Ohio continues to be red hot with respect to leasing mineral rights for shale gas (and now oil) drilling. Some counties, like Belmont, can’t keep up with the lawyers and researchers who pour over property records at the County Recorder’s office:
Texas-based GreenHunter Energy, Inc. announced they’ve purchased acreage in West Virginia where they will establish a facility to treat and dispose of fracking wastewater. Part of GreenHunter’s plan includes disposing wastewater using an existing injection well with plans for additional injection wells. The press release (in full below) does not mention the exact location for the new facility and injection wells.
The quarterly reports from public companies continue to roll in, which sometimes makes for interesting reading. EXCO Resources, Inc. has just issued their quarterly report and includes the following operational update on their drilling activities in the Marcellus Shale. Of particular note is EXCO’s statement about IP, or “initial production”. IP for oil and gas wells is that initial burst of activity which is not sustainable through the life of the well. Usually a well produces the most right at the start—according to EXCO IP is a 24-hour period during the first few days a well goes online. But as EXCO points out below, their Marcellus wells sometimes don’t hit peak performance until a month or two after they have come online.
On May 31 of this year, NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to force the federal government “to commit to a full environmental review of proposed regulations that would allow natural gas drilling – including the potentially harmful "fracking" technique – in the Delaware River Basin” (see MDN’s initial coverage here). That is, AG Schneiderman is attempting to use the court system to delay, and if possible prevent, Marcellus Shale drilling in New York by forcing the federal government to launch a multi-year review of hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River Basin. He bases his lawsuit on the foundation that the Delaware River Basin Commission, a quasi-governmental body, is about to allow drilling in the areas it oversees, including sensitive New York City watershed areas.
According to the federal government, AG Schneiderman does not have a legal foot to stand on with his lawsuit:
The leading and most visible organization representing the Marcellus drilling industry in Pennsylvania is the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). Backed by a who’s who of companies in the energy industry (including Range Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Shell, ExxonMobil, Hess, Chief O&G and many more), the MSC attempts to counter the ever-present misinformation about drilling in general, and hydraulic fracturing in particular. The MSC’s stated goal is to promote responsible development of the Marcellus Shale and generate jobs while doing it.
Kathryn Klaber is the very visible and dynamic president and executive director. Ms. Klaber is the public face of the MSC. But there’s also been a second visible face of the MSC for the past year. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (and his two consulting firms) was named as a “strategic advisor” to the MSC in July 2010. The contract was for one year. The MSC has just announced the contract with Ridge will not be renewed. Does that mean there’s a problem? Trouble in gasland? MDN does not know. From all appearances it was a contract for a specified period, the contract was fulfilled, objectives achieved, and life moves on. That’s the nature of consulting work.
The U.S. Department of Energy is funding a number of research projects to help find ways to extract more energy from unconventional oil and gas resources while reducing environmental risks. The DOE grants amount to $12.4 million.
The selections include $10.3 million for eight projects that will reduce the environmental risks of shale gas development while accelerating the application of new exploration and production technologies; and $2.1 million for three projects investigating innovative processes for extracting additional oil from mature domestic oil fields including Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).
The total value of the shale-related projects is more than $17.0 million over 3 years with approximately $6.7 million of cost-share provided by the recipients in addition to the $10.3 million in federal funds. The shale gas projects include: