Ohio legislators have been working to craft new shale oil and gas drilling rules that will do more to protect the environment, and at the same time, help protect the fledgling shale drilling industry in the state. New legislation passed in committee yesterday that will now go to the full House includes a provision to help prevent frivolous lawsuits brought by deep-pocketed anti-drilling groups, like the Ohio Environmental Council and the Sierra Club. These groups, who are opposed to expanded use of fossil fuels, use the legal system to tie up shale drillers in court and force them to spend huge sums of money as a tactic to reduce fossil fuel mining and use.
When the Ohio House added a protection against such shenanigans, predictably the anti-drillers objected.
Finally, one thing that Joe Martens has said publicly that MDN fully agrees with. Martens, for those new to the drilling debate in New York, is the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation—the organization that is tasked with regulating oil and gas drilling in the state. Martens is also the former long-time president of the Open Spaces Institute, an organization dedicated to stopping development of land. Strange choice by Andy Cuomo to run the organization tasked with developing the state’s land. But whatever.
Here’s what Martens said at a conference yesterday in New York City:
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has created a very cool animated map showing the transition from conventionally drilled, vertical natural gas wells to unconventional, horizontally fracked natural gas wells (Marcellus wells) from January 2005 to April 2012 (a copy of the video is embedded below). Just as cool—and startling—are a couple of bar charts (also embedded below) showing the dramatic increase in the volume of natural gas production in PA while at the same time the number of gas wells, the number of holes drilled in the ground, has gone down! How can that be?
Fracked horizontal wells drilled in shale formations are far more productive than conventional, vertically drilled wells.
Chesapeake Energy posted its monthly investor PowerPoint slide presentation on its website Tuesday morning. Slide number two in the presentation got a fair amount of attention from the media, who pays attention to these presentations. That slide blames an “unprecedented negative media campaign” for the steep drop in Chesapeake’s stock price over the past month or so. An attack which another bullet point on slide two says has failed.
Funny thing—the original PowerPoint was pulled within a few hours of being posted and a new version uploaded with a different slide two—nothing to do with negative press. However, MDN has the original version (embedded below).
Residents gathered in West Wyoming (Luzerne County), PA to hear about plans from UGI Energy Services, subsidiary of UGI Utilities, to build a natural gas compressor plant in the township. The compressor plant will help bring Marcellus Shale gas through a new 28-mile pipeline UGI is building from Wyoming County to Luzerne County. Getting shale gas to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area will lead to a 40 percent reduction in natural gas bills for customers over the next four years, according to UGI.
But the compressor plant is not without its critics…
Two days ago MDN reported that New York City Comptroller John Liu had written an open letter to Chesapeake Energy shareholders encouraging them to vote down the re-election of two board members (see this MDN story). Chesapeake has now responded, strongly, to Liu’s letter with a letter of their own.
Amazingly, if you were to add up the volume of available shale gas in Europe, it totals an estimated 639 trillion (with a “t”) cubic feet of natural gas, more than four times the estimates for the Marcellus Shale in the U.S. Yet equally amazing European countries are either banning fracking or have instituted moratoria—they don’t want to use their own natural resources. No problem! The U.S will be happy to sell them some of ours.