Even though New York still has not adopted new drilling regulations, and likely won’t until late this year, and even though drilling will not begin until 2012 at the earliest, New York politicians are lining up to dip their hands into driller’s and landowners’ pockets. The latest example is New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli who has proposed a bill to the state legislature to create a driller-funded pool of money (i.e. a new tax on drillers) to cover the cost of any future accidents that may (or may not) happen because of drilling.
The problem, of course, is that any pool of money in Albany—home of politicians with sticky fingers—has a half-life of about 30 minutes before it will be borrowed, moved from one side of the ledger to the other, or otherwise disappear.
Laser Northeast Gathering recently broke ground is quickly working to complete a new 30-mile shale gas pipeline, called the Susquehanna Gathering System, that spans much of Susquehanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania and crosses the southeast corner of Broome County in New York State where the pipeline will connect to the larger Millennium interstate pipeline (see this MDN story).
But Laser is having troubles with drilling underneath Laurel Lake Creek, a waterway considered to have “exceptional value” by the PA Department of Environmental Protection. In the span of just a few weeks, drilling under the creek resulted in three separate incidents of non-toxic drilling mud being spilled into the creek, the latest incident occurring on Monday.
Individual landowners and landowner groups are looking to organize into a large coalition in northeastern Pennsylvania in an effort to promote Marcellus Shale gas drilling in a safe, responsible way and to counter those who want to stop drilling. A small group of landowners met on Tuesday in Wysox (Bradford County), PA to discuss strategy. Tom Shepstone from Energy in Depth Northeast Marcellus Initiative (inaccurately referred to as Tom Shepp in the media article below), addressed the group on the need for large coalition of PA landowners—like the 70,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.
Even though the economy is in the dumper, the price for oil and gas is dropping and unemployment is at record highs, the natural gas industry—shale gas in particular—is adding jobs at a rapid pace. The entire energy sector including oil and gas is on track to add 200,000 jobs in 2011—an astonishing number given economic conditions.
Just how big a deal is shale gas in the U.S. in general, and the Marcellus Shale in particular? According to a mergers and acquisitions report for the energy sector just released by PricewaterhouseCoopers, shale gas is driving most of the energy deals happening right now: