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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ohio Trucking Industry Benefiting From Shale Boom

From Columbus Business First:
More than a fourth of the Ohio companies surveyed said shale gas activity has powered growth for them since 2009. Nine in every 10 questioned expect to see such increases over the next five years.
Read more details by clicking here. 

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Devon Energy Looking to Unload Utica Shale Acreage

From Scotia Waterous:
Scotia Waterous (USA) Inc. (“Scotia Waterous”) has been retained as exclusive advisor by Devon Energy Corporation (“Devon” or the “Company”) to advise and assist in the sale of the Company’s Utica Shale / Point Pleasant assets in Eastern Ohio (the “Offering”). The Utica / Point Pleasant play is currently in the early stages of appraisal and development. Regional well results are promising and there is growing confidence in the prospectivity of the play given very significant leasing and drilling activity.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Loads and Loads of Links: Water Tests are Helpful...If You Can Trust the One Doing the Testing, Disputes Over State Fracking Regulation, and Much Much More

Shaleshockmedia.org: Range Resources Accused of Water Test Tampering

Energywire:  'We look to the states' to implement federal rules, scientists say (subscription required)

EID Ohio:  Antero Upping Reserves and Activity in the Utica

Energy in Depth:  Letterman Misses the Mark on Fracking. Again.

Oil & Gas Journal:  Pipeline inspection, response flaws still exist, Senate panel told

Energy in Depth:  To EHS Today, Its Own Facts

Energy in Depth:  Science and Ingraffea's Natural Gas Emission Study

E&ETV:  VIDEO: Western Energy Alliance's Sgamma discusses future of Interior's fracking rule
TRANSCRIPT:  Click here (subscription required)

The Medina County Gazette:  State drilling laws questioned by Brunswick council

Canon-McMillan, PA Patch:  DEP Developed a Water Test for Marcellus Shale Impacts...But Never Used It. Ever.

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Aubrey McClendon Retirement Reaction: CHK Stock Climbs, Fracktivists Shrug, Reuters Gloats

As the news that Aubrey McClendon will no longer be Chesapeake's CEO sinks in, several articles can help to give an idea of how different corners are reacting to the news.

First, from Financial Times comes a report that Chesapeake's shares jumped 10 percent in after-hours trading to $20.87.

From anti-drilling activist Dory Hippauf of shaleshockmedia.org:
Don’t count McClendon down and out.  It won’t be long before he turns up on some other board of directors or similar.   This is how the game of musical chairs is played in the corporate world.
The Board of Directors has also delayed the release of their internal investigation into McClendon’s loans and related activities.   Originally, the report was scheduled to be release at the end of December 2012, it was then pushed to the end of January 2013.   Now they are saying by end of February 2013.
My guess is the report currently blames everything on McClendon, and this led to him being given the option to “retire”.    The delay to end of February in conjunction with the McClendon’s “retirement” leads me to believe the report is going under a major rewrite to fuzzy-up the details.
What does it mean for Chesapeake’s natural gas drilling activities going forward?  Nothing.  Business as usual.   There have been rumors of Chesapeake being bought out by larger corporations, but for the people living the drill, it still will be business as usual.
Read that whole post by clicking here.

And lastly, from Reuters - who seemingly was on a crusade to dig up as much possible mud to fling at McClendon and Chesapeake as possible over the past year or so - comes this:
Chesapeake Energy Corp said on Tuesday that Aubrey McClendon will step down as chief executive after a tumultuous year in which a series of Reuters investigations triggered civil and criminal probes of the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer. 
News of the executive's plan to depart on April 1 boosted the company's shares by 9 percent. The stock has made a partial recovery since losing almost half its value last spring after a Reuters report opened the company and its co-founder up to intense scrutiny.
Notice the double pat on the back in the two introductory paragraphs of the article.  Reuters is feeling pretty good about this, I guess.  You can read the rest of their article here.

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Website Shares Over 800 Tales of Fracking Woe

By clicking right here you can see a list of over 800 people who claim (or whom the Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air claims) they've suffered negative affects from fracking.

In a quick perusal, I found several that were in Ohio.  One was the worker who was killed in an explosion in Bolivar last summer - which really had nothing to do with fracking.  And at least one person was listed twice on this page, so the total number given may be somewhat deceiving.  And no doubt some will feel that some or most of the stories can be taken with a grain of salt.  However, it is a somewhat interesting resource, featuring links to media reports on the stories people have shared in many cases.

Here are some quick links to some of the Ohio stories on the site:

Jaime Frederick

Richard and Thelma Payne

Kari Matsko

Susan Fowler

Dawn and Carl Siers

Erin in Port Washington

Christine Moore

Beckie Dean

Mark and Sandra Mangan

The Klines

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How Did Chesapeake Sell $12 Billion of Assets & Still Increase Its Debt?

From Seeking Alpha:
Net debt, including negative working capital, now totals $17.1 billion! It has increased by $4.1 billion, despite the huge dollar amount raised through assets sales.
That is pretty crazy. Over $12 billion in assets sold, and debt still increases. What happened?
Two things:
The first is that with unhedged natural gas production for almost all of 2012 and extremely low natural gas prices, Chesapeake basically had no operating cash flow for the entire year. Through the third quarter, Chesapeake had only $1.9 billion in cash flow from operations.
The second factor is that in an effort to make a transition from natural gas to more profitable liquids production, Chesapeake has had to spend a lot of money on development. Through just the end of the third quarter, Chesapeake had spent these amounts on development:
- $7.4 billion on well costs
- $2.6 billion on acquiring land
- $1.9 billion on additions to property and equipment
Read the entire article here. 

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Forbes: Fracking Gets the Attention, But Horizontal Drilling is the Real Marvel

From Forbes:
We often hear spokespeople for the oil and natural gas industry  talk about how the massive new shale gas and oil resources discovered in recent years were made possible by the wedding of two technologies:  Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking” in media parlance) and Horizontal Drilling.  Once that statement is made, the conversation with news reporters, at townhall meetings and in public speaking engagements then quickly focuses on the “Fracking” part of the equation, leaving Horizontal Drilling to sit largely ignored and unappreciated by the media and the public at large.
This is a shame, because the truth is that, of the two technologies, Horizontal Drilling is the real marvel of engineering and scientific innovation.  While impressive in its own right, the main innovations in “Fracking” in recent years have been beefing up the generating horsepower to accommodate horizontal wells rather than vertical ones, and refining of the fluids used to conserve water and create better, longer lasting fractures in the target formation.
Read the rest of this article by clicking here. 

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Article Looks at Why Yoko Ono is Wrong on Fracking

From U.S. News:
"Fracked gas is not climate friendly." Yes, there is one academic study that suggests that fracking leads to methane leakage, which can have an important effect on the atmosphere. Of course, senatorial candidate Todd Akin also noted one article claiming that women's bodies can prevent pregnancy during rape. This should be ample warning against relying on a single piece of research as Truth. An entire column can be devoted to the results of that (or any other) study, but only a novice would think one research study in a new field should be the basis for sound, overarching policy.
Read the rest of the article here. 

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Cabot Oil & Gas Raises $4.4 Million for PA Health Clinic



Read more here.

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How Much Gas is Being Flared Off in the US?

From the Daily Mail:
This incredible picture from space shows how the U.S. oil industry has boomed to such an extent that a gas field now burns as brightly as a major city. 
The rapid increase in shale oil production means it is now often more economical to 'flare off' unwanted gas than to sell it. 
As a result, one field in North Dakota, the state leading the energy revolution, is now burning off enough gas to power all the homes in Chicago and Washington D.C. combined.



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Chesapeake Donates Vehicles to Carroll and Columbiana County Law Enforcement

From EID Ohio:
Chesapeake Energy Corporation is giving back to the community once again in Utica Shale country.  The company recently celebrated 2013 by donating Chevy Tahoes to law enforcement agencies in Columbiana and Carroll counties.  Both counties are highly involved in the Utica Shale play.
The vehicles are specially customized and will help the departments with costs by filling a need for the K9 and SWAT units.  Pete Kenworthy, Manager of Media Relations for Utica operations, explained why Chesapeake chose to donate the vehicles:
Local law enforcement officers play a vital role in our communities, often making personal sacrifices for the betterment of others. We want to do everything we can to provide them with the tools they need to safely do their jobs to the best ability—Pete Kenworthy, Manager, Media Relations
Read the whole article here. 

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Major Oil & Gas Deals Hit 10-Year High in 2012

From the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette:
Major deals in the oil and gas sector hit a 10-year high in 2012, with 204 big-ticket mergers and acquisitions completed last year. Local deals accounted for at least 4 percent of the national total value. 
Last year's deals, which were worth a total of $146.2 billion nationally, included $5.23 billion worth in the Marcellus Shale formation and $1.27 billion in the Utica Shale formation, according to a study set for release today by the analysis arm of New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC.
While the analysis by PwC suggests that Utica and Marcellus shale deals fell off pace in 2012, the raw data suggests otherwise.  From the article:
Mr. Haffner said the smaller number in the Appalachian formations is not indicative of a lack of interest, since holdings in this region are often bundled with larger assets as part of a multi-faceted acquisition. The PwC analysis categorizes deals according to which formation is getting the largest investment, so a deal that includes Marcellus acreage or assets as an ancillary component wouldn't be considered a Marcellus deal. 
Taking that into account "paints a different picture," said Mr. Haffner. "When I look at the raw data, I see Marcellus and Utica at higher levels," he said.
Read the entire story here.

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Anti-Drilling Activist Rips Into FrackNation on Shale Reporter

From Shale Reporter comes a...I guess it would be more of a response to FrackNation than a review of it, written by Suzie Gilbert, who frequently writes articles with an anti-fracking spin.

An excerpt:
“FrackNation” is a fairly well done low-level propaganda film, although almost all of its claims can be refuted by a quick Google search (DAILY DIGGER NOTE: As can almost all of Josh Fox's claims in Gasland - anything on the topic of fracking can be refuted on Google because there are so many bought and paid for studies going both ways). It contains some amusing bits, such as shots of outdoorsy types beating their chests on top of the Baldwin Hills Overlook (above a fracking site) and exclaiming “The air here is so fresh, it’s like you’re close to heaven!” while the Los Angeles smog hovers menacingly in the background.
Gilbert even accuses FrackNation and the oil and gas industry of engaging in some sort of "don't ask-don't tell" conspiracy in connection with the producers' fundraising efforts, despite acknowledging that she has no evidence to support that claim:
The “FrackNation” team makes a big point of saying they accepted no money from oil and gas companies “or their senior executives.”
But what about their junior executives?
Disclaimers like this make me envision gas company meetings where hapless lower-tier employees were told that if they didn’t shell out a few bucks to help fund “FrackNation,” Josh Fox would appear in a cloud of smoke and take their jobs away. I suspect that the few bucks might even have been supplied by the gas companies, although obviously I can’t prove it. My temporary conspiracy-theory madness is only heightened by the fact that in 2009, McAleer and McElhinney were listed as the most popular right-wing speakers in the country, just after Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.
Read the whole post here.

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Chesapeake Announces CEO Succession Plan


Aubrey K. McClendon to Retire from the Company on April 1, 2013
Board Announces that its Extensive Review of Alleged Conflicts of Interest and Other Matters Involving McClendon Has to Date Found No Improper Conduct, Final Report to be Completed in Mid-February
OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 29, 2013-- Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) today announced that its Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and President, Aubrey K. McClendon, has agreed to retire from the company on April 1, 2013 and will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer until his successor is appointed. Mr. McClendon, 53, has served as Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer since the inception of the company in 1989 and served as Chairman of the Board from its founding until 2012.
Archie W. Dunham, Chairman of the Board, stated: “Over the past 24 years, Aubrey McClendon has created one of the most valuable and innovative companies in the energy industry. Under Aubrey’s strong leadership, Chesapeake has built an unmatched portfolio of natural gas and oil assets in creating one of the world’s leading energy companies. He has been a pioneer in the development of unconventional resources, and he has also been a leader in the effort to make the United States energy independent. However, as the company moves towards more fully developing the value of its outstanding assets, Chesapeake is at an important transition in its history and Aubrey and the Board of Directors have agreed that the time has come for the company to select a new leader. The Board will be working collaboratively with Aubrey to make a smooth transition to Chesapeake’s next Chief Executive Officer.”
Mr. Dunham continued: “Going forward, the company will strive to continue as a low cost producer of oil and gas while further enhancing and strengthening its balance sheet. Capital allocation and operating decisions will be made with the goal of prudently growing the company’s intrinsic value per share for the long-term benefit of its shareholders. By forging ahead with a new Chief Executive Officer, the company’s strong management team and talented employees will continue to develop the industry’s best assets to create substantial value for shareholders and themselves in the years ahead.”
Aubrey K. McClendon, Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Over the past 24 years, I have had the privilege of developing Chesapeake into one of the world’s premier energy companies. It has been an honor to work with my outstanding management team and the company’s 12,000 very talented and dedicated employees. I am extremely proud of what we have built over the last quarter of a century, and I am confident that Chesapeake is in a great position to continue to grow and achieve great success in the future as it realizes the full value of its outstanding assets. While I have certain philosophical differences with the new Board, I look forward to working collaboratively with the company and the Board to provide a smooth transition to new leadership for the company.”
The Board expects to release the results of its previously announced review of the financing arrangements, and other matters, between Mr. McClendon (and the entities through which he participates in the Founder Well Participation Program) and any third party that has had or may have a relationship with the company in any capacity, in its earnings announcement scheduled for release before market open on February 21, 2013. The Board’s extensive review to date has not revealed improper conduct by Mr. McClendon. The Board and Mr. McClendon’s decision to commence a search for a new leader is not related to the Board’s pending review of his financing arrangements and other matters.
The Board has retained Heidrick & Struggles to assist the Board in its search of Mr. McClendon’s successor. The Board also intends to consult with Mr. McClendon in connection with this search. The search process will include a full review of internal and external candidates.
During this interim period, Mr. McClendon will work closely with Steven C. Dixon, Chief Operating Officer, and Domenic J. Dell’Osso, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, to transition certain day-to-day management responsibilities in advance of the completion of the search process for the new Chief Executive Officer. The company and the Board are committed to its current drilling program with respect to its existing $6.0 billion drilling and completion budget for 2013, its ongoing asset sales program and intention to reduce the company’s long-term debt.
Mr. McClendon will resign from the Board of Directors at the time his successor is appointed and will receive his full compensation and other benefits to which he is entitled in accordance with the terms of his employment agreement. Mr. McClendon will continue to be an important partner with the company given his stock ownership as well as his interests in certain of the company’s wells in connection with the Founder Well Participation Program, which will terminate on June 30, 2014.
Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) is the second-largest producer of natural gas, a Top 15 producer of oil and natural gas liquids and the most active driller of new wells in the U.S. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company's operations are focused on discovering and developing unconventional natural gas and oil fields onshore in the U.S. Chesapeake owns leading positions in the Eagle Ford, Utica, Granite Wash, Cleveland, Tonkawa, Mississippi Lime and Niobrara unconventional liquids plays and in the Marcellus, Haynesville/Bossier and Barnett unconventional natural gas shale plays. The company also owns substantial marketing and oilfield services businesses through its subsidiaries Chesapeake Energy Marketing, Inc. and Chesapeake Oilfield Operating, L.L.C. Further information is available atwww.chk.com where Chesapeake routinely posts announcements, updates, events, investor information, presentations and news releases.
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" that give Chesapeake's current expectations or forecasts of future events. Although we believe the expectations and forecasts reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance they will prove to have been correct. They can be affected by inaccurate assumptions or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ from the expectation expressed. We caution you not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this news release, and we undertake no obligation to update this information.


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McClendon to Retire as Chesapeake CEO on April 1

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Chesapeake Energy chief executive officer Aubrey McClendon will in April leave the company he co-founded and built into the nation's second-largest natural gas producer. 
As of April 1, he will retire as CEO and leave his seat on the company's board. 
Mr. McClendon cited "certain philosophical differences with the new board" of his Oklahoma City-based company, many of whom were appointed amid a shareholder revolt at the company last year.
Read the entire article here.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Links of the Day: Is Algae the Answer to Fracking Concerns?, Chesapeake Opens Doors to EPA, and Many More

E&E TV:  OriginOil's Eckelberry says algae can ease fracking chemical concerns (subscription required)

StateImpact Pennsylvania:  Ain't Gonna Frack On Maggie's Farm No More

Shale Reporter:  Fracking wastewater can be highly radioactive

Tribune Chronicle:  Lawmakers urge expanded use of region's natural gas (video)

Tribune Chronicle:  Spotlight on shale

The Columbus Dispatch:  Fracking skeptics disregard shale boom's potential

Energywire:  Appeals court won't revisit decision supporting Salazar's cancellation of 77 Utah leases (subscription required)

Energywire:  Chesapeake opens doors to EPA for fracking study (subscription required)

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Local Economy Benefiting From Columbiana Processing Plant

From The Salem News:
[Construction coordinator Baron] John said that while most of the plant's workers-including the contracting company hired for the construction-are from out of state, local involvement has been crucial, and will continue to be, he added.
"We are pulling from all over. We try to get the locals involved as much as possible," he said.
Ten heavy duty equipment trucks, including the one John drives around the site, were purchased from the Huebner Chevrolet Subaru dealership in Carrollton, and local food is delivered on a nearly daily basis.
Scott Cole, owner of the dealership, said the 2012 Chevy Silverado extended cab four-wheel drive trucks were bought by the company over a period of six months last year.
"It's great. It's wonderful for business. I think establishing a relationship with some of these companies has been great," he said.
Read the whole article here. 

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Ohio to Accept Fracking Brine at Landfills?

From the Akron Beacon Journal:
Could Ohio landfills soon start accepting large volumes of solidified briny waste from shale drilling in Ohio and other states?
The state has not approved such shipments, but is poised — at least on paper — to open the door for drillers to use this new disposal option. That could result in tens of millions of gallons of drilling liquids being solidified and dumped in Ohio’s 40 landfills.
The possibility is spelled out in a three-page advisory the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency released in September with major input from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The agencies would need to approve such requests from landfills.
Read the whole article here. 

This doesn't really sound like a good idea, does it?

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Belmont County Well Capable of Producing Over $100,000 a Day in Revenue

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register:
BARNESVILLE - The positives keep coming for Gulfport Energy's Utica Shale operations, as the Stutzman well in southwestern Belmont County could be producing about $100,000 worth of revenue per day.
"Add in the 945 barrels of natural gas liquids at $50 per barrel, and you are talking about something well above $100,000 per day in revenue," said Tim Carr, the Marshall Miller Professor of Energy at West Virginia University.
Read the whole story here. 

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Natural Gas Prices Rise in Northeast as Temperatures Drop

From Energywire:
Natural gas prices in the Northeast shot up for the second week running as a severe cold snap continued to make its way though the region.
In a weekly energy update, the Energy Information Administration reported that gas prices at Algonquin Citygate, for delivery into Boston, and at Transco Zone 6, for New York, increased from $8.98 per million British thermal units and $5.92 per MMBtu, respectively, on Jan. 16 to $31.32 per MMBtu and $35.33 per MMBtu a week later.
Read the whole article here (subscription required).

