Last December, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) started investigating methane in three water wells in Franklin Township (Susquehanna County), PA. Since there are several gas wells being drilled by WPX Energy a few thousand feet away, wells that were cited for improper casing, the DEP asked WPX to install methane venting systems for the families of the three wells in question while the DEP investigates (see this MDN story). WPX is also investigating, and their results conclusively show the methane in the water wells isn’t coming from WPX’s gas wells.
One of the arguments used against natural gas drilling is that it can drive down property values of nearby homes. While MDN has not seen studies to prove or disprove that argument, we did spot this story about a homeowner in western PA who has been refused refinancing of their mortgage by three different national lenders because there’s active natural gas drilling across the street from their home:
Not that it matters beyond PR value, but Vermont will become the first state to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, either later this week or next:
The former National Refractories complex just outside Columbiana, OH is getting a shale gas makeover. Owner Jerry Stoneburner says the 300,000 square foot facility that sits on 100 acres will become both a shale gas wastewater treatment center and a transfer point to load railroad cars with crude oil and condensate being produced in the Marcellus and Utica Shale.
In yet another sign that Utica Shale drilling for oil and gas is rapidly expanding in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has hired and is training 70 new field inspectors to help with the well permitting and reviews.
Crosstex Energy, L.P., a midstream natural gas company headquartered in Dallas, TX that operates approximately 3,300 miles of pipeline, ten processing plants and four fractionators, wants a piece of the Utica Shale action and announced they are buying out privately-held Clearfield Energy to get it.
From the Crosstex press release:
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Observer-Reporter of Washington, PA have sued to open sealed court documents in a case involving a Pennsylvania couple who previously were outspoken critics of the natural gas drilling industry and who made claims that drilling had contaminated their water supply. Last week, anti-drillers joined their cause and filed a brief in state Superior Court.
Dominion Resources, the third-largest public utility in the U.S., held its annual shareholder’s meeting in Pittsburgh on Tuesday where president & CEO Thomas Farrell announced plans to expand natural gas pipeline and processing projects in every state where there is Marcellus and Utica Shale.
Ten company-endorsed candidates were voted on and approved for the board of directors. But six shareholder proposals, largely anti-drilling in sentiment, were voted down:
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: