An update on Chesapeake Energy’s Ohio drilling program: They just received approval for two more Utica Shale horizontal wells at sites in eastern Stark County, brining their total to 10 permits for Stark.
Chesapeake has drilled four of the 10 permitted wells in Stark, although none are yet in production.
BP, which signed a leases with some 2,000 landowners representing 85,000 acres in Trumbull County (worth $331 million) just a few months ago, will start drilling early in 2013. But in the meantime, they want to sign up even more acreage in Ohio:
Select Energy Services provides water solutions and wellsite services in every major shale play in the U.S. With $1 billion in revenues and some 5,000 employees, Select Energy is a major player in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale. They also just jilted Carroll County, Ohio.
As MDN previously reported, the Town of Horseheads (NY) continues to flirt with the idea of enacting a fracking ban (see this MDN story). What makes Horseheads different from the other 90 or so towns that have enacted bans in New York different is that it’s located in prime Marcellus and Utica Shale development territory—in Chemung County, just across the border from the super-hot drilling area of Bradford County, PA. If Horseheads does ban fracking, it would be the second such municipality in the Marcellus “zone” to do so, after the City of Binghamton in nearby Broome County.
Town Supervisor Michael Edwards floated the idea of a fracking ban at a recent Town Board meeting—and he’s still pursuing it:
Cornell professors Robert Howarth and Tony Ingraffea have made a cottage industry (and have become minor celebrities) of bashing shale gas drilling. The two of them collaborated on a now discredited article in a so-called “peer reviewed” journal that claimed, fantastically, that burning coal is actually better for the environment than burning natural gas (see this MDN story). Yeah, if they didn’t have “Cornell” next to their names, Howarth and Ingraffea would be laughed out of the room.
Such are the mental gymnastics those who hate all fossil fuels will perform in order to do anything to slow down shale gas drilling. They pedal junk science and try to dress it up. You know the old saw about putting lipstick on a pig…
Recognizing the federal government’s voracious appetite to usurp and seize control of rights that Constitutionally belong to the states—and in an effort to curb those tendencies in the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, and Department of Energy—Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) introduced new legislation on March 28th that will ensure oversight of hydraulic fracturing is done by the states and not the federal government.
Citizens for Safe Energy of Madison County (NY) and The Madison County Natural Gas Development Working Group held a joint public information session on Wednesday evening to reveal findings of the Working Group’s research. One of the loud and clear messages of the evening was this advice for landowners who are contemplating leasing their land for drilling: get a lawyer first.
Working Group Chairman and Town of Nelson Supervisor Roger Bradstreet explained the geology of Madison County. The Marcellus is too shallow—too near the surface in Madison to be commercially viable—at least in most of the county. However, the Utica Shale is a viable layer to drill in the county. He also had this to say about current drilling and leasing activity in the county:
The venerable U.S. credit rating service Moody’s Investor Service said yesterday that Chesapeake will need to sell a minimum of $7 billion in assets this year in order to avoid a credit rating downgrade by their service—and even $7 billion may not be enough.
Moody’s current credit rating for Chesapeake is Ba2, which is considered “speculative grade” (not investment grade) and “judged to have speculative elements and a significant credit risk.” The lower a company’s credit rating goes, the harder (and more expensive) it is to borrow money.