Friday, August 31, 2012

Links of the Day 8/31 - Devon Energy Will Take Care of Roads, Wet Gas Following Price Pattern of Dry Gas, Royalties Coming For Some, New Frack Technology Aims to Lower Costs, Chimera Energy Taking Swipes at Fracking

The Daily Record:  Devon Energy entering into agreements to protect Wayne County roads.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:  Drillers rattled as ethane, propane prices plunge.

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register:  Royalties coming down the pipe.

Reuters:  Schlumberger's clever frack takes aim at gas costs.

MDN:  Chimera Energy continues to bash away at fracking - possibly to their own detriment.

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Chesapeake Upsetting Landowners By Exploiting Lease Technicalities and Taking Chunks Out of Royalty Payments

From Bloomberg comes a new report on another cost-cutting measure by Chesapeake which has many landowners around the country steaming.
As gas prices were heading toward a 10-year low in April, Chesapeake began reinterpreting in its favor thousands of contracts with landowners from Pennsylvania to Texas that own the 1 trillion cubic feet of gas the company produced last year, according to interviews and documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Chesapeake, arguing that other contract language allows for cost deductions, is fighting more than a dozen lawsuits.
Lawsuits based on this matter have had mixed results.  But whether or not Chesapeake has the legal justification within the leases to defend themselves for their actions, it is certainly a bitter pill to swallow for landowners who negotiated for a no-cost lease only to have the energy company turn around and pass costs on to the landowners anyways when the going got tough.

Further, from the Bloomberg report (emphasis ours):
The costs range from 70 cents to $1 per 1,000 cubic feet of gas produced, Hood told the Fort Worth, Texas, newspaper. Coupled with lower gas prices, the deductions mean some royalty owners have seen their payments slashed by more than 90 percent this year, with Chesapeake paying as little as 11 percent of the price paid by rival energy producers, more than two dozen leaseholders in Texas and Louisiana said in lawsuits and interviews.
Chesapeake has paid royalties in North Texas based on a gas price as low as 11 cents per million cubic feet, eight or nine times less than producers including Devon Energy Corp. (DVN)and EOG Resources Inc. (EOG), Hazlewood, the tax appraiser, and other royalty owners said. 
Read the rest of the article here.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Athens County Getting Closer to Seeing Their First Utica Well

From the Athens News:
The first of two planned permit applications for additional oil-and-gas wells to be drilled in or near Athens County has been filed by local developer James Brent Hayes. 
Records of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources show that last Friday, Hayes filed an application for a new well to be drilled into the Utica-Pt. Pleasant shale bed at a site near River Road in Rome Township. 
The well site is reportedly within about 1,500 feet of a well for which Hayes and his business partner, Randy Wolfe of R. Wolfe Oil & Gas, have already gotten a permit, and for which they have done preliminary site work. 
Hayes told The Athens NEWS in mid-August that he and Wolfe were hoping to begin drilling on the first well around October or November.
Read the rest of the article here.

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Guidelines For Water Testing Released by Marcellus Trade Group

The Marcellus Shale Coalition released a report entitled "Recommended Practices: Pre-Drill Water Supply Surveys" on August 28.  The document contains simple guidelines for oil and gas operators, as wells as water supply owners.  The report can be viewed below.

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Heritage Foundation Says Fracking is Critical For Energy, Jobs, Economy

From The Heritage Foundation:
Abstract: Energy production on private lands in the United States has been one of the most promising success stories in recent years, at a time when the country has struggled to grow economically. A large part of the success behind this tremendous oil and gas production and jobs creation is due to an energy-extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing. Misconceptions about hydraulic fracturing abound. The Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris explains how, regulated effectively, hydraulic fracturing is safe—as well as necessary for energy production and job creation in the United States.
While Americans continue to be disappointed by dismal jobs reports and a high unemployment rate, one of the few recent bright spots in the U.S. economy has been energy production, particularly the shale oil and shale gas revolution. In fact, the Yale Graduates Energy Study Group calculated that in 2010 alone, the consumer surplus (the consumer savings or gain from reductions in price) from shale gas production was worth over $100 billion.[1] The technological one-two punch of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has created a remarkable energy boom and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. The possibility of continuously low natural gas prices is turning the United States into a prime destination for chemical companies and other businesses that rely on abundant amounts of natural gas. While the energy development has been substantially positive, the process of hydraulic fracturing has come under scrutiny over concerns about contamination of drinking water, the use of chemicals, wastewater management, and the potential for causing earthquakes.
All 35 of the oil and gas producing states have an impressive and long track record of regulating hydraulic fracturing, yet the federal government is proposing onerous and duplicative regulations. Congress should recognize the states' effectiveness in regulating hydraulic fracturing and prevent federal attempts that would unreasonably slow down the success of oil and gas development.
Read the rest of the article here.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Activists Call Out the Environmental Defense Fund For "Selling Out" to Frackers

