Less than 24 hours after President Obama called for full disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the drilling industry held its first public meeting to roll out FracFocus.org, an online database that does just what the President requested. The meeting, held in Williamsport, PA, brought together drilling companies, environmental engineers and other experts, along with the public, to answer questions and address people’s concerns.
In 2008, a homeowner located near gas wells drilled in Westmoreland County, PA by Atlas Energy says his well water turned muddy immediately after drilling was done. At the time, Atlas told him to stop drinking the water and supplied him with a water buffalo, making fresh water deliveries ever since. That is, until two weeks ago when Atlas says that after re-testing the water is now safe to drink, so they ended the water deliveries. The homeowner disagrees and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is siding with the homeowner in this case.
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he openly supports drilling for natural gas and the “safe” use of hydraulic fracturing, has given a glimmer of hope to landowners in New York State that perhaps the President’s support for fracking will finally end the moratorium on drilling in New York.
West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio wait on pins and needles for Shell to announce which state they have chosen as a site to build a new $1.5-$2.0 billion ethane cracker plant, each of them looking for an edge to ensure their state is selected. WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is flying to Houston this week to meet with representatives of Shell to make a personal pitch that West Virginia should be that place, with a promise of no property taxes on the plant for 25 years if they do so. Thing is, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has already been to Houston to pitch his state—two months ago. Does that give Ohio an edge?
Norse Energy, with leased acreage in both the Marcellus and Utica Shales in New York State, has been fighting to keep the company afloat until New York finally allows hydraulic fracturing and they can take advantage of their leaseholds. But to keep holding on, they’ve sold off bits and pieces of their leaseholds, as well as bits and pieces of the company. A few weeks ago they converted $3.5 million of bonds (or debt) into stock (or ownership) of the company (see this MDN story).
Yesterday, we learned they’ve sold off another $12.5 million of the company in another bonds for stock swap deal. And now they’re making the same offer to all of their bondholders: Let’s make a deal—soon.
Enterprise Products Partners have scored another customer, Range Resources, for their ethane pipeline that will connect the Marcellus and Utica Shales to the Gulf Coast. The 1,230 mile pipeline, dubbed the ATEX Express (Appalachia to Texas) will transport ethane from Washington County, PA to (at first) Cape Girardeau, MO—that’s new pipeline construction. And from Cape Girardeau, Enterprise will reverse an existing 16-inch diameter pipeline and place it into ethane service, going all the way to Mont Belvieu, TX.
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: