OH State Geologist: New Utica Map Coming in September

Mac Swinford, Ohio GEological Survey Assistant ChiefOhio’s official state geologist, Larry Wickstrom, chief of the ODNR’s Division of Geological Survey, was fired in May because he updated and released a map showing new boundaries for the Utica Shale and where the best places to drill would be located (see this MDN story). The update caused some of the previous lines to change, and that upset a few people (especially Larry’s political bosses). Mac Swinford has taken his place as interim state geologist. Swinford says a new version of the map will be released in September. Let’s hope he fares better than Wickstrom in navigating the politics of science.

Swinford has given us a heads-up of what the new map will show:

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Shell Rep Tells Monaca Residents Cracker Plant Looking Good

Last Wednesday night, a Shell general manager spoke to a gathering of people in Monaca, PA about Shell’s plans to build an ethane cracker plant in the community. As MDN has said numerous times, Shell’s deal to build a cracker plant in Monaca is a) not a sure thing, and b) will take years to complete when it does happen.

The Shell general manager, while reiterating those points, gave Monaca residents reason to be optimistic that the project will indeed happen in their community.

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Chesapeake Data Screw-up Means PA Production Figures Wrong

Last Friday MDN reported on the increase in Pennsylvania’s natural gas production in the first half of 2012 as compared with the second half of 2011 (see this MDN story). We noted that Bradford County was displaced by Susquehanna County as producing the most natural gas for 1H12. But there’s a “little” problem.

Chesapeake Energy, due to a “technical issue,” did not report its numbers—and they’re the number one producer in the state. Oops! The lack of Chesapeake data in the numbers has two implications:

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PA Residents Weary of Fight with Rex over Water Contamination

MDN reported six months ago about an ongoing case 30 miles north of Pittsburgh in Connoquenessing Township, PA, in a community called the Woodlands. Some residents claim their well water was contaminated after Rex Energy drilled at least 15 natural gas wells in the area (see this MDN story). Water buffalos were installed for 11 families, but after a year and extensive testing, the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) said that Rex Energy’s drilling was not the cause and Rex-sponsored water deliveries ended.

A new story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette updates the story with this background:

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DTE Moves Forward with Bluestone Gathering Pipeline in NE PA

In July of 2011 DTE Energy announced they would file to build a 37-mile natural gas gathering pipeline through the Town of Sanford (Broome County, NY) as well as the towns of New Milford, Harford, Thompson, Jackson, Lenox and Harmony in Susquehanna County, PA. Dubbed the Bluestone Pipeline, the new gathering pipeline will hook to Marcellus gas wells along its route and connect to both the Millennium and the Tennessee interstate pipelines. (A data sheet issued in July 2011 showing the route of the pipeline is embedded below.)

DTE, under their subsidiary Bluestone Gas Corporation, filed a proposal on August 9 to move forward with building the pipeline. The New York State Public Service Commission is now accepting public comment on the proposed pipeline and its route until August 31. From the Public Service Commission press release:

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Chesapeake’s Construction Investment in Ohio Continues

More jobs and more economic activity are on the way in eastern Ohio courtesy of Chesapeake Energy’s investments to build a new office complex near St. Clairsville (Belmont County) and their investment in a natural gas processing plant (Harrison/Columbiana counties). The new office complex is due to open in November while the processing plant is due to come online in 2013.

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More Details on Commonwealth Pipeline for Marcellus

As previously reported, a new $1 billion pipeline for Marcellus and Utica Shale gas is in the works from Inergy, UGI and Capitol Energy Ventures (see this MDN story). The 200-mile “Commonwealth Line” would run from the MARC 1 Hub Line in Lycoming County, PA due south, connecting to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC.

Here’s a bit more information about the project which is moving forward full speed ahead:

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