PDC announced today they will “go it alone” and develop 45,000 acres of Utica Shale leases they own in southeastern Ohio without a joint venture partner. Apparently the offers they received weren’t good enough, so they’re committing $50 million to drilling efforts in the Utica in their 2013 budget.
Early results for PDC have been promising. They report drilling two wells in Guernsey County, OH. They plan to drill a third Utica well later this year in Washington County. Here’s the press release outlining early results, and their Utica plans for the next 12 months:
MDN editor Jim Willis will attend Shale Gas Insight 2012 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 20 & 21. He’ll be hanging out at the NGI Shale Daily booth (#433). If you’re an MDN reader, please stop by to say hello in person! Jim would like to meet you.
It seems, however, that more than just luminaries like Jack Welch (former CEO of GE), Tom Corbett (Governor of PA), Ted Koppel (former Nightline host) and the CEOs of Range, XTO and MarkWest will be there. Anti-drillers will also converge on the Convention Center in a spectacle they call Shale Gas Outrage, featuring minor celebrities like Josh Fox (of Gasland infamy), Bill McKibben (350.org), Sandra Steingraber (ecologist), and Doug Shields (former president of Pittsburgh City Council). Hey, it ought to be a real party!
Here’s what the Philadelphia Inquirer says about the upcoming event:
For some time there have been rumblings of how drilling activity is moving from “dry gas” (methane only) to “wet gas” (methane plus natural gas liquids like ethane, pentane and butane) areas. It seemed you couldn’t read a quarterly financial update from an energy company that didn’t mention such a move. And while slowdowns were apparent in some isolated areas, frankly, the actions just didn’t seem to match the words.
Here’s a bit of news that provides tangible evidence of the change from dry to wet gas drilling. Great Plains Oilfield Rentals, a company that employs 120 people in and around Buckhannon in Upshur County, WV (center of the state), is moving—to the upper panhandle area of West Virginia. Why? Wet gas drilling.
Some New York State elected officials—particularly those outside of the Southern Tier where drilling may someday, possibly, perhaps, after numerous lawsuits, see a teeny tiny bit of drilling—are anti-drilling and attempting to get themselves noticed. Fortunately, they’ve given us a handy list of who they are—so you can either vote for or against them, depending on your viewpoint, in the next election (see the complete list of anti-drilling elected officials below).
Yesterday a group of elected officials held a presser in Utica, NY to announce the Utica Shale may be a “target” for fracking:
Talk about an ill-advised strategy… Even though New York Gov. Cuomo’s office and the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been holding secret meetings with anti-drillers, asking for their opinions and advice on how to proceed with fracking in New York State, some of those same groups have turned around and sued Gov. Cuomo and the state claiming a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request they made earlier this year for the records about meetings between the governor, the DEC and the drilling industry have not been fully disclosed.
Hello anti-drillers! This is not how you win friends and influence people (like Andy) to your cause. The topper? The group suing isn’t even from New York.
Yesterday, a group of the usual suspects of radical “environmentalist” groups, including 350.org, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper, et al, sent a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging him to permanently ban fracking and instead pursue the fantasy of alternative energy for the state (letter embedded below). The signatories claim that clean-burning natural gas is not a bridge to their so-called clean energy nirvana future. Different day, same old stuff.
Although there’s plenty of conventional, shallow gas wells in Crawford County (in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania), the very first unconventional, horizontal well has just been drilled in the Utica Shale in Crawford County. Starting as soon as today, it will be fracked.
Pennsylvania’s Act 13 shale drilling law, passed earlier this year, is facing a stiff legal challenge to a key provision in the law. The only part of the law challenged in court is the part replacing the ability of local municipalities to enact zoning ordinances to control where, and if, drilling happens within their borders. Act 13 substitutes a common set of zoning restrictions—drilling must be at least X feet from water wells, schools, etc. Seven brave townships in PA sued to have that provision overturned. MDN says “brave” not because we necessarily support their effort, but in contrast to the cowardly towns and cities and organizations who haven’t put up their own money and time but instead have issued press releases to support the seven who have.
Who are the cowardly towns and organizations? Let’s name some names, shall we?