The Obama Justice Department didn’t waste any time going after Chesapeake Energy after Reuters reported in late June that Chesapeake may have colluded with a competitor, Encana, to keep land lease prices low in Michigan. Just four days after the story broke, the Justice Department served Chesapeake with a subpoena for documents.
Chesapeake acknowledged yesterday they are the target of an ongoing government investigation, an investigation that involves a grand jury and the prospect of indictments.
It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s also not a vote to ban fracking. The town board for Oxford (Chenango County, NY), decided at a meeting Wednesday night to not vote one way or the other on drilling, but instead to wait for the Dept. of Environmental Conservation to issue its new drilling guidelines. Oxford sits squarely in both the Utica and Marcellus Shale zones of New York State.
An MDN reader alerted us about a month ago to a new non-fracking technology being marketed by Chimera Energy Corp. We watched the video on their website and were immediately turned off by its “fracking is bad, we have a better way of doing it” message. We’re fully in favor of new technology and better ways of doing things! We also have no problem with upsetting the status quo. However, in looking for a marketing edge, MDN believes Chimera is making a mistake by throwing stones at the miracle of hydraulic fracturing. What they apparently don’t realize is that if water-based fracking were banned today everywhere, rabid anti-drillers would find new flimflam excuses to object to their technology too—because they hate fossil fuels period. Need proof? See this MDN story about GASFRAC’s LPG non-water-based fracking technology.
It seems Chimera is getting some traction with their new, non-fracking technology. They’ve just announced an agreement with Mexico’s state-owned energy company Petróleos Mexicanos, or “Pemex.” Pemex is the biggest company of any kind in all of Latin America—really huge. Pemex has decided to give Chimera’s non-fracking technology a try south of the border.
Back in June, MDN wrote about a new “rule clarification” by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation that disallows truckers from subtracting down time as they wait for trucks to be loaded/unloaded when it comes to hauling water and sand for fracking oil and gas wells (see this MDN story).
The rule clarification has been controversial (and costly). More than 60 Congressmen sent a letter to Transportation Sec. LaHood last week requesting the rule clarification be reversed because it targets a particular industry: shale drilling. Some say the DOT is giving the EPA and DOE an assist since those federal agencies are having a hard slowing down natural gas development in favor of so-called alternative energy development. The rule change helps put the brakes on (pun intended).
Michael Butler, co-founder of Cascadia Capital and former managing director at Lehman Brothers responsible for global equity sales, today published his five predictions for the sustainable energy industry for the balance of 2012. His predictions #4 and #5 deal with natural gas. MDN found them interesting:
EV Energy Partners (EVEP) reported their 2Q12 financial results yesterday. EVEP is a master limited partnership controlled by oil & gas company EnerVest. They look for lower risk, long-term oil and gas properties, with investments in a number of oil and gas plays across the U.S., including the Utica and Marcellus. It seems they’re doing a good job. Their 2Q12 profits were up 20% from a year ago—to $66.1 million. Production for the second quarter of 2012 was up 47%—10.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas, 282,000 barrels of oil and 403,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, or 14.8 billion cubic feet equivalent.
The only direct quote in the press release from the CEO was in reference to their activities in the Utica Shale:
Sunoco Logistics began an “open season” yesterday for their Mariner East pipeline project to deliver natural gas liquids—propane and ethane—from liquids-rich Marcellus Shale areas in western Pennsylvania to refineries and shipping terminals in southeastern Pennsylvania. An open season is the time when drillers can sign up and make long-term commitments to use the pipeline.