Tioga County, NY Lease Deal with eCORP Falls Apart

champagne bottle and glassIt looks like it’s time to put away the champagne bottle and glasses that New Yorkers had brought out to toast a deal in Tioga County, NY that would use LPG (waterless) fracking and perhaps herald an early end to more than four years of a horizontal drilling moratorium.

In March, MDN reported on a deal announced between eCORP International and the Tioga County (NY) Landowners Group, also known as Southern Tier Energy Partners (STEP), to lease 135,000 acres in Tioga County with an eye to using LPG waterless fracking (see this MDN story). After the initial announcement, eCORP released another press statement outlining the deal that both sides had supposedly worked out, a somewhat complicated arrangement in which the approximately 2,000 landowners would be split into 13 independent operating companies and would become part-owners in those companies (see this MDN story).

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Innovative New Way for Landowners to Attract Lease Offers

ShaleNavigator is a web-based natural gas mapping system MDN has highlighted before (see this MDN story). The ShaleNavigator website allows users to display various “layers” of information on a map, including where wells have been permitted, who the driller is, where pipelines are located, and more. Users can zoom in or out and turn layers on or off. A cool service.

ShaleNavigator has just added an important new layer to their mapping system called the “Available Property” layer (see image below). This new layer shows properties from landowners that are available for lease, with the actual property boundaries. Here’s the neat thing: users can turn on the other layers, like recent permits, pipelines, etc. so those interested in leasing property for drilling, like drilling companies and landmen, can visually see the “context” of the offered property. Now that’s really cool.

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New “Research” Says Fracking will Contaminate Aquifers

A new research paper titled “Potential Contaminant Pathways from Hydraulically Fractured Shale to Aquifers,” bought and paid for by anti-drilling organizations Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Park Foundation, christened “peer-reviewed” and published in an obscure journal called Ground Water, concludes that fracking fluids won’t stay put a mile below solid rock and will instead travel uphill, through that mile of solid rock, and contaminate water aquifers—within a few years.

What scientific method was used to conduct this all-important research that foretells the end of safe drinking water as we know it? Computer models. Yeah, the author of this “important new study” sat and played with computer models, got a few of his buddies to sign off on his “research,” got paid a boatload of money from anti-drilling organizations and published it. And now, shazam, everyone is supposed to run for the hills and end all fracking everywhere. Nice try.

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Chesapeake’s NatGas Production Cuts Never Materialized

In January 2012, Chesapeake Energy announced they would curtail (reduce) their natural gas production by 1/2 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day. In February, they announced they would double it to 1 bcf per day (see this MDN story). Other energy companies also announced they would cut production, all in an attempt to reduce supply and boost the price of natural gas. But commodities traders were wary of those announcements, saying in essence, “We’ve heard this before,” and that real cuts in production were never forthcoming (see this MDN story). Looks like the wary traders were right.

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Brooke County School District Signs Lease with Chesapeake

The Brooke County, WV Board of Education on Monday approved a lease deal with Chesapeake Energy that will allow natural gas drilling beneath school-owned property. The deal allows Chesapeake to drill under any of the school’s collective 189 acres, which is scattered throughout the county at different locations. The signing bonus is $3,500 per acre for each acre drilled, plus 18 percent royalties.

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