This is technically not a story about the Marcellus or the Utica Shale. But it’s just as critical. North Dakota has just officially become the number two producer of oil in the United States, displacing Alaska for that spot. Texas still leads with the most oil production.
How on earth as ND become number two? It’s simple: shale and the miracle of hydraulic fracturing. What’s even more startling is that as recently as 1999 ND had zero drilling rigs and oil drilling in the state was dead. Just 13 years later, it’s number two in the nation. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
A peer-reviewed 52-page study released yesterday by the new natural gas institute at SUNY University at Buffalo (UB) finds that environmental problems caused by Marcellus Shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania were isolated, mostly minor and on the decline (a copy of the full study is embedded below).
The study analyzes the data from more than 3,533 Marcellus wells drilled since 2008 in PA by over 100 drilling rigs. The study makes the following conclusions, including assigning a percentage probability for how likely it is for a major environmental event to occur:
Antero Resources released its first quarter financials and operating results earlier this week. Antero reports their net production of natural gas was up 83 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2011 because of new wells in the Marcellus Shale and the Piceance Basin (Colorado). They also report that the Marcellus Shale is where they will keep their focus with seven drilling rigs and some 233,000 leased acres as compared to two rigs for the Piceance (63,000 acres) and no rigs in the other shale plays where they operate.
Siena College Research Institute runs regular polls of New Yorkers to gage their opinion on a variety of topics. One of the long-running topics they poll on is whether or not New York should allow hydraulic fracturing to move forward. The latest Siena poll was just released today. The full breakout is embedded below. Here’s how Siena interpreted the results in their press announcement:
The anti-drilling American Rivers, an organization with a lofty Americana name but with a hard left environmentalist agenda, issues their “top 10” most endangered rivers list each year about this time. It’s an amusing exercise because the list rarely contains any of the same rivers on it from year to year. This year’s list is no different—and of course one of the targets of the list is shale gas drilling.
Chesapeake Energy’s credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s to BB-, which is defined as, “Less vulnerable in the near-term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.” The downgrade caused the stock to tumble to its lowest point since March 2009.
Twenty inspectors with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have filed grievances alleging that the DEP is creating a two-tiered (and unfair) system for pay, job qualifications and job requirements in the DEP’s push to hire new inspectors for Marcellus Shale drilling. The inspectors are members of the West Virginia Public Workers Union. The union is lobbying to correct the situation.