PA DEP Accused of Skewing Water Tests from Wells Near Drilling

finger pointingPennsylvania House of Representatives member Jesse White (D-Allegheny, Beaver, and Washington counties) is outraged with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and says someone needs to go to jail. The DEP is outraged with Mr. White and lawyer Kendra Smith. What’s all the outrage over?

Two DEP officials have gone on record in a court case in Washington County, PA with testimony that seems to indicate when the DEP tests residential water wells suspected of being contaminated by natural gas drilling, the reports they issue suppress (or simply don’t look for) certain drilling-related chemicals. Mr. White says it’s evidence of a systematic cover-up—a crime. He’s basing his allegation on a letter by Kendra White, attorney in a case against Range Resources (a copy of the letter is embedded below). The DEP says Mr. White and Ms. Smith are both wrong.

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New Study: U.S. Shale Drilling = 1.6M Jobs, $245B in 10 Yrs

The American Clean Skies Foundation has just released a major new study (copy embedded below) based on analysis by ICF International which finds that shale oil and gas drilling in the U.S., from 2007 to 2017 (10 years) will lead to the creation of upward of 1.6 million new jobs and increase the country’s domestic gross product (GDP) by as much as $245 billion. These are seriously huge numbers.

The 123-page study takes a detailed look at where the jobs are being created (state by state), and the types of jobs created. It is without a doubt the best kind of economic stimulus—it doesn’t come from the government! Here’s the press release announcing and summarizing the findings of the study:

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Chesapeake 3Q12: $2.1B Net Loss, NGL/Oil Production Way Up

The U.S.’ second largest natural gas producer and most active driller, Chesapeake Energy, released their third quarter earnings and operations report yesterday. The update contains both good and bad. The media will no doubt focus on the bad: Chesapeake posted a $2.1 billion net loss for the quarter mostly due to lower natural gas prices and the need to write down certain assets. But there are signs the company is turning around both financially and operationally.

For some time Chesapeake has focused their activity on liquids-rich plays, and the latest 3-month period reflects it. Chesapeake’s average daily natural gas liquids (NGL) production in 3Q12 was 143,000 barrels/day, an increase of 51% from the same period last year, up 10% from the previous quarter. (Chesapeake’s NGL production represents 21% of their overall production.) Average daily oil production in 3Q12 increased a whopping 96% from the same period last year—up 21% from the previous quarter—to 97,800 barrels/day. And natural gas production in 3Q12 increased 24% from the same period last year—up 9% from the previous quarter—to 4.142 billion cubic feet per day.

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Southwestern 3Q12: $145M Net Loss, Production is Up

Southwestern Energy reported its third quarter financials and operations update yesterday. As with many other shale drillers, Southwestern posted a net loss for the quarter. Southwestern’s loss for 3Q12 was $144.8 million. Why? They blame low natural gas prices. Southwestern CEO Steve Mueller says the “main drivers” for the business are moving in the right direction—and that includes a “rapid ascent in activity and production” in the Marcellus Shale. Southwestern currently has 50 producing Marcellus wells, an additional 44 wells waiting for completion or to be hooked to a pipeline, and another 34 currently being drilled. They use four drilling rigs in the Marcellus.

Below are relevant sections of Southwestern’s lengthy 3Q12 update, including the operations update for the Marcellus:

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