Many townships in the Southern Tier area of New York State want Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation to know they support responsible gas drilling. Tuesday night the town board in Bainbridge (Chenango County) voted to adopt a resolution supporting drilling (if by support you mean let’s wait until the DEC issues its new rules). The towns of Preston and Guilford, also Chenango County, both voted to approve the resolution Wednesday night. The resolution was slated for a vote in both Afton and Oxford townships (again, Chenango County), but MDN does not have details yet on the outcomes there—although it was likely positive.
A copy of the resolution as adopted in May by the Town of Windsor, in Broome County, NY, is embedded below. That same resolution, more or less, is what the other towns are adopting.
If you’re a landowner who leases your land for gas drilling, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is definitely not on your side (and you may want to consider changing insurers). They announced yesterday they will not cover any damage related to natural gas drilling and fracking. Their denial of coverage will also apply to landowners who lease their land for drilling and make a claim that arises from an issue related to drilling.
Frankly, there’s nothing new about homeowner insurance not covering industrial processes—the drillers have their own insurance accidents and damage. But Nationwide’s statement—and the way they are spinning it—shows hostility to the natural gas industry. That’s why you should dump them.
CONSOL Energy, a large coal and natural gas company heavily invested in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, released an operational update today. The big news is that one of the Marcellus Shale wells CONSOL has just completed in Westmoreland County, PA—the Gaut 4A well—produced an astonishing peak rate of 17.9 million cubic feet of natural gas in a single 24-hour period. The highest ever for a CONSOL gas well.
The operational update below outlines CONSOL’s activities in the second quarter of this year for the Marcellus and Utica Shale, and provides forecasts for what they plan in the third quarter, including details of their joint ventures with Noble and Hess.
An article in The Marietta Times (Marietta, Ohio) does an excellent job of describing the process of seismic mapping recently performed in the City of Marietta. Having a map of underground structures—how the rock formations and layers are arranged—is worth millions to drillers. So they hire companies to create maps.
Cables are laid along side roadways and a truck moves along “stopping at regular intervals to lower large vibrating metal disks from each truck onto the road surface.” The cables record seismic vibrations and create a 2-dimensional map of structures under the surface.
The initial 2-D mapping shows what’s happening directly beneath the road. If companies see areas that pique their interest, they then order a 3-D map, a more involved process. But they hardly ever (perhaps never) order 3-D maps for cities because drillers typically don’t want to deal with signing hundreds or thousands of individual landowners over a relatively small area. So the question is, why were seismic trucks doing 2-D mapping inside the city limits of Marietta if no drillers would ever want to drill there?
MDN had to do a double-take. We just read a story in The Economist magazine about the aesthetics of Marcellus Shale drilling. Normally The Economist leans anti-drilling in its coverage of the shale development issue. But this article is complimentary! The article does a good job of describing the drilling and hydraulic fracturing process, and describes how after the drilling is done, there’s hardly anything on the surface that would indicate there was once drilling at that location.
Magnum Hunter Resources says the fallout from severe thunderstorms that roared across the Washington, D.C. area and further inland, straight into Marcellus Shale country, continue to impact their ability to get gas to market. Some 10% of their Marcellus production is still “shut-in” (closed down)—a number this is higher than they expected at this point. And unfortunately, it may be some time before things return to normal.
Fitch Ratings issued a special report on Tuesday titled, “Marcellus Shale Report: Midstream and Pipeline Sector — Challenges/Opportunities.” Fitch is a credit ratings agency so their primary focus is evaluating companies and the risks those companies face that might affect their stock price and credit worthiness. So bear that in mind.
But the analysts who wrote this special report (see below) do a good job of identifying the major midstream (pipeline) companies in the Marcellus, and a good job of outlining the prospects (and risks) to those companies. Starting on page 4 the report chronicles the major Marcellus Shale pipelines underway, and page 12 shows a chart of the top 10 drilling companies in the Marcellus, complete with estimates of how much natural gas they produce in the Marcellus, and how much of the overall Marcellus acreage they lease. A very handy chart indeed.
Midstream and utility company NiSource is in the news for a second time this week. On Monday, NiSource announced a joint venture with Hilcorp to build new Utica Shale gathering pipelines and a processing plant in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania (see this MDN story).
Yesterday NiSource announced a new project to rebuild and upgrade 12,000 miles of its Columbia Gas Transmission interstate pipelines and compressor stations to the tune of $4 billion over the next 15 years. Much of that work will benefit the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, resulting in more shale gas finding its way to market, according to NiSource.
NiSource reps, federal government officials and the Mayor of Columbus held a press conference yesterday to talk about this major new initiative by NiSource. Below is the follow-up press release, rearranged by MDN to show the important information first:
On July 12, former Sec. of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection presented MDN’s first webinar, titled: The Truth About Gas Drilling and America’s Energy Choices. John spoke of his love of alternative energy sources—especially wind and solar—but he also spoke about the overblown criticism of natural gas drilling. He pointed out there are advantages and disadvantages to every form of energy, and if you say “no” to one form, you must say “yes” to another form.
Following the webinar John took a number of questions from the MDN audience. It was a lively and informative session. MDN subscribers can replay it below. A copy of the PowerPoint slides is also available for download below.