Early today, Norse Energy, a Norwegian company with gas drilling operations in New York State, issued an interesting press release about laying off half of their employees (see the full release below). Norse holds some 180,000 net acres of natural gas leases in New York, of which 130,000 are in the Marcellus and Utica Shale zones.
Until recently, Norse was using conventional vertical methods of drilling for natural gas in Upstate New York counties like Chenango and Madison. But Norse announced in early August that they are “betting the farm” that New York will adopt new regulations to allow shale gas drilling, and so they have focused the company on that prize. So much so they have filed the very first permits to drill in the Utica Shale in New York and have ceased all other kinds of gas drilling until it happens (see this MDN story).
Arguing that existing federal and state regulations are sufficient, a diverse group of organizations sent a letter to President Obama yesterday asking him to not impose new regulations on hydraulic fracturing and instead to support it. The 119 organizations signing the letter included bankers, bowlers, grocers, the energy industry and many others. The full text of the letter and the groups signing is embedded below.
A conservation official in Pike County, PA is “fed up” with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company and their project to expand their 300 Line pipeline by adding seven looping segments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey totaling 127 miles of 30-inch pipeline. Pike County Conservation District Executive Director Susan Beecher is asking the state DEP to assess a fine sooner rather than later, to send a message and encourage Tennessee to tighten up its operations.
Aqua America Inc. and Penn Virginia Resource Partners (PVR) announced they have formed a joint venture, Aqua – PVR Water Services, to construct and operate a private pipeline system to supply fresh water to natural gas producers drilling in the Marcellus Shale in north-central Pennsylvania. The 12-inch diameter steel pipeline will largely parallel the trunkline of PVR’s gathering system in Lycoming County and will share PVR’s existing rights-of-way.
Dave McCurdy is president and CEO of the American Gas Association. He’s also a former congressman (Democrat) from Oklahoma. In an interview with the Washington Times, he minces no words and says what MDN has been saying all along: Those opposed to shale gas drilling are motivated by an ideology, a preference for renewable energy. McCurdy points out what they really fear is that renewables can’t compete with natural gas based on economics. So that ideology and fear leads them to oppose natural gas.
Yet more evidence of the importance, and the interconnectedness, of the shale gas industry and the plastics industry in the U.S. comes from none other than the American Chemistry Council. The ACC says that shale gas,
…will yield so much ethylene — the basic building block of plastics — that the United States will become the world’s lowest-cost source of feedstock in the world outside of the Persian Gulf.(1)