We have a lot more insight into what Gov. Cuomo is planning thanks to Tom Wilbur, former environmental reporter for Gannett News and the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Tom is a confirmed anti-driller. He won’t tell you that, but we will. We’ve read his writing for years, and it’s evident that he’s opposed to shale gas drilling.
However, he has his sources in Albany, and they’ve come through for him big-time. Tom writes about many of the details Gov. Cuomo and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are revealing to anti-drilling environmental groups ahead of the public release of new drilling rules for New York (called the SGEIS). He chronicles the details on his blog.
Remember all those stories about how “there really isn’t as much shale gas in the Marcellus and elsewhere as ‘industry’ wants you to believe”? Those stories got their start with an artful work of fiction by Ian Urbina in an New York Times article last year (click here to read it). Urbina supposedly quoted someone who called shale gas reserves a Ponzi scheme, a la Bernie Madoff or Enron. One of the arguments used to support that particular fiction was that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) had revised their estimates down for estimated reserves in the Marcellus Shale—down by a lot.
But what’s this? Last week EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski in testimony before Congress said with reference to Marcellus estimated reserves of natural gas, “I think it’s possible we’ll find, as production data begins to come in — Pennsylvania is a state that has significant lags in reporting of production data — we will begin to see those numbers inching up.” In the latest report from the EIA, their estimates for Marcellus Shale reserves in 2010, the latest reporting year, have gone up dramatically—based on production data just now coming in (see the EIA chart below).
The town board for the Town of Caton (Steuben County, NY) decided last night to not cast a vote either way in the fracking debate. They won’t vote on a resolution in favor of drilling, nor will they vote for a ban, according to Town Supervisor Kate Hughes. Instead, they’ll remain neutral on the issue.
How many jobs can Ohio expect from Utica Shale drilling? If it follows the same general path of Pennsylvania—and there’s no reason to expect it would not—for every job created in the oil and gas industry, two jobs are created in other industries to support it. It’s a 1:2 ratio.
Every new well drilled in PA created 30 jobs (in 2009) and $4 million in economic activity in the local economy. That is, shale gas drilling is hugely beneficial for both job creation and economic activity.
Rhino Resource Partners produces metallurgical and steam coal in a variety of basins throughout the United States. It also owns oil and gas acreage in the Utica and Cana Woodford plays. Rhino previously invested in an 80,000 Utica Shale acre joint venture with Gulfport Energy and Wexford Capital. Rhino’s investment gives them a 10.8% interest. Since that initial investment, Gulfport and Wexford have continued to buy up Utica Shale acreage and now have leases for 125,000 acres (including the original 80,000). The partners have extended an offer to Rhino to get a piece of the bigger action, which Rhino is doing.
From Rhino’s press release announcing a new deal with Wexford:
Energy Corporation of America (ECA) and the Trust they use to distribute profit to investors issued their second quarter update yesterday. Among ECA news: They have completed the last of 52 wells as well as completing the expansion of a gathering system expansion project in Greene County, PA. Three of the wells they’ve completed had an initial production of 10 million cubic feet of gas per day (Mmcf/d). All of their projects have been completed well ahead of schedule.
Carrizo Oil & Gas reported their second quarter earnings and operations on Tuesday. Their statement shows the company’s profit nearly quadrupled because of their focus on oil production. They expect oil production to continue rising.
Carrizo is a driller in the Marcellus Shale, but the Marcellus did not play a big part in their quarterly statement. Here’s the couple of mentions it did get:
One of the concerns raised by anti-drillers, in an attempt to scare people, is that shale gas fracking will a) use up too much of our precious fresh water supplies, and b) wastewater from drilling will pollute fresh water supplies. The problem with those allegations is lack of evidence. If water supplies are in danger, then why have we not seen such shortages or contamination after 40,000 or so horizontal natural gas wells have been drilled since the early 2000s?
Every now and again a university will publish the facts on drilling, including it’s impacts on water. In May, Penn State University’s Extension program published such a paper, titled “Water’s Journey Through the Shale Gas Drilling and Production Processes in the Mid-Atlantic Region” (embedded below). It takes a look at how much and where water is used in the drilling process, and also deals with how wastewater is handled.