We now know a bit more about where things stand with the “health review” taking place of New York’s proposed new drilling regulations (called the SGEIS). When Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced he was asking NYS Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to conduct a review of the SGEIS’ handling of potential health impacts of fracking on residents, he said that Shah would assemble a panel of “outside experts” to advise him.
It appears the outside experts have been identified but haven’t agreed (yet) to the money being offered by the DEC and Health Department to do the work. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on a Nov. 29 deadline. Martens says it’s still possible to make that deadline. Here’s what he said on Friday to reporters:
The mighty Reuters news agency, no friend of shale gas drilling, is taking aim at the Utica Shale in Ohio. A new article by Reuters attempts to sow the seeds of doubt about the size and potential of the Utica Shale. Their article opens by quoting drilling “bad boy” Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake who famously said last year the Utica contains $500 billion worth of hydrocarbons. Reuters’ contention? Don’t believe it.
A key point of the article is that Ohio is only reporting oil and gas production numbers annually, not monthly as other states typically do. That irks Reuters, so they’re spinning it as an industry cover-up to conceal the “real truth” that the Utica is not as productive as McClendon and “the industry” is leading people to believe. It’s the old “it really ain’t all that big, it’s just a Ponzi scheme” meme started by The New York Times last year (see this MDN story).
The New York Times is a bit schizophrenic these days. It’s hard to keep track of which alternate reality they operate in. For the longest time, we’ve heard from the Times how shale drilling is just a Ponzi scheme a la Bernie Madoff—a fraud to get investors to dump billions into energy companies but with only a teeny tiny bit of gas in the ground (“proven reserves”) to get out (see this MDN story). Of course that contention is patently false as proven by the overwhelming production and inventories we now have from shale gas.
An AP story actually sets the record straight and says, in essence, “Yes, the Marcellus really is ‘that big’ after all.” The AP article quotes research from two recently completed independent reports, one from Standard & Poor’s (see this MDN story) and one from ITG Research (see this MDN story), in “correcting” a lowered Marcellus proven reserves estimate from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The article quotes the EIA backpedalling on their lowered estimate from earlier this year and says in part:
In September MDN asked if it’s a good idea for Chesapeake Energy to move forward with a plan to drill 1,300 feet from Wheeling Park High School in Ohio County, WV (see this MDN story). Looks like it’s a moot point now.
Late last week Chesapeake withdrew its permit application and now says they’ll look elsewhere to drill: