Showing posts from May, 2013

5/31/13 Links: PA State Rep's Apology Not Accepted, Transparency Lacking in Water Testing, and Much More

StateImpact PA:   Gas Industry Supporters Don't Accept Rep. Jesse White's Apology for Online Bullying Akron Beacon Journal:   Ohio eco-groups to ask court to block water sales by MWCD StateImpact PA:   Gas Industry Building Database of Water Test Results, But Won't Make it Public Huffington Post:   Liability Bombshell:  Must-Read Letters From PA and WI Fracking Victims to Illinois Lawmakers StateImpact PA:   DEP's Fracking Record-Keeping Blocks Transparency No Fracking Way blog:   Natural Gas Waste Hauler Raided Also: Raided NG Waste Hauler Blames Former Employees Also: Minuteman Environmental Services - Tip of the Drill Bit? Washington Times:   Illinois Edges Closer to Endorsing Gas Fracking  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

MWCD May Cut Costs for Property Owners As It Receives Oil & Gas Royalties

From WKSU News: The  Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District  is considering a plan to reduce the assessments it began levying on nearly 500,000 parcels of land in 18 counties last decade.   How much the assessments are lowered will depend on how much the district collects in oil and gas royalties from Utica shale drilling. The Conservancy Court will review the plan at a session Saturday at the Tuscarawas County Courthouse, but the district is cautioning that no reductions will likely occur before 2015.   Since 2011, the conservancy district has approved three leases in the Utica Shale region. It cleared $77 million in signing bonus payments, and has just received its first royalty payment of $750,000. The district collects about $11 million in assessments on land owners. Themoney goes toward operation of dams and reservoirs. Read the whole article here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Carroll County Back on Top in Latest Permit Report

After Harrison County had been the hot spot for permitting over the past couple of weeks, Carroll County was once again the leader last week. In the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' latest report on weekly permitting activity in the Utica shale, 10 new permits are listed.  4 are for Carroll County, while Columbiana and Noble counties each had 3 permits issued. This brings the total Ohio permit count to 686, with 335 wells drilled and 100 producing. View the latest report here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

MarkWest Utica EMG Expands Utica Shale Midstream Infrastructure

DENVER--( BUSINESS WIRE )--MarkWest Utica EMG, L.L.C. (MarkWest Utica EMG), a joint venture between MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) (MarkWest) and The Energy and Minerals Group (EMG), is announcing an additional expansion of its large-scale midstream system to support the rapidly growing drilling programs of Antero Resources (Antero), Gulfport Energy Corporation (NYSE: GPOR) (Gulfport) and other producers in the southern core of the Utica Shale. MarkWest Utica EMG will now construct a third 200 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) cryogenic gas processing facility at its Seneca processing complex in Noble County, Ohio. “We are very excited to be developing premier midstream solutions in the southern core of the Utica shale for successful and proven operators such as Antero and Gulfport” The Seneca complex continues to expand and will include three processing plants totaling 600 MMcf/d. The first two plants are scheduled to begin operations during the fourth quarter of

Science Panel Takes Close Look at Shale Gas Drilling

From Pipeline: A National Academy of Sciences committee will review a host of risks and public concerns associated with shale gas drilling operations nationwide -- what's known and much that isn't -- during a two-day workshop starting next Thursday and Friday in Washington, D.C. Presentations at the gathering will focus on air and water pollution -- and the health, economic, social and climate change impacts of shale gas development -- but will stop short of making recommendations about how best to manage and mitigate them. "This review will be successful if the current state of knowledge about shale gas drilling is clarified and the uncertainties identified so we have better understanding and insights to help manage the risks," said Mitchell Small, the NAS committee chair and Carnegie Mellon University professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He will moderate a discussion this morning on a survey of concerns about lesser-studied

Division of Geologic Survey Not Getting Worked Up Over Utica Shale Production Report

From The Marion Star: In response to a request to speak with the state geologist regarding what new knowledge could be gleaned from the production data, the natural resources department provided this comment:   “The production data is one piece of information that the Division of Geological Survey uses to better understand the Utica play in Ohio but it is not enough to warrant an update of our previously released maps. Generally speaking, the production data corresponds to information in the released maps and ODNR geologists will continue to gather all pertinent information relating to the shale play in Ohio.” Read the whole article here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

How Much Can Youngstown Benefit From Leasing Mineral Rights For Public Lands?

From WEKU News: The 'Frackmolishing' Plan Last fall, the city council agreed to seek bids for mineral rights on city-owned parcels, which collectively add up to several hundred acres. As early as this summer, Youngstown officials plan to consider lease proposals for $5,000 to $7,500 an acre, plus signing bonuses. DeMaine Kitchen, chief of staff for Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone, is a proponent of this plan, which some refer to as "frackmolishing." Kitchen, who is running for mayor to succeed the out-going Sammarone, says old buildings must be cleared away to make room for growth. "It's more than just tearing down everything," Kitchen said. "It's what you can build up." He wants to replace decayed buildings with vibrant neighborhoods and businesses. "If we had the money, I would like to create these, like promise neighborhoods, where you give special incentives to people to move into these neighborhoods," he said.

