Ohio will soon authorize fracking wastewater pools

Football field-sized ponds to recycle waste

By Jamison Cocklin

jcocklin@vindy.com

From the Youngstown Vindicator

http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/oct/06/oil-and-gas-drilling-ohio-set-to-ok-pits/

Ohio regulators will soon approve and permit large, exposed centralized impoundments that hold fracking flowback water.

These are used widely by oil and gas companies in other states to recycle the waste and serve multiple wells near one another .

The impoundments, or pits, which sometimes exceed the size of a football field and can hold millions of gallons of water, are now banned in Ohio.

But they’ve proved a useful asset to companies operating in other states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The impoundments serve as water-transfer stations for multiple wells nearby, greatly reducing the amount of truck traffic and the water necessary to drill and frack those wells.

Existing Ohio regulations permit use of lined impoundments that hold freshwater for drilling. Flowback, or fracking wastewater, however, must be stored above ground in covered steel tanks before disposal or reuse.

But effective Jan. 1, the centralized impoundment pools will be authorized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as part of a regulatory change state legislators made in the biennial budget bill signed in June.

Changes to the law likely came after input from the industry. Operators consider centralized impoundments a key to further developing the Utica Shale play.

“These facilities are critical in the recycling and reuse process and help to reduce truck traffic and the need for impoundments for individual well sites,” said Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for Texas-based Range Resources, which does not hold acreage in Ohio, but is the largest operator of impoundments in Pennsylvania, where it has extensive operations. “Impoundments have reduced tens of thousands of truck loads in Pennsylvania and have allowed companies to utilize larger sources of water like the Ohio River.”

A shale well typically requires between 1 million and 8 million gallons of water to complete. Water from the wells generally comes from nearby, either from a public water supply, pond or lake. Trucks and pipelines are required to carry the resource to the drilling site.

Last month, at an oil and gas conference in Youngstown, Harry Schurr, general manager of Utica operations for Pennsylvania-based Consol Energy, said central impoundments in Ohio would significantly aid further development here and help meet the demand for water in southern parts of the state where it’s not as abundant.

Schurr said it also would help Consol, which has drilled about 215 wells in Pennsylvania and Ohio, to recycle the vast amount of water it requires for its operations. He added that the company hoped ODNR might soon approve the impoundments and believed it would do so based on interactions the company has had with regulators.

On Wednesday, Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay wrote in an email that “We understand the ODNR is currently reviewing a regulatory approach to allowing the use of centralized impoundments, and we look forward to that possibility.”

Mark Bruce, an ODNR spokesman, said the agency is developing rules “that will clearly define standards regarding the construction, length of use, design and other factors” of impoundments.

The move is likely to rankle oil and gas industry opponents, who three years into the play claim the state has become a dumping ground for wastewater. They’ve taken aim at Ohio’s injection wells, where the most recent ODNR data shows that 14.2 million barrels of fluid were disposed of underground in 2012.

The centralized impoundments, which are roughly 200 feet wide and 300 feet long, or larger, are likely to draw the attention of critics.

But engineers inside and outside the industry claim that when the pits are designed and built correctly, they are entirely safe.

Fracking waste includes salt, dissolved solids and light radioactive and toxic metals from its contact with underground rocks. Chemicals added to the mixture contain volatile organic compounds, such as benzene and toulene.

Pitzarella said misconceptions about the impoundments remain, despite safeguards and a closed-loop system.

After use at a well site, the water is conditioned and some salt and dissolved solids remain. It is then transported and stored at an impoundment until its next use when it is mixed with freshwater for drilling.

 

Read more: http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/oct/06/oil-and-gas-drilling-ohio-set-to-ok-pits/

Ohio landowners’ group get warning on changing leases

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

At a meeting of the uber-large Associated Landowners of the Valley (ALOV) landowner group last night in Youngstown, Ohio, lawyer Alan Wenger warned the 500 landowners in the audience that landmen are knocking on doors once again, this time asking landowners already signed to modify their leases.

Wenger told landowners what energy companies like Chesapeake are asking for, and what landowners need to consider before signing:

 

Be careful when landmen knock on your door, promising more royalties from even more gas wells if you amend your mineral lease, attorney Alan Wenger told some 500 members of the Associated Landowners of the Valley gathered Monday evening at the Covelli Centre.

 

“The largest protagonist for amendments is Chesapeake,” he said. “They have such huge holdings in our area, it’s very difficult for them to drill enough wells to hold all the parcels during the primary terms of their leases.”

 

read full article: http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/ohio-utica-shale-1.291290/ohio-landowners-group-get-warning-on-changing-leases-1.349857 

news release from Wayne National Forest announcing findings of a recent study

NEWS RELEASE

● Wayne National Forest ● 13700 US HWY 33

Nelsonville, Ohio 45764-9880 ● Voice (740) 753-0101●Twitter: @waynenationalfs

For Immediate Release

Contact: Gary C. Chancey, Public Affairs Staff Officer, (740) 753-0862

 

Wayne National Forest Announces Findings from Recent Study

 

NELSONVILLE, OH – Wayne National Forest Supervisor Anne Carey today (8/27/12) signed a Finding for the Supplemental Information Report that concludes that at this time, there is no need to correct or amend the 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) in order to address the surface impacts of horizontal drilling for oil or natural gas development on the Forest, nor is there a need to supplement the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was prepared for the Forest Plan.

 

“I have reviewed the new information contained in the Supplemental Information Report, and determined that further environmental analysis is not needed,” said Carey.  “I believe that the existing Forest Plan direction is adequate to address the surface effects anticipated from the potential development of horizontal wells as projected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).”

The BLM has found that it is now economically feasible for deep well horizontal drilling using high volume hydraulic fracturing, a change from the previous projection, which said it wasn’t economically feasible. The report also explains that through 2016 that there is the potential for 13 high volume horizontal drilling well sites to be developed on the Wayne National Forest. 

Oil and natural gas development is an important component of the nation’s energy portfolio, and has the potential to advance our nation’s energy security, improve air quality, and create jobs. The responsibility of the U.S. Forest Service is to safely and responsively develop these resources in a way that ensures the well-being of surrounding communities and protects our landscapes and watersheds.

The Supplemental Information Report is available on the Forest web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/wayne/landmanagement/planning?cid=stelprdb5387922

Learn more about Wayne National Forest oil and gas management on the Forest web site at: http://fs.usda.gov/detail/wayne/home/?cid=stelprdb5376502

Follow the Wayne National Forest on Twitter: @waynenationalfs

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on our lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

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New! Hydraulic Fracturing Brochure for Well Water Owners

A water-testing brochure for household water well owners living near oil and gas development and completion activities, including hydraulic fracturing, has been produced by the National Ground Water Association and the Ground Water Protection Council.

Red more or download the brochure: http://www.ngwa.org/Media-Center/news/Pages/Hydraulic-fracturing-brochure-for-water-well-owners.aspx 

CENTRAL APPALACHIA REGIONAL NETWORK RELEASES SEVERANCE TAX POLICY SCAN – SUGGESTS PERMANENT FUND

July 16, 2012 –Huntington, WV – In an effort to provide a foundation to identify severance tax best practices, and create a long-term financial legacy for Central Appalachian communities, the Central Appalachia Regional Network (CARN) has completed the Central Appalachia Severance Tax Policy Scan. The scan outlines the severance tax policies in the six states CARN serves – Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and           WestVirginia – and is the first of its kind to assess and compare these policies in each state.

The scan compiles data about each state’s policy, including which agencies oversee disbursement of revenues, which minerals are taxed, the rate at which they are taxed and the total annual revenue each state receives from the taxes.

A permanent trust fund should be created in each of CARN’s six states with severance tax dollars. Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota and Utah have established permanent funds, some as long ago as the early 1970s. As the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy pointed out, those states are now reaping the benefits of millions, and sometimes billions, for state programs. A permanent fund in Central Appalachia would allow a percentage of collected severance taxes to be saved. The interest on these savings could be used to fund public projects long after the mineral resources of those states have been depleted.

CARN advocates that a minimum of 1 percent of severance taxes collected be placed in these permanent funds for use by and for the communities from which the resources were extracted. If Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia had implemented a permanent fund in 1990, it would have generated about $1.4 billion in earnings to date.

The permanent fund could contribute to sustaining Central Appalachian communities for future generations by establishing a lasting economic legacy.

To download the Central Appalachia Severance Tax Policy Scan and CARN’s policy recommendations, visit http://www.CARNnet.org.

Direct Links:

http://carnnet.org/docs/CARN_SeveranceTaxReport.pdf

http://carnnet.org/docs/CARN_SeveranceTaxPolicyRecommendations.pdf

1 dead in Bolivar well explosion – Tuscarawas County

BOLIVAR One person has died after a explosion at an oil- and gas-well site at about 9:34 a.m. today.

Capt. Marty Huth of the Bolivar Fire Department, incident commander at the scene, said it is too early to tell what caused the explosion.

The explosion occurred about two miles south of Bolivar in the vicinity of Bolivar Group Home, 10071 State Route 212. That is also near Kingwood Drive NE and Huffman Square NE in Wilkshire Hills subdivision.

Firefighters responding to the blaze told The Times-Reporter that there was one fatality from the explosion, which caused flames to shoot at least 50 feet into the air.

Dr. James Hubert, Tuscarawas County Coroner, said the death appears accidental but his investigation is continuing. Cathy Clarke, coroner’s investigator, also was on scene.

Hubert said the identity of the victim won’t be released until after family members are notified.

 

Read more: http://www.cantonrep.com/newsnow/x1062475088/1-dead-in-Bolivar-well-explosion

Chesapeake Energy Selling Some Utica Shale land in Ohio


WEDNESDAY, 06 JUNE 2012  WRITTEN BY ERICH SCHWARTZEL

The natural gas and oil in Ohio’s Utica Shale is going to help Chesapeake Energy’s debt-ridden balance sheet — whether Chesapeake is the firm that extracts the fuels or not.

Through a listing on the website of Meagher Energy Advisors, Chesapeake has put more than 337,000 acres across 19 eastern Ohio counties up for sale — about one-fourth of the company’s total Utica holdings.

More than 80 percent of the land for sale is held-by-production, meaning landowners are locked into current contracts and cannot renegotiate for more money with a new company. Chesapeake said the areas where it is looking to sell are places where its land ownership is less concentrated and company leases aren’t as side-by-side as in other parts of the state.

The Oklahoma City driller is the biggest in the country to have such a substantial stake and financial obligation in Ohio’s counterpart to the Marcellus Shale region. In the past, Chesapeake has promised such lucrative returns from that area that beleaguered CEO Aubrey McClendon called it “the biggest thing economically to hit Ohio, since maybe the plow.”

Scattershot public data haven’t stopped Mr. McClendon from extolling the promise of the Utica, continuing a “trust me” line to shareholders while offering little evidence to fact-check those claims. Ohio regulators generally wait months before receiving production reports from Chesapeake, and industry analysts say the company’s sky-high estimates fall back to earth as more information is revealed.

Read More: http://shale.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/news/archives/24593-chesapeake-energy-selling-utica-shale-land