S&P Report: The Marcellus Shale is a Game-Changer

game changerRatings agency Standard & Poor’s yesterday issued an important new report on the Marcellus Shale and the key role it’s playing in the United States’ natural gas and larger energy picture. Titled “How The Marcellus Shale Is Changing The Dynamics Of The U.S. Energy Industry,” there’s a lot of great information in this report. For example: the report lists the Top 15 Marcellus Shale producers, with estimates of how much shale gas they produce (as of fourth quarter 2011). It also discusses how and why the Marcellus is one of the most cost-effective plays in the U.S. for producers, and why they can make money in the Marcellus at much lower commodity prices for gas than in other plays. It contains a complete list of pending and planned pipeline projects in the Marcellus, including ethane pipelines. And more!

MDN is still reading and digesting the report and will bring you select sections and highlights over the next few days. In the meantime, you can view the entire report below now (highly recommended):

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PA Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Critical O&G Case

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments in what MDN considers the most important oil and gas case to come before the court in many years. We’ve chronicled the case called Butler v Powers in past articles, including this article from Sept. 2011. It’s a complex case, and at the risk of oversimplifying it, here’s how we would summarize it:

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BP Says They’re Committed to Drilling in Trumbull County, OH

Although Carrizo Oil & Gas and CONSOL Energy have both either left or stopped drilling in the Utica Shale in Trumbull County, Ohio, energy giant BP says they’re staying the course and expect to drill their first well in Trumbull in April 2013. Of course, BP has a vested interest in making it work in Trumbull—they leased 80,000 acres in the county last year for $331 million.

Here’s what a BP spokesman recently said about Trumbull County:

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Stone Fox Capital: Rig Count Means NatGas Shortages Coming

Let’s take a deep dive into the “weeds” of the drilling industry, shall we? A few days ago MDN highlighted yet another excellent analysis (on rig counts) by Seeking Alpha blogger Richard Zeits, from Zeits Energy Analytics (see this MDN story). The big news from that story is Zeits’ view about the current and future levels of drilling rigs in dry vs. wet gas areas.

A new, somewhat contrary (to Zeits’) viewpoint has emerged on Seeking Alpha from Stone Fox Capital Advisors expressing concern and alarm over the relatively low level of drilling rigs. They believe the current and forecasted number of drilling rigs for oil means the number of rigs available for natural gas drilling is so low it will mean shortages of natgas rigs, meaning a bottleneck for new drilling and eventually lower supplies and higher prices for natural gas.

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Youngstown, OH: If You Lease It, Will They Drill?

Our headline is a tongue-in-cheek play on the iconic Field of Dreams statement, “If you build it, they will come.” But this isn’t fiction. It’s a very serious question being asked by residents and political leaders in Youngstown, Ohio: If Youngstown decides to pass an ordinance allowing drilling on and under property within city limits, will any drillers bother to drill there? Answer: No one knows.

Last night Youngstown held a public hearing to allow residents the opportunity to express their support or opposition to a proposed ordinance which may soon be passed to allow leasing and drilling inside the city. Here’s what happened:

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MSC Issues Guidance on Reporting Stray Gas Incidents

Yesterday the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), an industry-backed trade group based in the Pittsburgh area, published the fourth in a series of “guidance documents.” The latest document is titled Responding to Stray Gas Incidents (embedded below) and addresses the issue of what to do when a driller discovers that methane is already present in soil or water, even before they drill.

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