Cornell Grad Students Publish Well Water Study from Upstate NY

Some real science coming from Cornell University–who knew it was possible? Normally we associate the discredited theories of professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea with the storied Cornell. They claim burning coal is better for the environment than burning natural gas (see Forbes Article Exposes Cornell Prof Howarth and His “Research”). It took a grad student at Cornell to conduct some real, fundamental, in-the-field research that will benefit Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling–IF it ever happens in New York. Doctoral student Lauren McPhillips is the lead author of a research paper recently published in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies. The study is titled “Assessing dissolved methane patterns in central New York groundwater” (full copy below). McPhillips and her fellow researchers recorded the chemicals found in 113 water wells in Chenango County, NY, to serve as a baseline when/if widespread shale drilling comes to the county…
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CONSOL Energy Adds 2 New Board Members

Marcellus/Utica Shale driller CONSOL Energy has just added a couple of new board members to their Board of Directors–the people that the CEO reports to and ultimately the people charged with ensuring the company grows and flourishes. CONSOL’s executive chairman, Brett Harvey, says the two are coming on the board at a “critical time” for CONSOL. The reason they’re being added? Two current board members are geezers, er hitting retirement age, and won’t be nominated to remain on the board at the next annual meeting. Here’s the details on who is joining the board at CONSOL…
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O&G Editor Provides Key Insights into Shale Revolution

The editor-in-chief for Oil and Gas Investor, Leslie Haines, has been closely watching the shale revolution since it began in 2005. In a wide-ranging interview with The Energy Report, Haines talks about energy independence, whether or not we’ll ever stop importing fossil fuels, the Marcellus and Utica, depletion rates for shale wells, what constitutes a “monster well” and a whole lot more. It’s an interesting read…
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Demystifying Ethane + Let’s Go on a Trip to Saturn

SaturnSay it ain’t so. Ethane can be found on Titan–one of Saturn’s moons?! Now how did those nasty, evil frackers already get their claws into Titan? Don’t the Titanians know that faffing about with ethane and methane and all of those “anes” will cause global warming?

We are, tongue-in-cheek, introducing a serious bit of information. In very basic terms ethane–an NGL coming from the ground along with methane–is “cracked” in huge petrochemical plants (“crackers”) to produce ethylene, which is converted into plastic like polyethylene. We’ve been writing a lot about the (now) three cracker plants in various stages of planning for the northeast that will use ethane from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling (see Thailand & Japan Partner to Build 3rd Big Marcellus Ethane Cracker). We spotted what we consider a really good description of ethane and the cracking process that goes a little beyond the mere basics. We found it enlightening and thought you would too:
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Oct 3, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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Sleazy: PA Dem Senators Use Unpublished “Study” to Smear Shale Drilling

Shame on YouA group of PA Democrat Senators are, once again, denigrating the miracle of Marcellus Shale drilling in their state. Only this time it’s even sleazier and lower than usual. This time they’re hinting that results from a so-called “study” not released to the public supposedly show that in two Marcellus Shale counties the average number of hospitalizations among the population has gone up versus a single, cherry-picked county with no Marcellus drilling. What is outrageous is that the senators leaked that tiny little bit of information at a hearing, but have not provided any of the details–nor have they provided the study itself. So our hall of shame goes to state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Bethlehem Township, and state Sen. John Wozniak, D-Johnstown who ran a Dem hearing yesterday to attack shale drilling. Also in the hall of shame is Trevor M. Penning, professor of pharmacology and director of University of Pennsylvania’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology for testifying (colluding) at that hearing providing only partial information. Penning was the Dem senators’ stooge in an attempt to bad mouth shale drilling. Also making a cameo appearance was PA’s anti-drilling Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale…
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Court Adds Another $600K to $3M Fine for Trans Energy in WV Case

A month ago MDN told you about a steep fine Trans Energy, a West Virginia Marcellus driller, agreed to pay for screwing up 15 creeks and swamps with dirt they pushed around for drilling purposes (see Trans Energy Fined $3M for Polluting WV Creeks & Swaps with Dirt). The money will be split 50/50 between the federal EPA and the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection. Trans Energy was in U.S. District Court yesterday to plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges of negligently violating the Clean Water Act. That will tack on another $600,000 in criminal fines to the $3M already agreed too ($200K for each violation). Ouch. The number that really hurts, however, is that Trans Energy will spend more than $13 million to complete the restoration and mitigation work required by the consent decree they signed yesterday…
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Exxon “Shale is Worth the Risks” Report for Shareholders

