At the Developing Unconventional Gas (DUG) East Conference in Pittsburgh yesterday, EnerVest CEO John Walker contradicted the view of Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon. McClendon said the Ohio Utica Shale will not produce much oil—at least for Chesapeake (see this MDN story). Walker said he believes the Utica will produce a lot of oil—that is, once they figure out the “right completion method.”
Gulfport’s CEO Jim Palm also spoke glowingly about the Utica at the conference. Gulfport, you may recall, has the highest producing Utica well so far (see this MDN story). The conference is organized by Hart Energy, who provided information stating lease payments in the Ohio Utica Shale have reached as high as $8,000 per acre.
According to Kevin DiGregoria, executive director of the Chemical Alliance Zone West Virginia, Wood County, WV is one of the prime locations in the state being considered for a new ethane cracker plant. DiGregorio also said the Marcellus Shale will be around for at least 30 years and is “an economic grand slam” for the state.
DiGregoria was joined by WV Commerce Sec. Keith Burdette at a roundtable discussion in Wood County. Burdette, who has been in the hunt for a cracker plant for the state for nearly two years now, said he’s in regular contact with interested companies:
Consulting firm Deloitte recently completed a survey of 250 oil and gas professionals on their expert opinions about where they believe the energy industry is headed in the near and long-term. Among their findings: The U.S. will soon become completely energy self-sufficient for natural gas, but we’ll always need to import at least some oil.
Looking at 2013, a majority of those surveyed (60%) believe the commodity price of natural gas will average more than $3 per million Btus for the year, and a majority (59%) think crude oil will stay below $100 per barrel next year. Attitudes about regulation of fracking is also interesting: 49% think existing regulations of fracking is “just right” or “on track.”
The ever-shrill anti-fracking machine believes they have a winner of an issue in the recent “discovery” that (gasp) the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection does not, in every instance of well water testing, conduct useless and expensive testing for every chemical known to mankind (see this MDN story). For the anti-drilling lobby, the DEP’s lack of extreme testing equals “cover-up.” And so they grind out press release after press release, letter after letter. (Crank up the Peter, Paul & Mary music, there’s more letters to write!)
Yesterday, 25 groups (listed at the bottom so you know whom not to support) sent one such letter to Gov. Tom Corbett requesting he order the DEP and Sec. Michael Krancer to start conducting those extreme tests post haste (a copy of the letter is embedded below). Here’s how the latest faux controversy is being reported:
To get an inkling of what’s in store for the U.S. when it comes to energy if the environmental wackos get their way, we give you Exhibit A: The lobotomized country of Germany. Germany now believes, en masse, that in the next 35 years or so they will convert to so-called alternative energy sources like wind and solar—for 100% of their energy needs. MDN editor Jim Willis likely won’t be alive in 35 years to laugh at them and say “we told you that you were nuts,” so we’ll just do it now.
The following self-delusional fantasy is brought to you by Bloomberg News:
Dawn Constantin, head of partnerships and analytics at BP plc, spoke at the LDC Gas Forum in Toronto earlier this week about what the future holds for the natural gas liquids (NGLs) market. Her analysis? Drillers who thought NGLs (wet gas) were a safe harbor against the low price of methane (dry gas) may not find it so safe after all. Why? Simple economics of supply and demand. Demand for NGLs is not keeping up with the flood of supply coming from places like the Marcellus and Utica Shale.
Constantin said there now exists downward pressure on the price of NGLs, just like there is for dry gas:
Now that the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) has created tougher regulations for wastewater injection wells following earthquakes last year related to injection wells, they are once again approving new wells.
On Tuesday ODNR signed off on four new injection wells—another 30 applications are in the pipeline for consideration:
ESI Enviro wants to build a shale gas wastewater treatment plant at a former brown field site in Campbell (Mahoning County), Ohio. The new plant will use glass particles to absorb fracking fluid, trapping chemicals and leaving the water clean for reuse by drillers.
ESI Enviro laid out their plans for a new plant (to be located at the former Sheet and Tube property along the Mahoning River) to city council members and other interested residents at a meeting last night:
The previously announced ATEX Express ethane pipeline that will stretch from Houston, PA to the state of Indiana, and from there all the way to the Texas Gulf Coast, is now under construction near Steubenville (Jefferson County), Ohio.