Pro-drilling Editorial from Corning Leader

Corning Leader (Oct 7):
Gas drilling an important opportunity

Well, what do you know? A positive editorial from a news outlet (for a change). This one from the Corning Leader says in part:

[S]ometime next spring or summer we’ll see the beginning of what could be a drilling bonanza in the Southern Tier. Hundreds of wells have already been tapped in Pennsylvania and the same level of activity could happen here.

Potentially, that could generate billions in new revenue for a sustained period of time. Gas companies, support companies, engineering firms and so on are expected to follow others that have already located in the Southern Tier to tap into the northern tip of the Marcellus Shale. Those companies will create jobs, pay taxes and have a beneficial ripple effect through other sectors that could revive one of the poorest areas of the country.

Thank you for talking about the positive side of drilling!

More Work Ahead in New York Before Drilling Begins

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (Oct 7):
Much more work ahead

An editorial in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, no doubt written in part by Tom Wilbur, anti-drilling shill for the eco-nut groups. It acknowledges what MDN has already noted: The New York DEC is interested in pushing forward with responsible drilling in New York, eco-nut groups are not. The battle is only beginning. Landowners need to write and call and make their voices heard on the proposed drilling regulations.

Wheeling, WV Drilling Vote Delayed

Intelligencer Wheeling News Register (Oct 7):
Drill Vote Delayed

Wheeling, WV city council members have delayed a vote to allow Chesapeake Appalachia (a subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy) to begin drilling on city-owned land. From the article:

Though the Wheeling Park Commission has approved the lease allowing the company to drill on its property at Wheeling and Oglebay parks, city officials want to gain more information about the potential environmental impact of Chesapeake’s work before allowing the company to drill on city property.

Council members want to visit some of Chesapeake’s other drilling sites first to see first-hand what they look like. No complaints here. Council members should satisfy themselves that it will be safe and beneficial to the local community (which it will be), and then move forward.

Residents: Keep drilling discharge out of the Susquehanna

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (Oct 7):
Residents: Keep drilling discharge out

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a public hearing on Tuesday in Tunkhannock, PA on the question of whether to grant a permit to discharge treated water that comes from drilling into the Susquehanna River. Local members of the community turned out to (mostly) oppose it. The article says landowners and drilling companies were not present at the meeting. The view the media and eco-nut groups want to create in people’s minds is that water used in hydrofracturing is hopelessly contaminated and can never be reused again. From the article:

But the economic development comes at an environmental cost that some residents are unwilling to accept, such as contamination to water that’s forced underground to crack the shale and release the gas.

The process is called hydraulic fracturing, and the fluid used, while mostly water, contains hazardous chemicals and lots of salt.

North Branch Processing LLC hopes to build a plant near Skyhaven Airport to clean the “frac” water and discharge it into the river. The hearing, called by the state Department of Environmental Protection, was on a permit for that discharge.

Residents said the water should be reused for “fracing” rather than put into the river.

No argument here that the water can and should be reused for more hydrofracturing. However, at some point, some of this water will need to be treated and put back into the environment. If it’s unsafe to do so, then hydrofracturing is fundamentally an unsafe practice that should be disallowed. MDN believes hydrofactured water can be treated so that it’s safe. Let’s get some more science and facts injected into the debate and less speculation and scare tactics.

Range Announces Management Additions and Bank Borrowing Base Reaffirmation

Press Release from Range Resources (Oct 7):
Range Announces Management Additions and Bank Borrowing Base Reaffirmation

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Range Resources Corporation announced today that it has hired Joseph H. Frantz, Jr. as Vice President of Engineering and K. Scott Roy as Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for the Marcellus Shale Division located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Frantz brings more than 26 years of petroleum engineering experience with Texaco, S.A. Holditch & Associates and Schlumberger. Recently, Mr. Frantz led Schlumberger’s shale evaluation team for various emerging shale formations, including the Barnett, Fayetteville and Marcellus. Mr. Frantz has extensive experience working in the Appalachian Basin, and he has performed studies on topics ranging from reservoir simulations to hydraulic fracture optimization. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering from Penn State University.

Mr. Roy previously served as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has spent more than 17 years in public service in various positions, including key roles in both the Rendell and Ridge administrations and acting as the Governor’s liaison to various regulatory and environmental agencies. Mr. Roy earned his bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and his juris doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University.

Range also announced that at its regularly scheduled review, the Range bank group unanimously reaffirmed the Company’s $1.5 billion borrowing base effective September 30, 2009. Range elected to retain the existing $1.25 billion commitment amount, which provides in excess of $800 million in available liquidity. There were no changes to the interest rate, repayment terms or number of banks in the credit facility.

Range’s Chairman and CEO, John H. Pinkerton, commented, “We are extremely pleased to announce these two new management additions to our Marcellus Shale team. Both Joe and Scott are Pennsylvania natives, who will report to Ray Walker in our Pittsburgh Marcellus Shale Division. Joe Frantz will head up our technical evaluation, not only of the Marcellus, but also for the other Appalachian shale formations. His extensive technical background in shale reservoir evaluations and optimized completion techniques is a key addition to our technical team. As the pioneer of the Marcellus Shale play, we fully understand the importance of forging a strong partnership among public, regulatory and industry interests to ensure that the development of the Marcellus Shale is accomplished in a responsible way. The addition of Scott Roy reflects Range’s commitment to being a good steward of Pennsylvania’s resources. Lastly, the unanimous affirmation of our borrowing base by our bank group reflects our low-cost structure, high-margin asset base and strong financial position. We are well positioned to continue to execute our plan of low-cost, consistent per share growth.”

Top Rendell aide quits to join gas driller

Philadelphia Inquirer (Oct 7):
Top Rendell aide quits to join gas driller

An interesting bit of news: A top aide to Gov. Ed Rendell is stepping down to take a job in the drilling industry:

K. Scott Roy is stepping down as the $146,000-a-year executive deputy chief of staff to Rendell to become vice president for government relations and regulatory affairs for Range Resources Corp., a Texas-based company with a major drilling stake in Pennsylvania.

And another bit of interesting news found in this article is that Gov. Rendell wants to forego an extraction tax–for now (although the Democrats in the legislature are still trying to get a tax passed for this year):

[Rendell’s call for an extraction tax] changed Aug. 31. In a move that took even some of his top aides by surprise, Rendell said at a news briefing that he was giving up his push for the tax this year.

He said he changed his mind after meeting with industry executives who convinced him that imposing the tax now would stunt the growth of drilling in the state.

“We felt we should let the industry get off to a good start, and that surpasses our need for money,” Rendell said Aug. 31. He said he favored starting such a tax next year.

The article is mostly quoting eco-nut groups moaning about a potential conflict of interest by Mr. Roy’s “sellout” to the drilling industry.