Showing posts from June, 2012

It's Time for More Links - Friday's Stories

Will a Sinopec deal with Chesapeake work out? Editorial:  Science, not politics, needs to drive the fracking debate. University at Buffalo offers half-hearted support of Shale Institute in wake of activist furor over study results. Hess Corp. and Consol Energy complete Ohio Utica Shale joint development agreement. Natural gas generated as much electricity as coal in April. USA Today takes a look at shale boom and how it's moving along. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Josh Fox and New York Times Writer Butt Heads Over Fracking

From the New York Times: Josh Fox, the filmmaker whose “ Gasland ” documentary powerfully influenced debates about gas extraction from shale deposits, has started a conversation with me related to his new short video, “The Sky is Pink,” and my post supporting New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signaled plans for the state’s gas resource .   Here’s Fox’s video, which centers on Cuomo and on documents that Fox asserts open a new front in the fracking wars — pointing to established problems with long-term well integrity due to failures in the steel or cement used to line and seal the vertical well shaft:   Here’s our exchange so far, which has played out in the comment string on my post on Cuomo’s choices: Josh Fox, commenting on my reaction to a Jeff Goodell piece on the video in Rolling Stone : I find it curious that you would choose to play into the “he said, she said” media debate by posting a comment addressing Jeff Goodell’s comments on my film, but not on the film its

Domestic Gas & Oil Accounting for More of U.S. Production

From the New York Times: AMERICA needs a new political discourse on energy. This would recognize the emerging reality that the United States has turned around as an energy producer and is on a major upswing. And the impact will be measured not just in energy security and the balance of payments. Energy development also turns out to be an engine for job creation and economic growth — something that would hardly have been considered the last time we were electing a president.   In 2008, the rise in oil prices was accompanied — and partly fueled — by a belief that an era of permanent scarcity was at hand. This mentality had deep roots extending back to the 1970s, when the United States went from being a minor importer of oil to a major importer. In the 2008 rendition, falling oil output was considered simply inevitable. The only questions were at what rate petroleum imports would rise and whether that rate would be slowed.   The outlook was much the same for natural gas. Production

Links, Links: Catch Up on Some More of the News

An environmental consultant weighs in on the fracking debate . CONSOL Energy is preparing for massive activity in five different Ohio counties. New York paper seems to be accusing the state Department of Environmental Conservation of wrongdoing for revealing details of new fracking regulations to energy companies before they were put into place, but the truth is that state law requires the DEC to reach out to industries affected by new regulations for feedback before instituting them. Chesapeake's new chairman to receive stock valued at $750,000 as well as cash compensation. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

UPDATED: Buell Well the Golden Goose of Utica Shale Production to Date, But Court Battle May Take Some Shine Off

UPDATE:  View the motion filed for a permanent injunction by Kenneth Buell right here: ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM 6/20/12: The story of the Buell well in Harrison County is an ongoing saga.  For those who may not be aware of what is happening, here are a couple of things to help you get up to date.  The legal battle that is going on here is something that may be of interest to landowners who are getting squeezed out of lease payments because they don't hold mineral rights to their property. First, a March story from the Akron Beacon Journal (read the whole article here) : In Ohio’s Harrison County about 40 miles southeast of Canton, the picturesque landscape is that of post cards.   Unpaved roads roll over slopes and through woods of the Appalachian foothills where farmland gives way to hunting clubs and state forests.   Kenneth Buell bought 243 acres here in 1979. A 73-year-old farmer from suburban Columbus, he leases the land to a friend who grows hay for livestock.  

Is it Time for Chesapeake to Hand McClendon His Walking Papers?

From Matt Koppenheffer at The Motley Fool: In May, I wrote that Aubrey McClendon  needed to be shown the door  as  Chesapeake Energy 's ( NYSE:  CHK     ) CEO. Given the  historical precedent  of shareholders inexplicably supporting McClendon and his merry band of board members, I didn't think his departure was possible. Today, I'd be surprised if it  didn't  happen.   A good deal has happened in two months. The most recent revelation -- that Chesapeake may have colluded with competitor  Encana  ( NYSE:  ECA     ) in land auctions -- was covered by Brian Stoffel earlier this week . The accusation is no joke. Brian noted: Colluding with a competitor to hold prices down for land would be in direct violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and carry stiff penalties. Companies could be fined up to $100 million -- and individuals $1 million -- for  each offense . Additionally, victims of the rigging can receive up to triple what they missed out on. That follows a tsuna

Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon Stops By North Canton

From Business Journal Daily: NORTH CANTON, Ohio – Aubrey McClendon, the embattled CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., made an unannounced stop to the Stark campus of Kent State University Wednesday to address about 300 of the company's Utica shale employees.   "He came into North Canton to meet with all of the employees in the Ohio Utica shale region," said Chesapeake spokesman Pete Kenworthy shortly after the meeting concluded just after 1 p.m.  The meeting was closed to the media and public, and security deterred reporters from conducting interviews before and after the private luncheon.   The meeting was simply an opportunity for the CEO to meet with some of his workers in eastern Ohio, Kenworthy said, and that includes those employed in Chesapeake's midstream subsidiaries.   Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake is the largest single leaseholder in the Utica shale, with more than 1.3 million acres under contract with landowners who stretch from Belmont to Trumbull

Ohio Communities Try to Balance Economy and Environment In Face of Shale Development

From Columbus Biz Insider: Eastern Ohio businessman  Mike Sliva  is hoping a balance can be struck between the economic benefits of the state’s shale gas boom and environmental issues raised by critics of the drilling process used to force oil and natural gas out of the ground.   I heard Sliva make that point Wednesday at a shale gas forum sponsored by the Columbus Metropolitan Club. He is branch manager for PNC Bank in Cadiz, a little town in the center of the Utica shale play. He also is president of the Cadiz Community Improvement Corp. in Harrison County, which sits up in the hills about 25 miles west of Steubenville and the Ohio River.   “We need jobs greatly,” Sliva said, “but we’re not going to sacrifice the environment at the same time.”   But he doesn’t want to put the brakes on shale gas development like many environmentalists do.   “Our concerns are we need to do it right,” Sliva said, “but we’re moving forward. We don’t want to slow the industry. We need an open

Fracktivist in Alexander Township Facing Charges Following Protest

From the Athens News: Shortly before noon Tuesday, a "fracking" protester who had secured herself to two concrete barrels at an oil and gas waste-water injection well in Alexander Township was separated from the barrels and hauled away by a sheriff's cruiser.   After an appearance in Athens County Municipal Court Tuesday afternoon, protester Madeline ffitch (correct spelling) was released on her own recognizance. She has been charged with inducing panic, a fifth-degree felony. Ffitch released herself from the barrels around 11:45 after talking to her attorney, Don Wirtshafter, and Athens County Sheriff's Capt. Bryan Cooper. Up until then, law enforcement had been planning to use power tools to remove her from the barrels. The situation attracted a heavy law enforcement presence, with multiple jurisdictions represented on rural Ladd Ridge Road about seven miles southwest of Athens.   Ffitch is a 31-year-old landowners from Dover Township in Athens County. Law e

Links on a Busy Wednesday

I apologize for the lack of updates this week.  We've been very busy getting the July issue of the Carroll County Energy News ready to go to print.  Here are some links to keep you caught up on the news of the day. Ohio is seeing unemployment drop as shale development continues. However, Ohio Senator Lou Gentile wants to keep better record of how many jobs are actually going to local residents rather than out-of-state workers. Ethane prices collapse as supply outpaces demand. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says some states have zero regulations for drilling companies - but that isn't true. Drilling boom reaches Wayne County. Akron Beacon Journal runs down some of the latest oil & gas developments in Ohio. A court battle is being waged by energy companies looking to drill in Allegheny National Forest. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Chesapeake Coming Under Fire Again

From Reuters: Under the direction of CEO Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy Corp. plotted with its top competitor to suppress land prices in one of America's most promising oil and gas plays, a Reuters investigation has found.   In emails between Chesapeake and Encana Corp, Canada's largest natural gas company, the rivals repeatedly discussed how to avoid bidding against each other in a public land auction in Michigan two years ago and in at least nine prospective deals with private land owners here.   In one email, dated June 16, 2010, McClendon told a Chesapeake deputy that it was time "to smoke a peace pipe" with Encana "if we are bidding each other up." The Chesapeake vice president responded that he had contacted Encana "to discuss how they want to handle the entities we are both working to avoid us bidding each other up in the interim." McClendon replied: "Thanks."   That exchange - and at least a dozen other emails revie

Links of the Day: 11 Oil & Gas Stories for Your Perusal

Another article counters Josh Fox's fracking propaganda with facts. Yale study states the consumer surplus from shale gas in 2010 was $100 billion. DEP investigating another case of possible methane migration in PA. Has hydraulic fracturing gotten a bad rap? Fracktivists favorite Cornell professors continue to reveal their anti-fossil fuel agenda, the bias which is the real reason behind their controversial study results. Sticking to their guns despite the mountain of evidence that they are wrong about how natural gas compares to coal , and claiming bias for any study that conflicts despite the obvious bias influencing their own studies. Energy in Depth asks the question that we asked last week: why does the Sierra Club oppose natural gas?   (Clue to the answer:  $$$$$$$$$$$) The Muskingum Oil and Gas Coalition is looking to gain members and momentum. Seismographic testing for oil and gas coming to Medina County. President Obama plans to have more fracking regulati

Four Opportunities for Fracking Education

Four events are coming up that will allow the public to take a look at what different groups have to say about fracking. On Wednesday at 5:30 PM, there will be a special screening of Truthland at the Ohio Valley College of Technology in East Liverpool.  Along with the movie there will also be a discussion with experts, and Shelly DePue, the star of Truthland, will be in attendance.  There is no cost to attend. Also on Wednesday, the Ohio Environmental Council will host an event from 3:00 to 7:00 PM at the Columbiana Public Library which will look at the potential environmental impact of fracking.  It is also free to attend. On Monday another event will take place, this one at the Salem Community Center.  James R. Ladlee, associate director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, will have a presentation on shale development and production lasting from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The cost is $249, and interested parties can register at the center's website . T

EcoWatch Fans the Flames of Fracking Fluid Fear

...from fracking, according to activists EcoWatch has published a couple of articles recently which, in line with the fracktivist methodology, attempt to incite panic in landowners over the possibility of frack fluid ending up coming into contact with their water through as yet unproven and unexplained migration through thousands of feet of impermeable rock, or through spills on the way to fracking sites. From the first article: Though most of the individual chemicals are less than one ton, there are larger amounts of certain ingredients. For instance,  hydrogen chloride  (hydrochloric acid) totals a whopping 41 tons. Other ingredients, such as a ‘carbohydrate polymer’ comprise 33 tons, and a ‘synthetic organic polymer’ makes up 21 tons of the fluid. Other high-amount ingredients include tetramethyl ammonium chloride (13 tons), ‘aliphatic polyol’ (11 tons), potassium hydroxide (5.5 tons) and hydrotreated petroleum distillate (3 tons). Excerpt from FracFocus data sheet sho

Columbiana County Commissioners Re-Negotiate Lease and Double Their Money

Last month we posted a story about Carroll County commissioners failing to accept a $5800/acre lease from Chesapeake and then seeing Chesapeake pull that offer off of the table, leaving only a $3500/acre lease offer from Rex Energy as a consolation prize. Columbiana County commissioners just did the opposite. They originally were set to agree to lease 568 acres for $2,700/acre to DPS Penn, an agent for Chesapeake Energy, in August of last year.  That deal also included 17.5% royalties.  The commissioners never signed that lease agreement, however. Now, they've signed a lease for $5,850/acre and 20% royalties on 548 acres - the highest lease fee paid to any government body to date.  The county will now receive $3.2 million, although $1.5 million will go into an escrow account to help the Buckeye Water District pay a $4.8 million-plus court judgment owed to the city of East Liverpool. From The Review in East Liverpool: So what do commissioners intend to do with the remai

What Would be the Ramifications of Sinopec-Chesapeake Deal?

From Forbes: The rumors that Sinopec is nearing a deal with Chesapeake are even louder than those that preceded Carl Icahn ‘s investment in the beleagured natural gas giant. And we know how that turned out.   To get a sense of what Sinopec might want to buy, it’s worth looking at what Chairman Fu has already acquired in the U.S., both during his tenure at Sinopec as well as his days running Cnooc .So let’s assume that a deal will happen and that it will mean a few more billion towards Chesapeake’s remaining $7 billion funding gap for this year.   Cnooc has done two JVs with Chesapeake. In 2010 it bought a 33% position in Chesapeake’s Eagle Ford shale position for $1.1 billion. Then in 2011 it added a 33% stake in Chesapeake’s Colorado acreage in the Niobrara shale for $1.3 billion.   And since Fu joined Sinopec in mid-2011 he has also cut a big deal with Chesapeake’s cross-town rival  Devon Energy . In January Sinopec agreed to pay Devon $2.5 billion for stakes in five plays:

Chesapeake Pays $1.6 Million for Methane Contamination in PA

From State Impact Pennsylvania: The fam­i­lies, liv­ing along Par­adise Road, all signed leases with Chesa­peake Appalachia to drill beneath their land. But in July, 2010, the res­i­dents began to notice muddy water com­ing from their water wells. Chesa­peake sup­plied a fil­tra­tion sys­tem, which res­i­dents say did not work.   O’Malley says his inves­ti­ga­tors con­cluded that a poor cement job resulted in methane migrat­ing from the Mar­cel­lus Shale for­ma­tion into the water sup­ply of nearby residents.   Scott and Cassie Spencer, Heather and Jared McMicken, and Michael and Jonna Phillips filed suit in the Mid­dle U.S. Dis­trict Court of Penn­syl­va­nia, which was sent to arbi­tra­tion. Three days of tes­ti­mony took place before an arbi­tra­tion panel in Philadel­phia this week, pre­cip­i­tat­ing the two par­ties reach­ing an agree­ment on Thursday. O’Malley says all three fam­i­lies signed leases that forced any dis­pute into arbi­tra­tion, which typ­i­cally leads t

Josh Fox's Latest Propaganda Video Comes Under Fire

Despite anti-gas activist/Rolling Stone writer Jeff Goodell's glowing endorsement of Josh Fox's 18-minute propaganda film directed at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, not everyone is greeting the video with champagne and roses. Energy in Depth and former PA environmental regulator John Hanger have both addressed many of the claims Fox makes in the video, and the consensus between them is that Fox is far too distracted by his anti-gas agenda to actually account for reality in his films, however slickly produced and effectively horrifying they may be. First, from EID: They say that 82.3 percent of statistics are made up on the spot. Watching  the video  released by Gasland star Josh Fox this week – cleverly titled “The Sky is Pink” — one wonders whether that figure might be in need of a slight upward adjustment.   Set aside the distracting, out-of-focus camerawork and characteristically creepy, overwrought narration, and the argument that Josh and his team attempt to

Carroll County Family Files $1 Million Lawsuit Against Chesapeake

From Farm & Dairy: Robert, Carolyn, James L. and Bruce R. Starkey, all of Mechanicstown, filed the lawsuit June 11 against Patriot Energy, Buckeye Oil Products, Bass Energy and Chesapeake Exploration. Allegations   They are accusing Chesapeake of using a lease that is not valid and breach of contract. The Starkeys signed a lease with Patriot Energy Partners in 2008. The lease was then sold to Buckeye Energy, Bass Energy, Wimsatt Family, LLC. and Sonata Investment Company. The lawsuit also lists PEP Leasing LLC, of Lisbon; Andrew W. Blocksom, of Lisbon; Thomas R. Blocksom, of Columbiana; and Robert Dickey, of Lisbon. (They are listed as being part of Patriot Energy Partners and PEP.)   The lease was then sold to Chesapeake Exploration, LLC. for approximately $1,100 per acre and was given the “deep rights.” Four percent royalty   In addition, court documents filed with the Carroll and Columbiana county recorders show that Patriot retains an overriding 4 percent royalty inte

The Rundown - Links to the Ten Oil & Gas Stories of the Day

A small article with a different angle on why drilling on public lands may not be good, even for those who are pro-drilling in general. Kristy Foster of Farm & Dairy looks at the Buell cautionary tale and warns about selling mineral rights too quickly. CNBC examines some of the things fracktivists are doing to fight oil & gas activity. Northeast Ohio Catholic dioceses to conduct programs on oil & gas drilling. columnist writes about why we can eagerly anticipate Gasland 2 "not [letting] the truth get in the way of a good story." A Chinese petroleum company is weighing a bid on Chesapeake assets. An article asks why there are so few fracking accidents on record if it is such a horrifically dangerous technology. Rolling Stone's oil & gas industry hitman Jeff Goodell fawns over Josh Fox and his latest "documentary," a short film aimed at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Athens News continues to have questions about La

Activists Attack Truthland, State That it is Simply an Industry Infomercial

UPDATE:  Shelly DePue has responded to activists' claims regarding the drilling on her property and the problems that arose in connection with it. Click here to listen to her explaining what happened. ORIGINAL STORY FROM 6/14/12: From Strategic Perception LLC's Fred Davis, political attack ad man and producer of Truthland   Truthland , a 35-minute compilation of interviews with fracking proponents, is being promoted by the oil and natural gas industry’s PR arm,  Energy In Depth , as an answer to the 2010 anti-fracking film  Gasland . The advertising campaign for  Truthland  emphasizes that it documents the concerns of “a Susquehanna County mom, dairy farmer and teacher” who is “the real deal,” as opposed to Josh Fox, the writer and director of Gasland  and “a spoiled avant-garde showman from New York City,” in the words of EID’s Northeast Marcellus campaign director,  Tom Shepstone .   While the new film’s protagonist, Shelly DePue, is indeed

Chesapeake Names New Chairman, 4 New Directors

New Chesapeake chairman Archie Dunham Aubrey McClendon has officially been replaced as chairman of Chesapeake Energy. The company has stated that Archie Dunham, former chairman of ConocoPhillips, will take over as chairman from McClendon, who remains the company's CEO. In addition to naming Dunham chairman, four new independent directors are being named.  Bob Alexander, Brad Martin, and Frederic Poses were selected as directors by Southeastern Asset Management, which stands as Chesapeake's largest shareholder (13.9% stake).  Activist investor Carl Icahn (7.6% stake) named Vincent Inrieri as a director. Richard Davidson, Kathleen Eisbrenner, Frank Keating, Don Nickles, and Charles Maxwell are the former directors whose seats are being filled. McClendon remains a board member.  So does Louis Simpson and Merrill "Pete" Miller Junior. Read more about the shake-up at Chesapeake by clicking here . Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @Energ