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Environmentalist Likens Fracking to the Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre

From a Daily Freeman letter to the editor:

Yoko Ono wondered aloud recently about the sanity of those who seem to think it’s "normal" that a family with water problems due to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can set their tap water on fire with a match.
I agree with her, and I also wonder about the sanity of those who seem to think it’s "normal" for a homicidal maniac to break into an elementary school armed with assault weapons and slaughter the innocents, 20 children and six staff members, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. They seem to think it’s "normal," as they protest any and all suggestions for rational restrictions to be imposed on the assault gunslingers of the land.
These catastrophic developments -- the spread of fracking and the spread of gun violence -- would seem to be unrelated, but what links them is what people in this country are becoming inured to, what people are willing to tolerate. 
Read the whole thing here. 

The rhetoric over fracking seems to be reaching a whole new level.

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Another Lawsuit Filed Against Oxford Oil Company

From Farm and Dairy:
A Belmont County judge stopped Oxford Oil Company from drilling a new well onto a property in Barnesville, Ohio.
Shane and Peggy Skinner, of Barnesville, Ohio filed a lawsuit against the Oxford Oil Company, of Zanesville, in December 2012.
The Skinners own approximately 59 acres in Belmont County. The couple signed a oil and gas lease in January 2008 with the Oxford Oil Company.
Read the entire article here. 

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Does FrackNation Ignore the Possibility of Methane Migration From Drilling?

From John Hanger's Facts of the Day blog:
I have not seen FrackNation, and so I cannot definitively comment on its accuracy.  But the promotion of the movie and its YouTube clips have me concerned about its discussion of the real problem of methane migration that can happen as a result of gas drilling mistakes. http://www.youtube.com/user/noteviljustwrong.
Read the rest of the article here.  Mr. Hanger is concerned that FrackNation will mislead viewers by glossing over the reality that methane migration can, and on some occasions does, happen when a gas well is drilled.

Has anyone seen FrackNation yet?  Did the producers give any attention to this point?

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Member of 350.org Compares Oil & Gas Business to Slave Trading

From Energywire:
"If it was publicly acceptable to invest in companies that operated a model of slave trading, we would find that reprehensible and we would divest from those companies," [campus divestment organizer for Better Future Project and 350.org Shea Reister] said. "We feel the exact same is true for the fossil-fuel industry."
[Chairman of Sonecon LLC Robert] Shapiro, who helped write the API report, resented the sentiment. He called any comparison between fossil energy, the lifeblood of the world economy, and racial oppression "laughable."
Read the whole article here (subscription required).

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

PA DEP Comes Under More Scrutiny for Water Testing Procedures Related to Gas Drilling

From timesonline.com:
The state is not using its most stringent test to review for contaminants in residential drinking water near Marcellus shale drilling. 
For more than four years, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has had the ability to test for 45 contaminants in its water-sample analysis.

But according to DEP data, the computer code that determines what substances will be tested has not been used in at least two years. It’s been shelved in favor of two codes that test for fewer than half the number of substances.
Further, the article states:
Facing criticism for not reporting all findings of its residential water tests, the DEP said it did not report all chemicals discovered because the substances simply weren’t related to wastewater from commercial gas drilling. But a 3-year-old study, in which the state DEP participated, links those unreported chemicals with flowback water from fracking. 
The study, “Sampling and Analysis of Water Streams Associated with the Development of Marcellus Shale Gas,” links these unreported metals and fracking. It was prepared for the industry-funded Marcellus Shale Coalition by Thomas Hayes of the Gas Technology Institute with input by the state DEP and sampled water at 19 locations, before and after fracking.
You can read the whole article here.  The study mentioned above can be viewed here.

Is it possible that contamination from gas drilling has been hidden behind carefully designed testing procedures?  Has the Pennsylvania government put people at risk?  A performance audit has been promised, so more details are likely to emerge.

Meanwhile, fracktivists will undoubtedly continue to push the issue. 

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Some Question Shale Jobs Potential with PA's Unemployment Rate on the Rise

From John Hanger's Facts of the Day blog:
Pennsylvania is among the few states to have a higher unemployment rate in December 2012 than in December 2011. The facts are that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was 7.9% in December 2012 and is up from 7.7% in December 2011.

Pennsylvania's economy is headed in the wrong direction, even as the national unemployment rate fell from 8.2% to 7.8%, and even as Pennsylvania becomes the third largest producer of natural gas in the country.
Read the entire post here. 

While fracktivists are quick to use this as ammo to say that shale development isn't doing what the industry says it should do, that is not necessarily the case.  Where would those unemployment rates be in Pennsylvania without the shale boom?  The lesson here is more likely that shale development isn't enough to single-handedly rescue a struggling economy.

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Dr. Terry Engelder and Dr. Tony Ingraffea to Debate Fracking - Watch It Here

Live video from your Android device on Ustream

The Starkey Town Board Invites You to the First Debate in NY State between Pivotal Fracking Pioneers
Dr. Tony Ingraffea of Cornell University & Dr. Terry Engelder of Penn State
Should New York State and/or Starkey Township Allow High Volume Shale Gas Extraction?
Free Admission! All Invited!
“The value of this science could increment the net worth of U.S. energy resources by a trillion dollars, plus or minus billions.” —Dr. Engelder
“They are imposing on us the requirement to locate our homes, hospitals and schools inside their industrial space.” —Dr. Ingraffea
Those unfamiliar or familiar with hydrofracking’s offerings, in favor of or not, or still undecided, should gain new perspectives from this event.
Wednesday January 23, 2013 7:00PM Dundee Central High School Auditorium
55 Water Street Dundee, NY

This should give some interesting and very different opinions on fracking.

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Impact of Shale Development Already Felt in Youngstown

From Columbus Business First:
State Rep. Sean O’Brien had some numbers to share Wednesday with his fellow legislators about what the Utica shale play has meant for his district in the Youngstown area.
Speaking at a Statehouse luncheon sponsored by oil and natural gas lobbying groups, the Democrat from Hubbard said shale development is helping turn around the economy in that long-depressed part of northeast Ohio. O’Brien mentioned how BP Plc (NYSE:BP) has spent $330 million in his district since March. That includes bonuses paid to property owners who are leasing their land and mineral rights to the company, and spending on initial test wells that BP is drilling on its 84,000 leasehold acres in Trumbull County.
“Farmers facing foreclosure several months ago are now millionaires,” O’Brien said.
Read the whole article here. 

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Another Example of Divergent Perspectives on New Report From Duke University

We've pointed out before how the ideology of the one writing an article on the latest bit of shale research tends to greatly affect how the results of that research is framed.  The reaction to a new study from Duke and Kent State universities gives yet another example of this.

Here's the headline on the report by the staunchly anti-drilling organization EcoWatch:
Pennsylvania Fracking Wastewater Likely to Overwhelm Ohio Injection Wells
The headline from industry backed Energy in Depth:
New Duke Study Confirms Shale’s Water Efficiency
Isn't it funny how two different organizations can look at the same report and take away such differing headlines?

Here are some details from EcoWatch on the study (read the whole article here):
The total amount of fracking wastewater from natural gas production in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale region has increased by about 570 percent since 2004, as a result of increased shale gas production, according to a study released yesterday by researchers at Duke and Kent State universities.
Though hydraulically fractured natural gas wells in the Marcellus shale region produce only about 35 percent as much wastewater, per unit of gas recovered, as conventional wells, according to the new analysis, the volume of toxic fracking wastewater from Pennsylvania is growing and threatening to overwhelm existing injection wells in Ohio and other states.
“It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, shale gas production generates less wastewater per unit. On the other hand, because of the massive size of the Marcellus resource, the overall volume of water that now has to be transported and treated is immense. It threatens to overwhelm the region’s wastewater-disposal infrastructure capacity,” said Brian D. Lutz, assistant professor of biogeochemistry at Kent State who led the analysis when he was a postdoctoral research associate at Duke.
Meanwhile, Energy in Depth is focusing on the reduced wastewater per unit of gas recovered (read their whole article here):
A new study released by Duke University this month finds that on a per-unit basis, the development of natural gas from shale formations actually produces less wastewater than so-called “conventional” wells. That’s certainly good news, especially considering the fact that the U.S. EPA, numerous experts, and many public officials (including President Obama himself) have all stressed the need to increase production of natural gas in the United States. 
From the report (subs. req’d):
“For the Marcellus shale, by far the largest shale gas resource in the US, we quantify gas and wastewater production using data from 2,189 wells located throughout Pennsylvania. Contrary to current perceptions,Marcellus wells produce significantly less wastewater per unit gas recovered (~35%) compared to conventional natural gas wells.” (emphasis added, p. 2)

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New Frack Sand Terminal Begins Operations in Ohio


SUGAR LAND, TexasJan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Santrol, a Fairmount Minerals company, announced today the opening of the Columbiana proppant terminal for Marcellus and Utica shale operators. This strategically located infrastructure in northeast Ohio, south of Youngstown, enables operators to work even more efficiently by reducing proppant transportation cost from the terminal to the wellhead.
"Santrol continues to reinforce our commitment to customer excellence with the Columbiana opening," said Tom McCoy , director of Terminal Management for Fairmount Minerals. "Because the terminal is in the heart of the Utica and on the western portion of the Marcellus, our proppant is available immediately with a lower transportation cost."
Open 365 days per year, the terminal has a 500,000-ton annual capacity with direct access to Ohio State Route 11. The terminal's favorable location for operators' hydraulic fracturing work in the Marcellus and Utica formations is also on the main line of a class-one railroad. This is Santrol's 39th US terminal.
"We feel that we offer the broadest terminal network in the industry to our customers across the United States," said McCoy. "Our proppant is available at the right place at the right time."
About SantrolSantrol, part of the Fairmount Minerals family, is a vertically integrated company with leading, environmentally responsible proppants for most applications. Strategically located infrastructure is supported by the most terminals and one of the largest private railcar fleets. Innovative, R&D-focused solutions ensure dependable, readily available products and services. For more information, please visit: www.santrol.com.

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Oil & Gas Industry Rallies at Ohio Statehouse

From the Times Reporter:
Workers, employers and lobbyists for Ohio’s growing oil and gas industry are descending on the Statehouse to tout the industry’s economic benefits.
The lobbying event Wednesday is expected to draw more than 200 industry representatives and 75 lawmakers. It’s sponsored by the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, the Ohio Petroleum Council and the Ohio Shale Coalition.
Read the whole write-up by clicking here.

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Shale Boom May Breathe Life Into Yorkville Steel Mill

From WTOV 9 News:
According to Esmark spokesman Bill Keegan, that could include a pipe depot to support industry associated with the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation. A tin printing venture and a coal transfer station are also possible.

"Clearly, there is a huge opportunity with respect to the fracking industry that has developed there (in the Ohio Valley)," said Stahlschmidt CEO Uwe Schmidt. "We have abundant space, good river access and we see opportunity for this emerging industry in the area."
Read the whole article and view the news report here. 

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Ohio Airport Receives $450,000 Check For Pipeline

From the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette:
The Fairfield County commissioners on Tuesday closed a $450,000 sale with Enterprise Products to allow the company to run 4,000 linear feet of the ATEX pipeline under the county airport.
“We’ll be able to utilize that $450,000 to an extent to operate the airport,” commission president Steve Davis said. “That currently comes out of the general fund. We were scheduled to pay about $176,000 in 2013 for operational costs. We should be able to utilize that much for operations this year. Second, the airport board for years has wanted to make improvements at the terminal and this funding should be able to give them the opportunity to do that.”
Read the whole article here. 

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Healthcare Act Imposes 3.8% Extra Tax on Oil & Gas Bonuses & Royalties

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
People subject to the tax — or surtax, as Adams calls it — have an adjusted gross income above $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married couples.
That means if your income fits that description and you sign a gas lease this year or after, your bonus payment will be taxed at the regular income tax rate plus another 3.8 percent. Same goes for any royalty checks you receive from gas that’s already flowing.
Read the whole story here. 

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