The first of three reports due from the Maryland Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission has just been issued. A copy of the 46-page report—about how to tax and sue the drilling industry—is embedded below. It’s interesting reading.
On June 6, 2011, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed an Executive Order establishing the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative, which includes an Advisory Commission with 13 members to assist the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in a multi-year study of potential Marcellus Shale drilling in the state. “In the state” actually means just two western counties where there is Marcellus Shale: Allegany and Garrett.
A surprisingly balanced article in the New York Times yesterday takes a look at the anti-drilling movement in New York State. The article, written by Peter Applebome, focuses on the “divide” in the anti-drilling movement between those who want strict drilling laws in New York versus those who want to ban drilling outright.
CONSOL Energy is increasing its capital projects budget by 21 percent in 2012, including a ramp-up in their commitment to both the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays. CONSOL says they will spend $395 million to drill 122 new Marcellus Shale wells in 2012 (their portion of a joint venture with Noble Energy), 39 of those wells will be in the liquids-rich portion of the Marcellus. They will invest $50 million in Utica Shale drilling for the year.
Talisman Energy announced yesterday that it plans to spend 11 percent less on capital projects in 2012 than it did in 2011. They also announced they would reduce the number of Marcellus drilling rigs from 11 in use during 2011 down to between five and seven for 2012.The reason? Low natural gas prices. Talisman expects natural gas prices in North America to remain low for the foreseeable future. Although they are decreasing overall spending, Talisman will increase spending, and shifting their focus, to shale gas liquids.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a four-year-old case over how much leeway local municipalities have in regulating drilling within their borders. Does the court’s refusal to hear the case mean local governments will have more, or less, latitude than they do now? Depends on who you ask.
It looks as though the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a data problem: They’ve been undercounting the number of Marcellus Shale gas wells in the state by a significant number. It’s especially a problem for legislators who are trying to calculate how much money new impact fees might generate.