GASFRAC Waterless Fracking Technology Debuts in Utica Shale

Utica debutAn unnamed driller in Ohio has asked Canadian company GASFRAC to use its waterless fracking technology to drill two trial wells in the Utica Shale. You may recall that a group of Tioga County, NY landowners with a collective 135,000 Marcellus Shale acres were set to use GASFRAC’s LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) technology to jump start drilling in New York, but the lease and royalty deal with the driller, eCORP, fell through (no fault of GASFRAC, see this MDN story).

Will GASFRAC’s innovative technology do the trick in Ohio’s Utica Shale? There’s some disagreement on that point.

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Carrizo Gets Utica Permit for Trumbull County, OH

Carrizo Oil & Gas has just received a permit for drilling in the Utica Shale in Trumbull County, Ohio. But the company says it’s not going to start its exploratory drilling for the foreseeable future, at least in Trumbull because Trumbull has more restrictive road repair demands, so instead Carrizo will drill its first Utica exploratory well in neighboring Mercer County, PA where the demands on road repair are not as restrictive.

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FT Names Potential Chesapeake Energy Buyers

Chesapeake Energy stockholders have seen the stock slide 44 percent in the past six months. Chesapeake’s largest outside investor, Southeastern Asset Management, recently encouraged the board to sell the company (see this MDN story). But who would buy?

A wide-ranging article in yesterday’s Financial Times about Chesapeake tosses out the names of a few companies that would be the likely buyers if Chesapeake were sold.

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Ohio Driller Eyes Abandoned Railroad for Innovative Use

One of the more interesting stories (to MDN anyway) over the past several years has been that of how short line railroads are seeing a comeback because of shale gas drilling. Perhaps it’s the romanticism of a bygone era that appeals. Some of the uses for old short line railroad beds have been innovative—things like “dual use” corridors where rail trails and pipelines have been run together.

But there’s a very new and interesting twist on this story MDN has just noticed. In at least one Ohio location, an energy company wants to lease an abandoned rail line, but not for pipelines and not to run trains on it…

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Ernst & Young’s Analysis of Ohio Proposed Severance Tax

Yesterday MDN wrote a story about a newly released study by Ernest & Young that purports to show that Ohio’s oil and gas taxes are the lowest in the country, and would remain the lowest even if Gov. John Kasich’s plan to boost those taxes were to be adopted (see this MDN story). MDN stated that we could not find a copy of that study to review the data. Thanks to two intrepid MDN readers, we now have a copy (embedded below).

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Bradford County, PA Gets New Shale Wastewater Treatment Plant

Eureka Resources announced yesterday it will build a brand new “world-class” shale wastewater treatment facility in Bradford County, PA (near Towanda, PA). The first phase of the construction will be complete by the end of this year, and the second phase by the end of next year. According to Eureka, the facility will reduce the need to dispose of concentrated brine, or salty wastewater, that normally is disposed of via injection wells. When completed, the facility will operate 24/7 and employ 16 full-time employees.

From the Eureka press release:

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PA Utility Announces Second NatGas Rate Cut This Year

On March 1, a little over two months ago, UGI Penn Natural Gas, a utility which serves approximately 158,000 customers in 13 counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, announced it was immediately reducing natural gas rates for its customers by 4.5 percent (see this MDN story). UGI announced yesterday it would file its annual rate on June 1 and it will request yet another 4.5 percent rate reduction on its annual rate which would take effect December 1. That’s a total of 9 percent in one year—thanks to the abundance of PA’s Marcellus Shale gas.

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