Yesterday, Chesapeake Energy reported initial horizontal well drilling results in the wet gas and dry gas phases of the Utica Shale play in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania and CEO Aubrey McClendon said the early results are “very strong.”
Chesapeake says they currently have five drilling rigs in the Utica Shale play and will double that to ten by the end of this year. Further, they plan to have 20 rigs running by the end of 2012, and up to 40 drilling rigs running in the Utica Shale by the end of 2014—truly a massive buildup.
You’ve heard of the Marcellus Shale. You’ve also heard of the Utica Shale. Now get ready to hear about another geologic formation that may “rock” the energy world: the Upper Devonian, a group of shale and sandstone layers that sit above the Marcellus and the Utica. Range Resources said on Tuesday there’s a lot of natural gas trapped in the Upper Devonian layers—so much so that in Pennsylvania, the Upper Devonian may contain as much gas as the Marcellus.
In the ongoing saga of the Morgantown, WV ban on hydraulic fracturing, a ban both within and up to one mile outside of city borders (see here for a list of MDN articles on the topic), the leaders of Morgantown missed the deadline to file an appeal to the West Virginia State Supreme Court. So there will be no appeals and the fracking ban is officially overturned and done.
The full version of New York’s new proposed drilling guidelines, known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) has been out in its full and “final” form for about three weeks (see this MDN story). At the time of the final release, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said the actual language of the regulations, the changes to existing oil and gas drilling regulations for New York, would come out “in early October.” The new language has just been released by the DEC, so, after criticizing Joe Martens (Commissioner of the DEC) for many things, MDN grants him an “at-a-boy” for releasing the language earlier than expected. The early release of the new regulation language further diffuses the argument by critics that they don’t have enough time to read and understand what’s coming.
The new regulatory language is important because it carries the weight of law once it’s adopted. Here are links to the sections that are either changed, or where new sections have been added:
Not long ago, MDN wrote about Norse Energy’s layoff of half of its employees since the beginning of 2011 (see MDN story here). One of MDN’s readers (“BinFranklin”) left a comment stating that “Norse Energy is a company on life support.” It seems it was a perceptive comment. He also said Norse has been selling off assets to keep going—again, accurate.
A new press release issued from the company today talks about Norse’s ongoing efforts to convert some of it’s debt into equity (convert bonds into stocks, handing over bits and pieces of ownership) because they will soon not be able to pay bond holders the payments due on the money they’ve borrowed. The press release, reprinted below in its entirety, basically says, “We’re still working on it but we haven’t done a deal yet.”