Will Exxon’s Lack of Marcellus Drilling Lead to Expired Leases?

slipping awayAn energy industry consultant and investment analyst writes an interesting article on Seeking Alpha about Exxon Mobil’s commitment to dry shale shale (“methane only”). Richard Zeits characterizes Exxon’s shift away from dry to wet gas (oil and natural gas liquids) as “radical,” citing Exxon’s onshore rig count decline from 71 to 50 rigs (a 30% drop) since the beginning of this year as evidence of the change. He estimates they use less than 10 of the remaining 50 rigs for drilling in dry gas areas.

Zeits says that Exxon may not be able to hold a sizable amount of leased acreage they hold in dry gas areas of the Marcellus and Fayetteville Shale basins because of the reduced rig count. That is, they won’t be able to drill on the leased acreage by the time the leases expire—especially in the Marcellus where they’re only operating four rigs on 660,000 acres of holdings.

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NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Supports Fracking

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the “father” of hydraulic fracturing, George Mitchell, jointly published an opinion piece in yesterday’s Washington Post that supports fracking. Or rather offers qualified support, provided fracking is done they way they want it done.

Bloomberg and Mitchell offer four reasons why fracking is good, and then say their individual foundations will work together to “encourage better state regulation of fracking around five key principles.” Here are those five principles:

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New DOE Study Says Natural Gas Best Choice for Now

A report authored by the Dept. of Energy (DOE) and published at the end of June (but only now is being pushed by the DOE as a “new report”) takes a close look at natural gas and its role in the larger U.S. energy picture. The report, titled Role of Alternative Energy Sources: Natural Gas Power Technology Assessment (full 165-page copy embedded below), uses seven criteria to evaluate the role of natural gas and concludes that it’s the best current choice for powering electrical generating plants in the U.S.

But what about greenhouse gases—the so-called “fact” that methane leakage from shale gas drilling is contributing “dangerous” amounts of GHG to the atmosphere (as say Cornell profs Robert Howarth and Tony Ingraffea)? The report says fugitive methane escaping into the atmosphere is more than offset by reduced emissions from power plants burning clean natural gas as opposed to alternatives like coal and oil.

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Protesters Bring Their Kids to “Toxic” Fracking Site

Even though it didn’t happen in the Marcellus or Utica Shale area, this one is just too delicious not to share. The location was outside of Boulder, Colorado, but this story could just as easily have been in the Marcellus/Utica. The same kind of anti-drilling nutters inhabit the Eastern seaboard area too.

Some 30 protesters showed up last Saturday at a horizontal drilling/fracking site in Boulder County, CO where Encana is drilling five wells. Although the protesters claim that drilling and fracking create a toxic hell on earth, at least 10 of the “protesters” were their own children, one of them a one-year old. Brought along to a dangerous drilling site with “millions of gallons of industrial waste.” Must be it wasn’t so dangerous after all:

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Pittsburgh Businesses Rapidly Expand from Marcellus Shale

It’s a story that just keeps repeating: How the Marcellus Shale has led to businesses expanding, adding employees (i.e. jobs), providing more tax revenue to communities and ultimately an improvement in the standard of living for the entire community.

Here’s yet another story from the thousands of similar stories that abound in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. This one is a trucking company in southwestern Pennsylvania:

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