Another Cool Idea from Kane, PA – Turn Old Schools into Marcellus Shale Training Centers

Must be something in the water in Kane, Pennsylvania. They just keep having great ideas! Not long ago we learned that the Kane Borough Sewer Authority is going sell (for money!) sewer water to drillers in the Marcellus, which will create a nice, new revenue stream for the township. Now they’re talking about possibly converting empty school buildings into training centers for those who will need job training to work in the Marcellus Shale.

With Kane located in the middle of a key Marcellus Shale gas location, could its vacant schools provide sites for training or other services for the well-drilling bonanza?

This question was explored Thursday by the Ad Hoc Committee that is looking at options for utilizing the vacant Mt. Jewett Elementary School and the soon-to-be vacant Chestnut Street Elementary School in Kane.

Dr. Maryann Anderson, superintendent of the Kane Area School District, said the companies involved in drilling Marcellus Shale gas wells “need to have a ready workforce.”

It was suggested that perhaps the vacant schools in Kane and Mt. Jewett could house training centers for the companies that need workers for various jobs associated with the Marcellus wells.*

The great ideas just keep coming—from Kane!

*The Kane Republican (Mar 26) – Could schools provide services for area drilling boom?

Another Short-Line Railroad Revived by Marcellus Shale Drilling

Chalk up the resurrection of another short-line railroad to drilling in the Marcellus Shale. As MDN previously reported, the Wellsboro & Corning Railroad tripled its cargo traffic in just a few short years from drillers who need carloads of sand. We now have word of a rail line brought back from the dead in Luzerne County, PA due to Marcellus drilling activity:

DURYEA – Investment spurred by Marcellus Shale natural gas exploration has transformed an antiquated, weed-ridden rail yard just north of Pittston into a state-of-the-art transloading terminal teeming with rail and trucking activity on an almost daily basis.

Over the last year, Reading & Northern Railroad Co. sunk $100,000 into Pittston Yard, laying new track to accommodate 100 new rail cars and constructing a facility to store and hold up to 800 cars of sand to be used in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” operations at Marcellus Shale drill sites throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, said Reading & Northern President Warren A. Michel.

“The reason for our success is that we are the largest facility in the region capable of handling hundreds of rail cars of sand. We now have 130 (sand) rail cars at the yard and we’ll be expanding substantially over the next six months,” Michel said.*

*Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (Mar 26) – Old Duryea railroad yard taking on new life

Statoil Takes Over Another 59,000 Acres from Chesapeake, Pays $4,325 Per Acre

Norwegian energy giant Statoil, which has a deal with Chesapeake Energy to develop some of Chesapeake’s acreage in the Marcellus Shale, has just transferred 59,000 acres from Chesapeake’s lease holdings to their own.

From a press statement issued by Statoil on Friday, March 26:

Statoil has signed an agreement with Chesapeake which will add approximately 59,000 net acres to Statoil’s current 600,000 net acre positions in the Marcellus Shale.

The cost to Statoil of the transaction is $253 million, with an average acreage cost of $4,325 per acre.

As part of Statoil’s joint venture agreement with Chesapeake in 2008, Statoil has the right to periodically acquire its share of leasehold that Chesapeake continues to acquire in the Marcellus Shale. Statoil has now exercised such acquisition rights on a series of Chesapeake Marcellus Shale acquisitions.

Statoil has seen very encouraging production performance since the entry into the Marcellus play in late 2008. This new acreage is expected to strengthen the position of Statoil and our cooperation with Chesapeake as the largest lease holders in one of the most prospective US shale gas plays.

This acquisition will enable the partnership to optimize its development activity and secure additional developments in the play. Statoil expects to continue to grow its Marcellus position together with Chesapeake.

Andy Winkle, VP for the Marcellus Asset, says “We were an early mover into the Marcellus and we will continue to build a long term position in what we expect will become a legacy asset and reach our goal of 50,000 boepd production by 2012.”

*Statoil Website (Mar 26) – Statoil strengthens US shale gas position

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin Runs Wall-to-Wall Coverage of Marcellus Drilling Debate

The Sunday, March 28 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin (Broome County, NY) devoted a number of pages to the issue of drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The chief writer for the P&SB on these matters, Tom Wilbur, is anti-drilling, and it shows in his articles. As people on the anti-drilling side of the debate often do, they resort to unsubstantiated “facts” and vague nightmare scenarios. Today’s articles were no exception.

On the front page we have the following articles:

Marcellus Shale: Is it safe to drill?
An abridged (and mostly one-sided) history of the shale gas drilling debate in the Southern Tier region of New York and Northeastern PA. Wilbur identifies some of the issues being debated, with the obligatory mention of Dimock, PA and the the isolated (only?) case of a driller who didn’t follow procedure and methane (not chemicals, but natural gas) migrated into drinking water supplies for 12 families. Dimock is the rallying cry for many who oppose drilling. He ends the article with the vague threat that anti-drillers will tie up the right to drill with legal harassment for as long as they possibly can. I believe him on that one.

Landowners face fight over NYC watershed
Politicians in New York City are making political hay out of the prospect of drilling with statements that drilling anywhere in the Catskill watershed area must be prevented at all costs because if the water supply for NYC is contaminated, they would have to install filters costing into the billions. The politicians from NYC want horizontal drilling banned in New York State as a preventative measure. And they’re threatening to tie up drilling with lawsuits. No one wants to pollute the City’s water supply! And no one will. What’s conveniently left out of the story by Wilbur is the fact that there is only one company, Chesapeake Energy, with any leases signed in the watershed, and that’s for 5,000 acres. Oh, and Chesapeake voluntarily said they would not drill in the watershed.

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