Gas Production (The Intelligencer, March 27)

And a headline like this, reporting on the same information:

Fewer Rigs, Wells And Less Spending Show in Ohio's 4Q Shale Production (Natural Gas Intelligence, March 21)

Numerous outlets are touting natural gas production as soaring in 2016—this remains an incomplete representation of the industry as we’ve seen both oil and natural gas production decline. The quarter-by-quarter statistics are the most accurate representation in analyzing a cyclical industry. While we are encouraged that oil and gas producers are able to find efficiencies and continue to drill new wells, it is important that the production results are represented accurately so that the general public gets a realistic view of what is happening across Ohio’s oil and natural gas producing industry.

Jamison Cocklin’s article in the Natural Gas Intelligence best depicted what is likely taking place:

The decline in rig counts, less spending and a smaller backlog of drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells that persisted as 2016 came to an end are thought to be some of the culprits responsible for Ohio's first sequential shale gas production decline since the state started reporting quarterly three years ago.

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