Town of Highland, NY Gets Sued Over Gas Drilling Ban

breaking newsMDN is not used to breaking the news, but that’s what we’ll do today. The Town of Highland, located in Sullivan County, NY, is about to be sued by the Highland Field & Stream Club over the town’s vote to ban gas drilling.

MDN received the following email notification from the attorney for the Highland Field & Stream Club:

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Carrizo Drills Exploratory Marcellus Well – in New York

What does Carrizo Oil & Gas know about the New York moratorium on fracking we don’t? The moratorium has been in place for 4 1/2 long years now. There are some signs the moratorium may soon end—witness the parade of mainstream news sources granting political cover and “permission” to Gov. Cuomo to make a pro-fracking decision. But the standard operating procedure by the DEC’s Joe Martens until now has been stall and delay.

Enter Carrizo. Today’s Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin announces that Carrizo is drilling an exploratory vertical shale gas well outside of Owego, NY (Tioga County), squarely in the “hot zone” of the Southern Tier where gas drilling will take place. Their aim? Find out if shale gas is present in the vertical well, and then turn the well horizontal when and if the moratorium is lifted.

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Horseheads, NY Board in No Hurry to Ban Fracking

Board members for the Town of Horseheads, NY (Chemung County) are in no hurry to pass a fracking ban or moratorium. They’re waiting to see what the town zoning board says after they’ve studied proposed new drilling rules from the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation. The town board is also waiting to see whether or not the DEC even bothers to release new rules to allow fracking. Until then? No hurry, man.

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EIA Report Predicts Short-Term NatGas Prices/Usage

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released their Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook report yesterday (a copy of full report is embedded below). Even though natural gas inventories are above last year’s levels and the price for natural gas is at historic lows, based on long-range weather forecasts by NOAA, the EIA predicts households will spend more money to heat this winter because it’s going to be a lot colder this winter than it was last.

Here’s the main highlights from the report with respect to natural gas:

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PA DEP Approves 1st New Electric Plant to Use Marcellus Gas

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) yesterday issued a permit for the first new electrical power generating plant to be built in the state that uses clean burning Marcellus Shale gas. The new plant will be built in Bradford County over the next 2-3 years. During construction the project will employ up to 500 people.

The details from the DEP:

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Meeting about Western PA NGL Pipeline Turns Contentious

Sunoco Logistics held a meeting with landowners in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania last night to discuss plans for a new 45-mile pipeline they will build to carry natural gas liquids (NGLs). The new pipeline is part of the Mariner East project that will carry NGLs from western PA to southeastern PA—to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia (see this MDN story).

The meeting with landowners about the new pipeline construction turned contentious when landowners demanded to know whether or not Sunoco would invoke eminent domain and “take” the property, even if they don’t want it running across their land. A few of those present said Sunoco had already broken faith by surveying their land without informing the landowners first.

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Landowners Settle with Chesapeake, O&G in Western PA Case

A lawsuit initiated by seven families in Beaver County, PA in March against Chesapeake Energy and O&G Investments of Wooster, Ohio has been settled. The landowners originally signed leases with O&G seven years ago, weren’t paid anything during those seven years, weren’t drilled on, and then O&G sold the leases to Chesapeake who tried to drill in order to hold the leases before they were set to expire. The families were rightly outraged by the treatment they received and sued to dissolve the leases (see this MDN story for background).

Yesterday, the judge in the case issued a closure order after being notified of a settlement:

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Norse Energy: We’re Still Here, Still Hanging On in NY

Good ol’ Norse Energy—the Norwegian-based driller who rolled the dice on New York State and (so far) lost the bet. You have to admire Norse. They signed a lot of acreage in Upstate New York—some 130,000 acres. Their intent was to frack the shale—but something happened on the way to the fracking dance. NY slapped a moratorium on shale gas drilling that’s now gone on for 4 1/2 long years.

Norse has done what it can to stay solvent ahead of NY’s release of permits to drill. They hope to be among the first to receive said permits when NY finally moves forward (they have already filed for permits). Every now and again Norse issues a press release to essentially say, “We’re still here and still hanging on.” This is the latest such release:

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