The Environmental Defense Fund announced a key grant on Friday from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced today that it has been awarded a 3-year, $6-million grant for its work to minimize the environmental impacts of natural gas operations through hydraulic fracturing. The funding will support EDF’s strategy of securing strong rules and developing industry best practices in the 14 states with 85 percent of the country’s unconventional gas reserves. The grant was awarded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, a recognized leader in global environmental efforts.
redOrbit (
Read the entire press release here.

Fracktivists quickly responded to say that they won't stand for the EDF selling out to frackers.
I have news for the Environmental Defense Fund: the fracking activist community is shocked that you received $6 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies to advocate for fracking regulations. And we aren’t going to stand for it.
EDF says that they’ll be working for “responsible” regulation in 14 states. Of course, this is just double speak that means swooping into states where there is a strong grassroots movement against fracking and shilling for the oil and gas industry. They will claim to represent environmentalists while they promote regulation that is so weak even the gas industry can live with it.
Of course, everyone in the environmental movement knows that this is EDF’s modus operandi. In fact, for years, public interest advocates have rolled their eyes and complained to one another in private about how EDF undercuts their work time and time again. But, everyone is afraid to speak out because they might upset funders, who are turned off by disagreements among environmentalists.
Read the angry activist's article here.

This is another reminder that the debate over fracking for many doesn't entirely hinge on the safety of the practice.  Many activists want it to stop because they hate fossil fuels, and they will latch onto any piece of information available that may turn public opinion against fracking in order to advance that cause.

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Carroll County on Frontlines of Shale Boom, Experiencing the Early Benefits

From The Daily Record:
Oil and gas production stemming from horizontal hydraulic fracturing is expected to pump billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs into the state economy in coming years.
Carroll County is already experiencing the benefits. Rutledge said taxable sales have risen to $125.7 million, compared to $94.8 million in 2011. And sales tax collections this year are up $300,000-plus.
"That's the industry buying things locally," Rutledge said. "They're buying hotel rooms, rood [sic], other products. ... Carroll County has less than 30,000 (people who) live in the whole community. To see an increase in your sales tax of $300,000, that's significant."
Rutledge spoke about the results during a meeting of the Consumer Energy Alliance near the Statehouse on Friday, where the group presented the findings of a new North American study calling for policy changes that support exploration, protect the environment and reduce burdensome regulations.
Read the rest of the article here.

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Is the Shale Gas Boom Another Bubble That is Bound to Pop?

From Seeking Alpha:
It is looking highly likely that once again the public will get the short end of the stick in a few years as the supply of gas from these shale formations runs out much faster than estimates, leaving the public with a large glut of natural gas fueled cars and trucks and natural gas fueling stations, all of which were built on the promise of 100+ years of supply at cheap prices and the dream of energy independence. As this surplus demand infrastructure is built out and as supplies run out quicker than expected, prices will naturally rise dramatically.
The production levels drop dramatically after the first 20 months on the majority of shale wells and a huge amount of wells have been drilled over the past 5 years so the ability to find high producing wells will diminish quickly and the ones that have already been drilled will be producing far lower supplies. The natural gas market should begin to feel this constraint over the next three to 12 months. Consumers will be stuck with natural gas cars that cost more to fuel than cars that take unleaded gas and they will be left with home heating bills that will be skyrocketing. Add to this the potential reduction in supplies from exporting liquid natural gas to foreign markets by 2015 and we could see a massive bull market in natural gas.
We can thank CHK [Chesapeake Energy] and others now for what will be yet another popped bubble. In 5 years Congress will shamefully trot out the executives of these companies, putting on a show for the public as they publicly condemn them for what turned out to be a giant investment scam. However, none of them will be willing to admit they were warned when ahead of time by the likes of Arthur Berman, The New York Times, The Rolling Stone, and other sources. It will all play out just like every other scandal we have seen over the past 13 years, from the dot com bubble to the housing boom to the Madoff Ponzi Scheme, etc.
Given all of the bubbles we have been through over the past 13 years, we all know to be cautious when we hear the words "This time is different." Well, the natural gas industry would like the public to believe that this time is different, that we can gain energy independence on the back of an unlimited supply of natural gas that can be drilled at dirt cheap prices.
Does the average person believe those words yet again?
Read the rest of this article here.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Baker Hughes Closes on 108 Acres in Massillon, May Break Ground This Year

We reported back in February on the potential purchase by Baker Hughes of land at the Northeast Ohio Commerce Park in Massillon, and the 700 jobs it could bring to the area.  Now the Houston-based company has closed the deal.

From the Akron Beacon Journal:
Energy company Baker Hughes may break ground on its Utica shale gas operations hub in Massillon before the year ends, the city’s mayor says.
Baker Hughes Oilfield Services closed this month on a multi-million-dollar purchase of 108.8 acres at the Northeast Ohio Commerce Park.
The Houston-based energy industry giant, with $19.8 billion in sales last year, confirmed it closed on the land on Aug. 14. The company declined to comment further. The price tag is estimated at $3.3 million for the site at 3400 Millennium Drive.
Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry said Baker Hughes may break ground before the end of the year. “We’re kind of waiting to see how the [natural gas price] rebounds,” she said Monday.
Historically low natural gas prices, caused by an abundance of shale-derived gas, have prompted energy companies to slow drilling and delay related projects.
Baker Hughes’ closing on the Massillon site is good news for the city and surrounding area, Catazaro-Perry said.
“We’re just very happy Baker Hughes chose Massillon,” she said. “There will be more jobs, decent paying jobs. We’ll be the regional site for Baker Hughes.”
Read the rest of the article here.

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Methane Migration Problems Continue in PA - Hanger Says Companies Must Take it Seriously

From NPR comes a report on methane from drilling sites polluting nearby water wells.  John Hanger, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, notes that the gas migration problem is one that the industry needs to give serious attention to.

It should be noted, as a reminder, that these instances of methane pollution are not caused by hydraulic fracturing.

From NPR:
Mike and Nancy Leighton's problems began on May 19, just as Mike was settling in to watch the Preakness Stakes. A neighbor in Leroy Township, Pa., called Mike and told him to check the water well located just outside his front door.
"I said, 'I'll be down in 15 minutes.' I wanted to see the race," Leighton said. But as the horses were racing, Leighton's well was overflowing. Typically, there's between 80 to 100 feet of head space between the top of the well and its water supply. But when Leighton went outside, the water was bubbling over the top.
Down the road, Ted and Gale Franklin's water well had gone dry. When water started coming out later that week, the liquid was "black as coal," according to Gale.
Since then, both families have been dealing with methane-contaminated water supplies, as well as dozens of mysterious, flammable gas puddles bubbling up on their properties.
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection blames a nearby hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operation. It says methane gas has leaked out of the well, which is operated by Chesapeake Energy, and into the Leightons' and Franklins' water supplies.
The danger goes beyond contaminated water. In a letter to both families detailing test results and preliminary findings, state regulators wrote that "there is a physical danger of fire or explosion due to the migration of natural gas water wells." Chesapeake has installed ventilation systems at the two water wells, but the letter warns, "it is not possible to completely eliminate the hazards of having natural gas in your water supply by simply venting your well."
Read the rest of NPR's report, and hear audio, here.

John Hanger had this to say on his blog:
The gas industry must routinely recognize, accept, and fix its mistakes.  It's not perfect and never will be.  But it can be better, even excellent.

For excellence in operations to be achieved, every company and employee in the gas industry must treat gas migration as a real problem that should be a top priority.  In this vein, I was disappointed by the quotation in the Detrow piece from API, but that may be a function of not including all that was said by the API spokesperson.  

In this piece, the API stresses the infrequency of gas migration, when I would have hoped that the API would stress how important it is to prevent gas migration and for the industry to become consistently more excellent in operations to reduce further gas migration cases. Strong rules and strong enforcement of rules can make a major difference, but excellent operations makes the biggest difference of all.

Right now the number of mistakes that lead to gas migration remains higher than should be the case if operational excellence was the standard at every gas well.  More leadership is needed within the industry, because the results are not where they should be.

As a result, landowners in leases and regulators need to consider measures to drive more industry focus on preventing gas migration by each and every gas drilling company and all their contractors.
Read the entire post by clicking here.

Are you concerned about the possibility of methane pollution in your water?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Celebrities Fighting Fracking - Is It Selfish or Selfless?

As John Lennon's son sees his article against fracking published in the New York Times opinion page, an article on calls out celebrities for their selfishness in fighting fracking.

From Lennon's op-ed in the New York Times:
Though my father died when I was 5, I have always felt lucky to live on land he loved dearly; land in an area that is now on the verge of being destroyed. When the gas companies showed up in our backyard, I felt I needed to do some research. I looked into Pennsylvania, where hundreds of families have been left with ruined drinking water, toxic fumes in the air, industrialized landscapes, thousands of trucks and new roads crosshatching the wilderness, and a devastating and irreversible decline in property value.
Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word “clean” takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don’t be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years. There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won’t eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.
Read the rest of the article here.

And from Townhall comes the opposing viewpoint:
The usual suspects of concerned celebrities are raising their voices in an attempt to intimidate New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Koons, Bonnie Raitt, Liv Tyler and many more say potential harm to the environment is too much to risk. Jeff Koons and Paul McCartney are maybe the richest artist and singer alive, but they couldn't make up one year of economic benefit that this same Marcellus shale formation has delivered in Pennsylvania. 

These celebrities are asking people to give up not only economic security but also the sense of pride that comes from achievement. They get to hole up in private jets, exclusive enclaves, and exotic beaches when they need to find that creative touch. A man in New York shouldn't be denied the ability to provide for his family because of a bogus claim that drinking water will be destroyed. Instead, this caring 1 percentile would rather see a God send go begging. 
Read the rest of that article here.

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Fracktivists Gather in New York

From North County Public Radio:
Hundreds of people joined a protest Monday on the bank of the Hudson River in Albany. They're hoping to convince Governor Andrew Cuomo to reject plans for hydraulic fracturing in New York. Companies hope to use the controversial drilling method to extract natural gas from deposits that lie deep underground.

Cuomo is expected to decide any day now whether to give the industry the green light, and activists and lobbyists are scrambling to influence the governor's final plan and to shape how his decision is viewed by the public.
The arguments have been framed and locked in for months. Pro-development groups that say central New York's rust belt needs new industry, new jobs. Environmentalists and their allies say fracking would contaminate groundwater supplies, devastating communities and farms. 
Read the rest of the article and listen to the report here.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27 Links: Snake Wranglers in the Shale, Teachers Attend Oil & Gas Education, Energy in Depth Likened to Joe Camel, Crusades Against Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Fighting Diesel Fuel in Fracking, Fracking Dangers to Wildlife

NPR:  Snakes, And The Snake Wranglers Who Love Them.

The Daily Jeffersonian:  Two local teachers attend oil, gas education program.  Energy in Depth is to fracking as Joe Camel is to cigarettes

CNN:  Tightening the tap on '$1 trillion' a year fossil fuel subsidies

Opposing Views:  More to be Done in Prevention of Diesel in Drinking Water Sources

Center For Biological Diversity:  Fracking Threatens California's Wildlife

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Psychological Operations - How is the Gas Industry Working to Win the PR Battle? has an article posted which talks about the gas industry's use of PSYOPS, or Psychological Operations, to influence public opinion on drilling.

What is PSYOPS?  Here's how the anti-drilling blog breaks it down:

Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

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Ohio Pipeline Project Moving Forward as Landowners Begin Receiving Visits

From WYTV 33 News:

Read the article here.

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Carrollton Landowners Talk About Benefits of Shale Development

From EID Ohio:

Read the whole article by clicking here.

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Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Leases Land to Drillers

From The Marion Star:
Protesters may have temporarily won the war on fracking in north central Ohio, but they continue to lose battles. 
A month after environmental activists prompted the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to temporarily halt the sale of water to oil and gas drillers, the district's board of directors voted Friday to approve the lease of almost two acres of land and grant right-of-way access to two drilling companies
Gulfport Energy of Houston was approved for leasing 1.3 acres near Piedmont Lake at a rate of $5,000 per acre, and Enterprise Liquids Pipeline LLC out of Cleveland was granted right-of-way approval to extend drilling pipelines near Clendening Lake. 
Gulfport Energy already is withdrawing 11 million gallons of water from Clendening Lake based on an April agreement with the conservancy district. That agreement was made before the sale moratorium. 
Activists were disappointed by the board's approvals, saying they opened the gateway for water sales to resume by the end of the year, pending results from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Read the rest of the article here.

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Permitting Slows Down in Columbiana County

From The Salem News:
The Columbiana County Courthouse hallways are no longer crowded, and an off-site location opened specifically because of those crowds is now closed.
So where are all those workers who clogged the courthouse for the past two years while researching deeds for oil and gas drilling companies wanting to lease county property?
The answer is twofold. First, much of the work can now be done online, and, secondly, the leasing phase of the shale gas boom appears to be winding down.
"There's a dramatic reduction in traffic there (at the off-site location) and in the courthouse, so it appears to me back a more normal operation," said county Commissioner Mike Halleck.
He keeps in contact with people in the shale gas industry and they have indicated leasing is slowing down as the focus shifts to the drilling phase.
Read the rest of this article here.

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Harrison County's Wagner Well Outperforms the Buell Well, Becomes New Utica Shale Top Dog

We've actually reported on the staggering results reported by Gulfport Energy for the second quarter already, but a new article from The Marion Star summarizes well just how impressive the production of the Wagner 1-28H well in Harrison County is:
The Utica Shale continues to surprise - in most cases pleasantly - the megafirms that flocked to Ohio to tap into the formation. 
Publicly traded companies, including some of the biggest names in energy, updated investors this month on what happened from April through June. Among those disclosures is that the championship belt for the state's most-generous well has changed hands. 
Gulfport Energy's Wagner 1-28H well in Harrison County shows potential to produce 14 million cubic feet of dry natural gas and 1,881 barrels of natural gas liquids (after processing), along with 432 barrels of oil, according to company estimates. 
When measurements are compared and variances are equalized, those numbers are 54 percent higher than the initial production from Ohio's best known Utica Shale well, Chesapeake Energy's Buell well, which is less than 20 miles northeast of the Wagner well. 
"This (is) the alpha dog well of the play to date," Tim Rezvan, senior energy analyst at the investment firm Sterne Agee, told in an email.
Read the rest of the article here.

With another Harrison County well producing big-time results, one has to wonder how much of an impact the legal wrangling that is going on in that county is having on the amount of development occurring there.  At the last count, Carroll County had 96 more permits issued than Harrison.

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Story of Dimock, PA Can Serve as Cautionary Tale to Other Shale Communities

As shale development continues in our area, it is worthwhile to look at what has happened in Dimock, Pennsylvania and try to learn from the horrible effects that water contamination, litigation, and in-fighting among residents over gas drilling has had on that small community.

From comes an article that looks at where Dimock stands now, after the EPA's testing has cleared Cabot of contaminating water wells of residents who appeared set to cash in on the anti-fracking hysteria perpetuated by Gasland and the national media's portrayal of the town as a community that was left a diseased wasteland by shale drilling, only to find that scientific reality wasn't on their side.

The article also gives a nice summary of the events that unfolded in Dimock.

One quote in particular stood out to me as I read this story, and it came from John Hanger.
"One of the things I've learned in the shale wars, there are people and interests that profit from conflict," said Hanger. "There's certainly money to be made from fighting, whether it's lawyers, consultants, or fund-raising appeals. There's probably more to be made out of a good old fight than a peaceful resolution."
Read the rest of the article here.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Predictably, Not Everyone is a Fan of Romney's Energy Plan

Mitt Romney unveiled his energy plan, and not everyone is happy with it.

Here is a report on Romney's plan.

On the campaign trail, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has unveiled a new plan that would radically alter the nation’s energy policy. On Thursday, Romney called for ending the longstanding federal regulation of oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government-owned lands, and instead transferring responsibility over to the states. The move would mark a huge win for oil and gas companies as states notoriously have weaker regulatory mechanisms than the federal government. Romney also vowed speedy approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast. Speaking in New Mexico, Romney said his plan would lead the United States to energy independence.
Mitt Romney: "This is not just a matter of economy and jobs and rising incomes and a growing economy and more tax revenues. It’s also more security. It means we don’t have to rely on people who in some cases don’t like us very much, that America will be able to stand on its own, will stand arm in arm with our friends from Mexico and our friends from Canada, and assure that we have all the energy we need to keep America powered and to make sure that our military never has to borrow from someone across the ocean that might not be our best friend."
Romney unveiled his plan just days after taking in nearly $10 million from the oil and gas industry in two fundraisers. According to the New York Times, Romney’s staff drafted his plan with energy industry executives, including the billionaire oil tycoon Harold Hamm.
And here is how one environmental site translates Romney's plan:

How do you think the election's outcome will affect shale gas development in our area?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Links for August 24th - Romney's Energy Plan, EID Attacks Another Anti-Drilling Report, NY Mayor Supports Fracking, Chesapeake Analyzed Again, DOE Debunks Howarth

Chicago Tribune:  In Romney plan, oil drilling unfettered by politics.
Bloomberg:  Romney Energy Plan Would Expand States' Say in Production.

Energy in Depth:  Flaws found in the National Resources Defense Council report on fracking.

The Washington Post:  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says fracking is too important to foul up.

Seeking Alpha:  Analyzing Chesapeake's Asset Sales.

John Hanger's Facts of The Day:  Department of Energy Issues Major Natural Gas Life Cycle Study That Debunks Howarth & Boosts Carbon Capture and Storage For Gas.

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Most Misleading Story Lead Yet? You Decide

This is posted more for amusement and because I found it strange than for anything else.

An article on StateImpact Pennsylvania may win the award for the most misleading and dishonest lead to an article.  And perhaps the most interesting thing is that the bulk of the very short post is the lead-in; the actual point of the article is...well, I'm not even sure what the point of the article is, other than to create a mental connection between fracking and earthquakes which even the article itself ends up stating would be incorrect.

Check out the quick 3 paragraph article by clicking here and share your thoughts on it here.  What was the point of mentioning a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that had absolutely nothing to do with fracking or injection wells in an article that is supposed to be about fracking and injection wells?

I think the first comment under the article on StateImpact PA's site sums it up best:
Last year my septic tank backed up sending sewage spewing all over my back lawn. Turns out it wasn't related to fraccing either - but I thought I' d use it as a meaningless lead-in to my comment.

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Fracktivists Bring Their Kids to "Toxic" Frack Site

From Boulder Weekly:
According to the Camera, about 30 people showed up to demonstrate on Saturday morning. At least 10 children were present, including a 1-year-old. 
“We’re trying to get the word out to people to alert them to the dangers of fracking,” said Karen Conduff, one of the demonstrators. 
“We feel that it [fracking] causes harm to our health,” said Diana Caile, a member of The Mothers Project. “It causes water contamination, air pollution, contaminates the soil … and that this is a heavy industrial, toxic process that does not belong in our community.” 
Cliff Willmeng, a member of East Boulder County United, characterized Encana’s project as “drilling five holes into the earth and injecting it with 50 million gallons of industrial waste.” 
Cyndi Nusbaum, another one of the demonstrators, said she was “worried about the wildlife, worried about the water issue. Quite a bit of it is going to be turned into toxic waste never to be returned to the cycle of life again. It’s really upsetting, and a lot of people are going to get sick. I really think they will.” 
Wow. Given that laundry list of supposed eco-evils, you would have to be nuts to allow your kids to get anywhere near the well site.
Read the rest of this op-ed by clicking here.