EPA Accused of Showing Partiality to Green Groups

From Watchdog: That’s why the  Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity ,  the parent organization of, filed a  Freedom of Information Act  request with the Environmental Protection Agency   in January.  Specifically, we asked the agency to provide us with copies of correspondence it had with green groups going back to August 2012. This would include email, snail mail and other written reports. We picked August as the cutoff so our request would correspond with the election season when energy policy was a hot topic of discussion. What we asked for We narrowed our request to include correspondence that would impact the   Marcellus Shale,   which cuts across   Pennsylvania,   New York ,   Ohio,   Maryland, Virginia   and   West Virginia . In our FOIA, we asked the agency to provide us with “any discussion and correspondence with outside groups that concerns potential regulatory action that would impact the fracking process.” We also limited the FOIA to th

Gulfport Energy Doing Well Finding Utica Sweet Spot

From the Motley Fool: Utica sweet spot   While the Utica is loaded with potential, it has not developed into the  top-tier oil play  that Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy had hoped. That's caused Devon to decide to exit its position in the play while Chesapeake is looking to reduce its position. Gulfport, on the other hand, has found the best spot in the play and is increasing its acreage. That's no surprise when you consider that its first 14 wells averaged an initial rate of 3,055 barrels of oil equivalent per day. While those wells were certainly more gassy than expected, Gulfport sees the Utica as a catalyst to substantially increase its production and reserves. Read more of this article, which is focused on why this analyst feels that Gulfport is a good investment, by clicking here.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Study Says Methane in PA Groundwater is "Best Correlated" to Things Other Than Shale Drilling

The findings of a new study in the journal Groundwater®​ suggest that methane concentrations in Susquehanna County water wells in Pennsylvania can be explained without the migration of Marcellus shale gas due to hydraulic fracturing. “Testing of 1,701 water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania shows that methane is ubiquitous in groundwater, with higher concentrations observed in valleys vs. upland areas and in association with calcium/sodium/bicarbonate, and sodium chloride-rich waters,” the article states. The article goes on to say that “on a regional scale, methane concentrations are best correlated to topographic and hydrogeologic features, rather than shale-gas extraction.” The study authors are from the Houston, Texas-based GSI Environmental Inc. and Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The study’s assessment of isotopic and molecular analyses of hydrocarbon gases in Dimrock Township suggests that gases present in local water wells are most consistent with

PA Legislator Jesse White Found to Have Posted Anti-Gas Messages on Internet Under False Names

State Rep. Jesse White In what has to be one of the weirder stories from the annals of drilling opposition, Pennsylvania State Rep. Jesse White, who has become something of a small-scale celebrity for his outspoken opposition to drillers (although he has claimed in the past to not be anti-drilling), has been exposed as the real person behind a collection of false names that have been posting anti-drilling messages on the Internet.  The posts often included insults and name-calling directed at commenters who supported drilling, many of whom are White's constituents. The story from CBS Pittsburgh: First, State Rep. Jesse White allegedly posted Gibbs’ real identity. Then, someone posting under the name “Prouder American” called her an “industry troll.” Another posting under the name “Harold,” called her an “undereducated yonder,” “dumber than a box of rocks,” “an embarrassment to her community.” Gibbs has long suspected all the comments were actually posted by White h

Many Landowners in PA Opting to Sell Royalty Rights

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The investment firms moving into the region are offering to buy those left-behind mineral rights. Landowners get money for that vacation home today, and the investment firm gets access to the royalty payments that may -- or may not -- come later.  If there's one word associated with the practice, it's risk -- risk for the company that might acquire useless mineral rights, and risk for the landowner who could miss out on lucrative royalty payments in the future.  The investment firms represent investors as varied as pension funds and Ivy League universities and bring a level of speculation typically found on Wall Street to the farmlands of Western Pennsylvania. Read more about this here. No doubt this is something that many in our area have considered doing, or even done, themselves.  What do you think of the idea of flipping your mineral rights for immediate payment?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Connect wi

Chesapeake Expecting Its Utica Shale Production to Increase by 500% By End of Year

From The Salem News: "We are currently operating 14 rigs in the play and we will continue to develop that with the benefit of a drilling carry from Total (French oil company) that will last at least through the end of 2014. The Utica Shale, we're very excited about, it's still very early in the play. Our production today is currently about 65 million cubic feet a day on a net basis. We expect to ramp that up to about 330 million by the end of the year as additional processing capacity comes on line. I believe the Natrium facility is coming on line right about now and mid- to late summer we should have incremental processing capacity at Momentum's plant at Kensington in Columbiana County. And that should also lead to strong growth." Chesapeake said it will focus on drilling and completion activities on its existing leases for 2013, he said adding the company remains zeroed in on its 10 key plays. Read the entire article here.  Connect with us on Facebook a

