MDN Weekly Update: 2011 in Review, Looking Ahead to 2012

Happy New Year 2012Thank you Marcellus Drilling News readers for making MDN your source for news and information about drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shales in 2011. And welcome to 2012! Last year was quite a ride for MDN, going from occasional posts of new stories prior to January, to daily postings Monday through Friday starting in January. MDN’s audience grew from a few thousand people per month to nearly 30,000 unique people visiting and reading stories on the site each month by the end of the year.

A few statistics to share with you from the MDN website for 2011:

  • 198,720 unique/individual people visited the site in 2011;
  • Those 198,720 people visited the site 354,174 times during the year;
  • When they visited, they viewed a cumulative 823,596 pages;
  • And if you averaged the amount of time they stayed, it was 2 minutes 49 seconds each time they visited.
  • In March, MDN created and offered (for free) a report on drilling permits by geography—it was downloaded 3,134 times.
  • MDN links to source stories we cover (on other websites)—you collectively clicked to view those stories and visit those other websites 57,610 times.
  • MDN’s daily email alert list started the year with a few hundred email addresses on it, and ended the year with 1,956 emails on it—you’re hardcore to read this stuff every day! (And I love you for it!!)

2011 In Review

Because it’s an interesting exercise—and because it’s about the easiest editorial “get” in the book—this week’s weekly update will showcase the top 10 most popular MDN stories from 2011, determined by the number of people who clicked to read the story. I’m also including the list of top 10 commented stories for 2011, determined by the number of comments—so you can see which stories generated the most discussion (and controversy).

There were a number of big stories this past year: New York State’s ongoing moratorium which has now dragged on for 3 1/2 years; Pennsylvania’s impending new drilling rules; West Virginia’s recently enacted new drilling rules; West Virginia’s all-out play for an ethane cracker plant; Morgantown’s fracking ban outside of its borders, which was struck down by a judge (and the subsequent safe fracking that took place). But perhaps the biggest story of 2011, in MDN’s humble opinion (and from analyzing the reading trends on the MDN site), was Chesapeake’s huge discovery of both oil and natural gas in eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale. The Utica Shale is quickly becoming as popular as the Marcellus, at least around the edges of the Marcellus play where the Utica is located and where it’s rich with “wet gas” and oil, in addition to methane. It seems MDN readers could not get enough stories about what’s happening in Ohio.

What’s Ahead for 2012

MDN is now accepting advertising, so you can expect to see more ads appearing on the site. Those ads will be relatively few in number, and all of them will be relevant for MDN readers. We strive to present you with not only the best in editorial, but also the best in advertising as well.

MDN editor Jim Willis will soon make announcements about exciting new developments for MDN—new features and new products coming in 2012.

In the year ahead, I hope to continue earning your trust and continue making MDN worthy of your most precious investment—your time. Your comments and suggestions for how to do that are always welcome. Just email me at: [email protected].

The calendar of events for the next two weeks (sparse as it is) is also included below.

To Your Continued Success in 2012,
Jim Willis, Editor

2011 Top 10 Most Popular MDN Stories (most read at top of list)

  1. List of 78 Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid in Pennsylvania (6/30/10)
  2. Major Discovery – Chesapeake Energy Strikes Oil (and Gas) in Ohio’s Utica Shale (7/29/11)
  3. Chesapeake, 14 Other Energy Companies Have Drilling Permits for Utica Shale in Ohio (4/18/11)
  4. Marcellus Shale Companies in Pennsylvania Looking to Fill Jobs and Contract with Local Businesses (4/29/10)
  5. Belmont County, OH Landowners Sign Utica Shale Leases (9/19/11)
  6. Chesapeake Energy Paying $2,500 per Acre to Lease Utica Shale (4/11/11)
  7. New Interactive Map Shows Marcellus Gas Wells in PA (3/29/11)
  8. Marcellus Shale Drilling Heats Up in Ohio – “Few Thousand Wells” to be Drilled in Next Several Years (3/30/11)
  9. Landowners in Belmont & Monroe Counties (OH) Receive $60 Million in Lease Payments from Wishgard; Tri Star Inks 127 New Leases (8/3/11)
  10. Number of Permits Issued & Wells Drilled in Select PA Counties, including the County with the Most Wells (2/21/11)

2011 Top 10 Most Commented MDN Stories

  1. Civil Disobedience Training Camp at Keuka Lake, NY to Train Young People in How to Oppose Marcellus Drilling – 44 comments
  2. MDN Weekly Update – Apr 3, 2011 – 28 comments
  3. Is the Anti-Drilling Crowd Losing Steam? Low Numbers Turn Out for Josh Fox Rally in Harrisburg – 26 comments
  4. Wilkes Marcellus Shale Drilling Forum Brings to Light Just How Many Active Gas Wells There are in PA – 20 comments
  5. Final NY DEC Hearing in NYC – Surreal – 16 comments
  6. Some Landowners in Tioga, PA Area Receive Six-Figure Royalty Checks – Each Month – 15 comments
  7. Thorny Issue: Dominion Files Request to Export Shale Gas – 15 comments
  8. Broome County, NY Landowners Sue Energy Companies that Try to Extend Expired Leases with “Force Majeure” Clause – 14 comments
  9. WV Has New Marcellus Drilling Law in Record Time – 14 comments
  10. NY Times Keeps Up the Vendetta Against Drilling in the Marcellus Shale with Another Article in the Series – 13 comments

MDN Calendar (Jan 1st – Jan 15th)

New York



  • Anonymous

    The new year brings other big challenges besides getting the moratorium on drilling lifted.At the top of the list is creating demand for all that natural gas ; particularly important in our area [ N.Y.S. ] because most of the drilling would not produces wet gas with the petroleum liquids that are so valuable in the world market.
     To increase demand will take more than market price advantages of natural gas over petroleum. What is needed are some short term incentives from Congress to encourage rapid conversion of the nations’ truck fleets to LNG or CNG  and to help built the refueling stations. This could be paid for by a 3 to 5 year tax on natural gas production at the well head;  in the range of 10 cents per thousand cubic feet. At least four effects will follow. Natural gas prices would rise , diesel fuel prices would weaken,effective  threats to drive up petroleum prices by cutting off our national supply of imported oil would  diminish , and our negative trade balance would improve.
     There is a bi-partisan bill before Congress right now to provide just those incentives but  it is being blocked by self serving industries that buy natural gas.
     Landowners that hope to benefit from natural gas production in all states need to contact their Congressmen and demand action on this legislation.

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