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State Rep. Okey Promotes Bill to Protect Landowners From "Predatory" Drillers

From Columbus Business First:
State Rep. Mark Okey is trying to turn up the heat on Republican leaders at the Statehouse to get behind a bill to protect landowners from oil and natural gas companies developing the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in eastern Ohio.
Calling such companies “predatory,” the Democrat from Carrollton is urging Gov.John Kasich and other Republican leaders to support his Truth in Leasing Act. It would establish regulations for the oil and gas leasing process and require companies to pay property owners a minimum royalty of 15 percent on oil and gas extracted in the shale plays.
Okey and Rep. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, introduced House Bill 493, in March but it has yet to receive a hearing in the House. They are pushing Republicans, the majority party in the House and Senate, to consider the proposal when lawmakers are back in session this fall.
Okey told Columbus Business First he saw the need for regulation of oil and gas company leasing representatives, commonly referred to as “land men,” in his law practice in Carroll County. With more than 40 wells drilled and nine producing oil and gas as of July 15, the county has more Utica shale play activity than any other in the state.
Read the rest of the article here.

Considering all of the stories we have heard about pushy land men who have threatened to cut landowners completely out of their royalties if they won't sign amended leases, it will be interesting to see what happens with the legislation that Okey is putting forth.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hilcorp Gets First Columbiana County Permit

From Business Journal Daily:
Hilcorp, a privately owned oil and gas exploration company, was issued a permit Aug. 13 to drill on the Hanover-Mountz property in Hanover Township, records show. It is the 49th well permitted in Columbiana County since 2011, and is the first such well for Hilcorp in the county.
Hilcorp recently signed an $836,000 drilling lease with the city of Campbell; the company has approached the city of Struthers and the Lowellville school board about leasing mineral rights for the lands both entities own.
Read the rest of this article here.

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Tips on Signing an Oil & Gas Lease

From HubPages:
You have all the time in the world to work out a deal that is acceptable to both you and the oil company.
You should first consider the amount of long term revenue or oil and gas royalties that you will be paid as oil and gas is produced. You can seek a higher percentage, within reason, and even a difference of 1/16th of oil and gas royalties can mean a huge difference over the life of the well. The lease payment is an up front payment for the right to explore for oil and gas on your property. Royalty payments are from actual production should oil or gas be discovered. Make sure you negotiate for a fair share of the production. Going rates are from 1/16 to 1/4 of production.
Ask your attorney to look for, and delete the "Mother Hubbard" clause, which can give the company the right to drill on all adjacent properties you own and treat them as the same property. For example, if you own ten acres in one parcel and ten in another on the other side of the highway you want to be able to lease them separately.
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Lawsuit Against Chesapeake Say McClendon Was Given Unjust Preference Over Stockholders

From Bloomberg:
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) let Aubrey McClendon, its chief executive officer, profit from lucrative Texas oil and gas wells while denying the same chance to leaseholders on the properties, according to a lawsuit.
Chesapeake lost one-fifth of its market value this year as the impact of tumbling gas prices was compounded by disclosure that McClendon borrowed more than $800 million last year to finance his stakes in thousands of company-owned oil and gas wells. McClendon was stripped of his chairman’s role in June and is under investigation by the board for his borrowings.
According to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Houston, McClendon was allowed to purchase a 1 percent to 2 percent interest in wells drilled by Chesapeake, using his stake in the wells as collateral. The company was contractually obligated to offer the leaseholders a similar chance to profit in wells it developed across a 10,900-acre swath described as the “sweet spot” of the Barnett Shale, an oil and gas formation under Fort Worth, Texas, according to the plaintiffs, two Houston energy companies.
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New Fracktivist Approach: Loosely Comparing Fracking to Rape

From EcoWatch:
When Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives science and Technology committee, said that “legitimate rape” doesn’t cause pregnancy, jaws dropped across the nation. As follow-up statements by scientists and physicians made clear, the Congressman was bending the truth to fit his political viewpoint.  In fact, his assertions about female biology were at odds with the laws of nature themselves.
Magical thinking and a refusal to listen to science are not confined to the topic of birth control.  They also infect the public discussion on hydraulic fracturing.  Many renowned scientists, including Drs. Ron BishopRobert HowarthAnthony Ingraffea andSandra Steingraber, have brought forth evidence showing that fracking can contaminate water and air, raises public health risk, and is at least as bad, and may be worse, for the Earth’s climate than coal. They show us that real science comes to the conclusions that the data presents.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today's Links - Southern Ohio Looking at Leasing Activity Spike, Ohio Fractivist Interviewed, Ohio Town Bans Fracking, Chesapeake Screws Up in PA

Oil, gas exploration leasing activity likely to increase across Southern Ohio.