Shift to Natural Gas Won't Reduce Greenhouse Gases Enough, Study Says

METHANE LEAKS IN NATURAL GAS SYSTEM WOULD ERODE CLIMATE BENEFITS Touted 50 percent benefit over coal could take this century or longer to achieve Princeton, N.J. - The ongoing shift from coal to gas in electric power generation in the U.S. is unlikely to provide the 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions typically attributed to it over the next three to four decades, according to a new report by the science and journalism organization Climate Central. The organization’s analysis of published studies finds projections that ignore methane leaks in the natural gas system are overly optimistic about the global warming impact of increasing gas use in place of coal. Climate Central has also created an interactive tool to help understand the relationship between methane leakage and the global warming benefit of shifting from coal to gas in power generation. (To embed our interactive tool on your site, use this iframe code. ) Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent t

Tracers to Help in Determining Source of Water Contamination Continue to Be Developed

From Shale Reporter: Researchers in the Rice University chemistry professor's laboratory have developed nanoparticles that will flow with the fluid used to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells, slip through rocks and travel wherever the water ends up — in a holding pond at the surface, a tanker on the highway or, in a worst-case scenario, a nearby drinking water well. The particles, which can bear unique magnetic signatures tailored to each fracking company that uses them, have the potential to clarify the troubled debate over whether and how oil and gas extraction damages water supplies. "Whether you are Matt Damon or the president of Halliburton, for different reasons you should be interested in this," Barron said in a lounge off his laboratory on the Houston, Texas campus early this year. "If you're worried about the environment, then for once you might be able to find out if they've really done it and who did it. If you're Halliburton, mayb

PA College Goes Against its "Image" By Considering Oil and Gas Lease

From Shale Reporter: Now, the school touted in the Princeton Review’s guide to green colleges as a leader of environmental friendliness, is talking about leasing land for “fracking,” the horizontal drilling technique used to get gas from shale. Even more surprising is that the most likely place is in the Bousson Environmental Research Reserve, 283 acres of university-owned land. It is part of the Bousson Forest, which sits atop the Utica Shale. There is no offer on the table yet, but gas leasing companies expressed interest late last year, and the school is trying to head off controversy. It may become a model for handling the issue on campuses across the state. Allegheny College has tried to avoid some of the tension around the subject on campus by creating a group of faculty members, students and alumni to help the school navigate a discussion of drilling. But many students PublicSource talked with aren’t buying the arguments for fracking. Annie Krol, 23, said she chose

Interior Department Being Pressured to Slow Down Fracking Rules

From The Hill: The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday urged Interior to extend the public comment period on revised draft rules to regulate the process called hydraulic fracturing. The industry group, which opposes the rules floated on May 16, wants the public comment period quadrupled to 120 days. Interior is already  under pressure  from the bipartisan leadership of the House Natural Resources Committee to extend the comment period. The whole article can be read by clicking here.   Whether they are for drilling or against it, no one seems to be crazy about the proposed rules for fracking on federal land. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Rural Action Shares Success Reducing Acid Mine Drainage

CARROLLTON, OHIO: Carroll Concerned Citizens will host Rural Action Coordinator Marissa Geib-Lautzenheiser at its June 6 meeting. She will share the organization’s collaborative success in the restoring local Huff Run watershed health from the affects of pre-regulation coal mining operations. Rural Action’s mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachia Ohio, and Rural Action believes every individual can make a difference in their community. It’s members, staff, and volunteers actively work on community-based, grassroots planning and development; environmental preservation and education; sustainable agriculture and forestry, and waste stream reorganization. According to Coordinator Geib-Lautzenheiser, “There have been nineteen reclamation projects completed in the Huff Run Watershed, and one project is currently being designed for the Mud Run Watershed. These projects treat acid mine drainage (AMD) discharges before they reach the stream

Resistance in Ohio, Fracking's Dumping Ground

By  Mike Ludwig ,  Truthout This is the third installment of Truthout's Fracking Road Trip  series . The Ohio River valley is lush in the spring. The eastern Ohio River, one of America's most economically vital waterways, winds through the rolling green foothills of Appalachia as it ambles past small towns and cities in Ohio and West Virginia. The valley has been heavily industrialized for decades. Coal-burning power plants, chemical processing facilities and mills dot the riverside. In 2012, the Ohio River was ranked the nation's most polluted waterway, according to  government data compiled by Environment America. Elisa Young is determined to keep the river from getting worse. Trucks load up with fracking waste at the GreenHunter Energy transfer station in New Matamoras, Ohio. (Photo: Mike Ludwig) Young, an activist living in southeast Ohio, sits in a car outside a fracking wastewater transfer station nestled in the center of a residential neighborhood on