For years now environmental activists/wackos have been “demanding” that companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron disclose the “risks” involved with shale drilling (see this 2011 MDN article: Exxon Mobil, Chevron Face Shareholder Questions about Environmental Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing at Annual Meetings). A number of left-leaning pressure groups continuously attempt to get big investors to dump their shares in fossil fuel companies, sometimes succeeding (see United Church of Christ Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuel Companies). The pressure has become intense. Earlier this year, the mafia-like New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, who happens to be the sole person in charge of the enormous New York State Common Retirement Fund, brought his considerable pressure to bear. DiNapoli threatened to dump the fund’s $1.02 BILLION worth of Exxon Mobil stock unless the company writes up a report on the potential hazards of unconventional drilling (see Exxon Mobil Shaken Down by NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli). Exxon complied and has just released their report (full copy below)…
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MarkWest Wins Court Case to Build Compressor Station in Cecil, PA

Cecil Township in Washington County, PA is one of the original seven selfish townships that sued and eventually had portions of the state’s Act 13 Marcellus drilling law overturned. The portion overturned restored to local municipalities the right to establish their own zoning regulations when it comes to oil and gas related activities. Apparently Cecil thought they had a blank check to deny anything they wanted, but a recent court decision has brought them back to reality. A Commonwealth Court judge has ruled Cecil must and will allow MarkWest to build a compressor station in an area clearly zoned for it under Cecil’s own rules–a station they’ve been trying to build since 2010…
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CONE Midstream’s IPO Takes in $423M, Market Cap Already $1.71B!

A little over a month ago CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy, two otherwise competitors that often cooperate on drilling programs in the northeast, together formed a new pipeline company called CONE Midstream (see CONSOL & Noble Energy Form New Marcellus Midstream Company). A couple of weeks ago CONSOL & Noble announced they would float an initial public offering (IPO) to sell stock in the new venture, hoping to raise $423 million (see CONSOL/Noble IPO for CONE Midstream Hopes to Raise $423M). Good news: Mission accomplished. Yesterday CONE issued a press release saying the IPO of 20.1 million shares for $22 per share has successfully closed…
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Baker Hughes Begins Full Disclosure of All Frack Fluids

In a welcome move, yesterday Baker Hughes announced they will now disclose all (100%) of the chemicals they use in their fracking fluids. Baker Hughes’ chief competitor in providing fracking services for drillers is Halliburton–so this move will pressure Halliburton to follow suit. Starting yesterday, October 1, Baker Hughes will not only publish a list of every chemical used on a given well to frack it (on the FracFocus.org website), they will also disclose the maximum concentration used for each chemical. It is total transparency into what they are using and where they are using it–removing any remaining claims by anti-drillers that the industry is trying to “hide” something…
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Dominion Accepts FERC 79 Conditions for Cove Point < 24 Hrs

That didn’t take long. On Sept. 29 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Dominion final approval to build an LNG export facility in Cove Point, MD (see Dominion Gets Final Fed Approval to Build Cove Point LNG Plant). Part of the approval includes a list of 79 “conditions” that must be met by Dominion in accepting FERC’s approval. Dominion said, on the 29th, that they would need to review FERC’s final order with the 79 conditions. It only took 24 hours. On Sept. 30 Dominion accepted all 79 conditions. As part of the press release announcing their acceptance, we also learn who will build the facility for Dominion…
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GWPC Report on State Efforts to Protect Ground Water from Drilling

An updated study from the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) shows that the 27 states with active oil and gas drilling, which represents 98% of all oil and gas drilling in this country, are doing a very good job and getting better year after year with protecting ground water supplies. Which is a direct slap in the face of big government and federal regulators who want to do more micromanaging of the states when it comes to oil and gas drilling. The GWPC believes oil and gas regulation happens best at the state level and the study finds, “State regulators place great emphasis on protecting water resources from adverse impacts that can occur during oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P) activities.” Below is the press announcement releasing the new study, along with a copy of the 122-page study, titled “State Oil & Gas Regulations Designed to Protect Water Resources”…
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Magnum Hunter Sells More Non-Northeast Property for $23M

Magnum Hunter Resources, driller of the most-productive Utica Shale well ever (so far anyway), continues to divest in non-Utica/Marcellus plays so it can concentrate on northeast drilling. Yesterday the company deposited another $23 million from the sale of property they weren’t drilling on in North Dakota. That makes for $125 million in revenue from selling “non-core” assets this year, to date…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Oct 2, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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NY Law Back Door Way to Stop Widespread Shale Drilling?

Back door signSome days it’s just plain hard to live in New York State. We have so many stoners in our Assembly and Senate, so-called representatives (like Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo of Endicott) that force their will on the people rather than do the people’s bidding, it feels like New York is an outpost in North Korea or Putin’s Stalinist Russia instead of one of 50 free states in North America. Our latest reason for depression is a quick-get-it-passed-before-anyone-notices bill that all but ensures even if Andrew Cuomo approves shale drilling/fracking today, it will now be unlikely to produce any serious drilling programs. The misnamed and innocent-sounding “Community Risk and Resiliency Act” was signed into law by Cuomo last week. What’s that? Never heard of it? Neither had we. Here’s the gory details…
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