In early November, Chesapeake Energy announced a major cash infusion into their Utica Shale exploration and production would come from a new joint venture with a mystery/unnamed “international major energy company” to the tune of $2.14 billion (see this MDN story). The amount turned out to be even higher: $2.32 billion, and we now know who the mystery company is: Total E&P USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Total S.A.
MDN welcomes a new sponsor, ShaleNavigator. MDN editor Jim Willis recently interviewed Ed Camp, creator of ShaleNavigator, about his new online service. Watch and listen to the interview below as Ed walks us through his service with examples of how to use it, and why to use it. ShaleNavigator is perfect for landowners, drilling companies, law firms, businesses and others who need to know how and where shale gas drilling is happening.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is once again stirring up trouble in Dimock, PA by “reopening” a review of Dimock Township water supplies after recent tests from a private testing service hired by Cabot Oil & Gas turned up “gaps” in the data that the EPA wants to explore. This is less than a month after the EPA sent a letter to residents, on Dec. 2, telling them the same test results showed well water in the area “does not present an immediate health threat to users” (see this MDN story for a copy of the letter).
In the ongoing struggle to start gas drilling in New York State, those who oppose it, including State Senator James Seward of Oneonta (a RINO), are trying a new tactic. That new tactic is to take the fight local, in town by town, by using “home rule” laws. But they have a hurdle to jump first: New York State law currently does not permit local municipalities to regulate oil and gas drilling.
John Armbruster, a seismologist from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY is one of the researchers investigating a string of 11 earthquakes near Youngstown, OH, the most recent of which occurred on New Year’s Eve in the afternoon. Armbruster says a local injection well, which injects wastewater from shale gas drilling under high pressure deep into the ground, is “almost certainly” the cause of the earthquakes.
As MDN pointed out yesterday, injection wells are not fracked gas wells (see this MDN story). But some politicians keep trying to tie the two together. A spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Rob Nichols, does a great job in pointing out the difference:
Norwegian gas driller Norse Energy has sold off some of its leased acreage in Central New York State, along with a slice of future royalties in acreage for which it retains control. The complicated deal to an unnamed buyer for $26.7 million is to sell all interests in 22,700 acres, and various rates of royalty interests on other leases that Norse retains (see the press release below).
Norse will retain control of 160,000 leased acres in New York, of which 110,000 acres are located in the Marcellus and Utica Shale play areas, in the hope that New York will soon release final drilling rules that will allow it to tap into shale gas in the state.
Kanawha County, WV wants to become a leading location to convert vehicles to run on natural gas, and County Commission President Kent Carper plans to use $50,000 of county money to make it happen.
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: