NY DEC Commissioner Signals Drilling May Not Begin in 2012

In what is surely a blow to landowners in New York, the Commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Joe Martens, signaled yesterday that drilling permits may not be issued in 2012 as previously hoped. The delay this time comes from the Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel appointed by Martens and stacked with anti-drilling members who supposedly are there to advise Martens on implementing new regulations to allow shale gas drilling (see this MDN story for background on the panel).

It looks like Martens’ strategy of stacking the panel with anti-drillers has paid off and will now delay shale gas drilling beyond 2012. Martens clearly does not want shale gas drilling to proceed in New York. Will this be the final tipping point before landowners take the state to court to demand their property rights stop being violated?

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Syracuse Bans Fracking Inside City Limits

In a purely symbolic gesture, the Syracuse (NY) Common Council yesterday voted to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing inside city limits to drill for natural gas. It’s symbolic because new drilling rules, if ever released in New York, specifically prohibit drilling in the Syracuse watershed area. But politicians like Democrat Kathleen Joy, the driving force for getting the ban adopted, don’t let facts get in the way of political grandstanding.

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Rush Township PA Attempts Drilling Ban with Novel Ordinance

Those opposed to Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Rush Township (Centre County), PA, including a majority of the supervisors in the township, believe they have found a new and novel way to ban drilling that will skirt state law which says only the state has the right to regulate oil and gas drilling. This new way is to introduce an ordinance that prohibits drilling in any location that is a source for public drinking water supplies on the theory that drilling activity near those sources is a threat to the public.

It’s a stretch, but Rush officials are gambling this new ordinance may succeed where an outright ban on drilling would likely be overturned in court. The end result of an outright ban or this new ordinance will be the same: An almost total ban on shale gas drilling in the township, denying landowners their property rights.

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Huge Shale Find in UK, Marcellus x 10?

An interesting tidbit those of us in the U.S. can only salivate over… There is a shale formation in the U.K. that spreads all the way from North Wales (in the south of England) to near the Scottish border in Cumbria (in the north) and well over into Yorkshire as well. That is, it sits under most of the country. But here’s the unique thing about that shale deposit: A couple of exploratory wells drilled by British Gas found the thickness of the shale layer to be 3,000 feet! That is ginormous. By comparison, the Marcellus Shale layer is an average 300 feet thick. The UK shale layer is 10 times that amount. Meaning it holds perhaps 10 times the amount of shale gas as an equivalent section of the Marcellus.

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Range Completes 56 New PA Marcellus Wells in Q311

Range Resources, one of the largest drillers in the Marcellus Shale, reports in its third quarter operations update that the company is on track to produce 400 million cubic feet of shale gas per day from its Marcellus Shale gas wells. During the third quarter, Range drilled 56 new wells in the Marcellus region of PA with a total of 229 producing wells across the state, most of them in the southwest part of the state.

From the Range quarterly operations update:

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