Fractivist Bill Baker ponders progress and looks ahead.

Yellow Springs, Ohio votes to ban fracking - against the advice of the Village Council's law director, who says they will likely be sued for their actions.

Pennsylvania officials say Chesapeake Energy's production report was so full of ridiculous errors that they just decided not to include Chesapeake's numbers in their state report.

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Advice For Businesses Looking to Work in Shale Industry: Safety First

From the Times Reporter:
Small business owners hoping to work with oil and gas companies should understand that safety is a paramount concern of the energy industry.
That’s according to experts who addressed the public Monday during a seminar on “Navigating Shale Development Opportunities,” held at the Small Business Development Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas in New Philadelphia.
The seminar comes at a time when opportunities are opening up for area businesses as major oil and gas companies — including Chesapeake Energy, Gulfport Energy and Rex Energy — move into the Tuscarawas Valley to develop the Utica shale play. Experts predict development will hit its peak phase locally in 2014 and 2015, with as many as 4,000 wells drilled in eastern Ohio.
“Your company should have a safety policy if you want to work in the oil and gas industry,” said Liz Carter, owner of Elizabeth Carter Consulting of New Concord, a seminar speaker.
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How Could the Industry Boost Its Image?

From The Akron Beacon Journal:
The US shale revolution, which flooded the domestic market with both natural gas and opposition to the hydraulic fracturing drilling technique, now needs to stage its own public relations uprising, speakers said this week at an industry event in Denver.
From Reagan to Twitter, the industry needs to use a variety of campaign tools if it wants to win over the broad swath of Americans caught in the middle of the hydraulic fracturing debate, communication experts said. Many Americans are still on the fence in the shale debate, between industry fans and detractors who say it wrecks the environment or just don't want it in their backyard.
Among other strategies, a "Reganesque" message of American self-sufficiency might help them understand the industry's side, one communications expert advocated.
Brand image specialist Scott Goodson, founder and CEO of StrawberryFrog, said the message for the oil and gas industry to push is that the shale revolution has created self-sustaining energy supplies for the country, a la former US President Ronald Reagan's noted communication techniques.
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FracTracker Alliance Will Begin Operating in Ohio and Meet With Group in Carroll County

From the Akron Beacon Journal:
A Pennsylvania-based watchdog/tracking agency for hydraulic fracturing is coming to Ohio.
FracTracker Alliance has received a two-year $130,000 grant from the Cleveland-based George Gund Foundation and intends to hire a staffer who will be based in the Warren-Youngstown area.
The nonprofit organization offers a website and interactive tool to explore data and map the impact of drilling for natural gas and oil.
“We funded FracTracker because we felt there is a real lack of transparency and understanding about all the issues surrounding shale gas drilling,” said Caitlin Johnson, a Gund Foundation spokeswoman. “FracTracker is an unbiased source of information, data and analysis. A tool like this is sorely needed as the debate around hydraulic fracturing is all too often defined by ideology instead of facts.”
Read the rest of that article here.

From the Times Reporter:
Carroll Concerned Citizens will host a speaker from FracTracker Alliance at its meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Church of Christ – Christian Disciples, 353 Moody Ave.
The meeting is free and open to the public.
While FracTracker publicizes itself as an unbiased organization, it seems to attract people with an anti-drilling agenda.  For example, here is an excerpt from an article at frackcheckwv:
Last year, the development of theFracTracker database for Marcellus shale gas production activities was progressing rapidly, under the leadership of Professor Conrad Volz, in the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities(CHEC) within the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.  Then, Professor Volz became an open critic of hydrofracking because it can contaminate drinking water.  He was forced to resign after becoming involved in a couple of disagreements over data interpretation.   His replacement, Professor Bernard Goldstein has also been a strong advocate for environmental regulation of hydrofracking for the protection of the public health.
Who is Professor Conrad Volz, the man who was overseeing development of the FracTracker database?  Click here.

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