Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon on Monday appeared on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show on CNBC to talk about the company’s new, oil-rich discovery in the Utica Shale of eastern Ohio. He had some fascinating things to say, including that he expects there to be some 25,000 wells drilled in the Ohio Utica Shale, and that there will be $10 billion per year for at least 20 years (or $200 billion) of investments in the Ohio Utica Shale alone. Yikes! No wonder Gov. John Kasich is “gushing” about Chesapeake’s discovery. An investment of 1/5 of a trillion dollars is a major big deal for Ohio—not only for landowners but also for businesses and for those who will be employed by drilling and associated industries. You cannot overstate how important this discovery is.
McClendon also says in the segment he believes the Utica Shale will be even bigger (production-wise, economic-wise) than the Eagle Ford Shale, with an estimated 25 billion barrels of oil equivalent in the form of oil, natural gas liquids and natural gas in eastern Ohio. McLendon says the Utica is possibly “one of our biggest discoveries in U.S. history.”
Once again New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens has delayed the start of Marcellus gas drilling—this time by at least an additional 30 days, maybe longer. The “nearly” final draft drilling regulations, called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), were released on July 8 (originally supposed to be released July 1 as ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo). At that time, Mr. Martens said there would be a 60-day public comment period that would begin in August. Then the DEC would review those comments, tweak the regulations, and issue the final regulations sometime late this year.
The 60-day public comment period will now not begin until “late summer,” which in DEC-speak means September. Why?
MDN has previously commented on the obvious vendetta by the New York Times against the natural gas industry, most particularly in articles written by Ian Urbina (see one example here). The Times has a public editor that, from time to time, will criticize the paper’s coverage. Recently, the public editor published a couple of articles refuting the Times’ reporting on the natural gas industry. In particular, the public editor revealed that one of the key anonymous government sources quoted by Urbina, one credited with a number of damaging remarks, was in fact just an intern and not a senior official.
Below is a press statement issued by Energy in Depth, an organization founded and funded by the energy industry. With their usual flair, they do an excellent job of uncovering the truth behind the Urbina articles. EID connects the dots between the intern, Urbina and the anti-drilling organizations who have been feeding them the propaganda we’ve been reading in the Times. MDN is reprinting the entire EID article, with full credit to the fine folks at EID. Please read it!
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has effectively taken his state out of consideration for Marcellus Shale drilling. How? He’s appointed a commission to study that which has already been studied to death, to have meetings, to issue preliminary reports, have more meetings, and issue a final report in August 2014, years after drilling will already be firmly established in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and (perhaps) New York. A relatively small area of Maryland sits atop the Marcellus—two rural counties in the panhandle of Maryland: Allegany and Garrett counties. Both counties have high unemployment and would greatly benefit from Marcellus gas drilling, but the landowners and the people who could be employed by the drilling industry in those communities will not benefit from drilling for many years to come because of Gov. O’Malley’s delays.
So it’s of note, but of little consequence, that the kick-off meeting for Gov. O’Malley’s recently appointed Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission will happen this Thursday at 9:30 am at the Lakeside Visitors Center at Rocky Gap State Park. The meeting is open to the public. Below is a recent press release announcing the people appointed to O’Malley’s Commission.