Athens County, OH to See First Utica Shale Well Soon

Drilling interest is heating up in Athens County, Ohio. The first of three planned Utica Shale gas wells will be drilled in the next few months. In addition, hundreds of landowners have recently signed leases to allow drilling. Are good things on the way for Athens County landowners? Perhaps!

On the location and timing of the first well to be drilled:

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Norway’s Statoil Shopping for More Shale Acreage in U.S.

Reuters is reporting that Norwegian energy giant Statoil is on the hunt for more shale acreage in the U.S. Does that mean Statoil is looking to pick up more acreage in the Marcellus or Utica Shale area?

“Way back” in 2008, Statoil purchased a 32.5% interest in Chesapeake Energy’s Marcellus Shale acreage, buying them 600,000 net acres at the time (according to the MDN’s Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook, Vol. 1). But just a few months ago, MDN reported that Statoil was moving away from “dry gas” areas and to “wet gas” and “oily” areas, like the North Dakota’s Bakken Shale (see this MDN story).

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Canadian Questerre Energy Says Fracking Causes Tiny Earthquakes

It seems that every month or two someone resurrects a very dead issue: fracking causes earthquakes. MDN has covered the issue extensively over time (just do a quick MDN search on the word earthquake). In a nutshell, the only known instance when the process of fracking a shale gas well has caused an earthquake detectable on the surface was in England, and it was a unique situation where the drilling was shallow and near a geologic fault (see this MDN story).

Canadian energy company Questerre Energy Corporation is working to develop Utica Shale acreage in the St. Lawrence Lowlands area of Quebec province. Must be they’re getting push-back from environmentalists and investors because they’ve just issued what they call a “fact sheet” on the topic of fracking and earthquakes. According to Questerre, fracking does cause earthquakes—but they’re teeny tiny and not detectable on the surface.

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The Evolving Position of PSATS on PA’s Act 13 Law

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) is an organization representing 1,455 local municipalities across PA—some 44% of the entire population. PSATS has appeared to some as wishy-washy when it comes to its support, or lack thereof, for PA’s new Act 13 drilling law. Initially they supported it as “the best deal” they could get from the PA legislature (something Gov. Corbett still refers to in his statements).

Later on, when seven of its member towns sued the state to overturn the zoning portion of Act 13, PSATS sort of supported them, eventually filing a brief in their support. Now they’re offering full-throated support to the effort to overturn the zoning provisions in Act 13 as it goes before PA Supreme Court.

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Yoko Ono on Fracking: All We Need is … Logic?

Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon launched the group Artists Against Fracking yesterday at a presser in New York City. Mark Ruffalo (“The Hulk” in the Avengers movie) joined them. The group, with supposedly over 180 artists as members, is targeting one person: Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They are attempting to pressure Cuomo into banning the miracle of hydraulic fracturing in New York State. Ono and Lennon sent him a letter on Monday with their artist buddies as signatories, requesting him to “just say no” (apparently there are some chemicals they do oppose).

The Ono/Lennon letter must be super secret because there are no public copies to be found, but somehow good ‘ole AP got their hands on a copy. Here’s the AP’s very few quotes and comments on the letter to Cuomo:

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Free Wine for Anti-Frackers at Finger Lakes Event

Seeking to soften their image (as extremists) and win over a few more people with free wine, anti-frackers are holding another hippie-fest Big Splash event this Sunday along the shores of beautiful Seneca Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.

According to the organizer, wine and music will make the dreary anti-fracking speeches they’ll have to endure go down just a little bit easier:

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France’s Fracking Ban Remains…Peut-être

MDN has previously reported on the fracking ban in the country of France (see this MDN story). French leaders don’t seem to speak with each other about the question of “Will they or won’t they?” allow fracking someday. They do seem to be agreed that water-based fracking is banned and will remain so, but as for other kinds of fracking (or non-fracking) of shale gas, they tend to talk past each other.

Case in point: Here’s what the newly elected Prime Minister of France, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said last week about shale gas extraction and fracking:

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