Are the political winds shifting in New York State among the politicians that have been staunch supporters of gas drilling? There’s perhaps no stronger supporter among elected politicians in Albany than Tom Libous, a powerful state senator from Binghamton. Sen. Libous is the deputy majority leader of the NYS Senate and a member of the DEC’s Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel (see this MDN story).
So when MDN spotted this quote by Sen. Libous in the New York Times in a story about how the review and approval process for fracking in the state is slowing down, it gives us great pause:
Coshocton County in eastern Ohio requested Utica Shale lease offers for 436 acres of county-owned land no longer being used for any other purpose. There was only one offer put on the table, by Anadarko. Under the five-year lease offer, the county would receive a $1.3 million signing bonus ($3,000 per acre) and 17.5 percent in royalties.
One of the arguments often raised to support shale gas (and shale oil) drilling is that it will help America become energy independent. In a wide-ranging article on the topic, Bloomberg says that promise is being fulfilled—because of hydraulic fracturing. The article starts this way:
Early this year, Williams officially spun off it’s exploration and production operation into a new company called WPX Energy (see this MDN story). The new company inherited one of the top 10 drilling operations in the Marcellus and Utica Shales.
Yesterday, WPX announced their capital spending plans for 2012 and it’s no surprise, given similar announcements from other major drillers, that WPX is scaling back drilling in the Marcellus from seven rigs to three due to the low commodity price for natural gas. WPX is shifting capital resources to the Bakken Shale where they are drilling for oil and to those geographies rich with natural gas liquids (NGLs).
The mostly anti-drilling organization Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) issued an interesting statement yesterday, commenting on new Marcellus drilling legislation that will likely be passed and signed into law this week in PA. Here is the entire press release: