A preliminary report released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) on Friday concludes that a dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio were “almost certainly” induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater (a full copy of the report is embedded below). The evidence is overwhelming: The earthquakes did not begin until three months after the injection well went online; the quakes were all clustered around the well bore; and a new fault has been discovered in the bedrock where the wastewater was being injected. Taken together, the ODNR is as sure as it can get that the injection well was causing the earthquakes.
Therefore, the ODNR has issued new regulations for injection wells, what state officials are calling among the toughest rules in the nation. From the ODNR press release:
Are we still on track to find out in the next few weeks where Shell plans to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant? According to a Shell spokeswoman, yes. But in parsing the words of Shell’s CEO at a conference last week, even though the site may be announced, a “final decision” about investing in the site may still be “quite a few years away.” Here’s how it played out last week:
Paying $9 billion to build a new water filtration plant for New York City may look like a bargain compared to paying New York landowners the value of their mineral rights from shale gas drilling. That’s the point being made by the Delaware County Board of Supervisors with a recent resolution they passed in a 12-4 vote at their February meeting.
Delaware County Resolution No. 40 (copy embedded below) demands that New York State and New York City pay Delaware County landowners $81.3 billion in reparations over 60 years because the proposed new regulations drafted by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will effectively prohibit 80 percent of land in Delaware County from being drilled due to enormous setback provisions from the New York City watershed.
In March 2009, the Westmoreland (PA) County Board of Supervisors voted to lease Municipal Authority property near the Beaver Run Reservoir for shale gas drilling to Dominion Resources. The original plan was to drill five wells (see this MDN story). Two years later, there are 13 working wells on the property with plans for another 14 wells. More importantly, testing done of the water in the reservoir and streams that flow into it show (gasp), there’s been no affect on the water from Marcellus drilling.
Not every driller is pulling back from drilling natural gas to focus on oil and gas liquids. In fact, for two of the largest energy companies in the U.S., it’s full speed ahead with drilling in the Marcellus. Those two companies? Chevron and Exxon Mobil. Chevron is planning to double its drilling in the Marcellus in the near term.