New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo—someone who apparently has trouble deciding what to have for breakfast, let alone decide a major issue like whether or not to allow fracking—went on the record yesterday saying that the Nov. 29 deadline to release new drilling rules will not be met. Cuomo said the deadline for a new health review, yet another delay thought up by DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and being carried out by State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, is “open-ended.” The so-called “impartial experts” Nirav Shah has hired to conduct an outside review are anything but impartial, and they’ve been given no firm deadline to turn in a report.
Many have marveled at the restraint shown by the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) on the issue of repeated delays and setbacks when it comes to allowing high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in New York State. Some have criticized the JLCNY for not being more vocal and more pushy with the governor and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Dan Fitzsimmons, president of the JLCNY, regularly takes arrows from both sides of the drilling issue and he walks a fine line—we wouldn’t want to be in his shoes!
Dan sent a letter yesterday, on behalf of the the 77,000 members of the JLCNY, to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens expressing, in strong but respectful language, the JLCNY’s disappointment that the Nov. 29 date to release new drilling rules will be missed (a full copy of the letter is embedded below).
Yesterday the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) provided a detailed update on shale drilling activity in the Utica Shale. They found that the number of drilling rigs in the Utica has doubled from October of last year to October of this year. Also of keen interest: 86% of the active rigs in the Utica (now) are targeting shale oil. Last October the number of 15% of active rigs—which shows a remarkable shift in the Utica. Although the report says “shale oil,” MDN takes that to mean “wet gas,” or shale oil and natural gas liquids. The report finds that Chesapeake Energy continues to be the Big Kahuna in the Utica Shale with 39% of all new well starts in Ohio year-to-date.
Here’s the full EIA Utica Shale update posted yesterday (along with some great charts):
On the third quarter earnings call with analysts earlier this month, Chesapeake Energy officials were asked about the Utica Shale and their thoughts, now more than a year in, of how the Utica stacks up against the Eagle Ford, and how Chesapeake’s “core of the core” strategy is working in the Utica. Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon answered the question this way, identifying the three counties in Ohio that are “the core of the core” for the company:
Corporate raider Carl Icahn (euphemistically renamed an “activist investor” by mainstream media who now like his targets) has increased his holdings in Chesapeake Energy. He remains the number two shareholder in the company.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times (quoting CNBC):
Psst, hey buddy, you got an extra half billion dollars you can spare? Stallion Oilfield Holdings, Inc., a privately-held oilfield services company that works in most of the major shale plays in the U.S., including the Marcellus and Utica Shale, issued a press release yesterday looking for one or more investors that will loan the company (yes) a half a billion dollars so they can a) retire older debts, and b) fund dividend payments to stockholders.
Recently Seneca Resources, a company that will turn 100 years old in March, gave Johnstown, PA WJAC-TV News a tour of what happens at a drill site. During the tour, WJAC got the real story of what goes on “behind the scenes” at a drilling company. They also got the real story about fracking. Refreshingly, WJAC reported it accurately!
Anti-drillers in Bergton, Virginia are like the anti-drillers everywhere else. Every now and again they need to shout out “the sky is falling!” like Chicken Little. Such was the case last night in Bergton (Rockingham County), where anti-drillers gathered to scare the local folks about “big, bad drilling” that “may come” someday to their area.
Carrizo Oil & Gas had wanted to drill in Bergton but was told to take a hike (see this MDN story). Last night, about 25 anti-drillers gathered at the Bergton Community Center to hear the results of a water testing program meant to provide baseline data “just in case” the evil, nasty drillers eventually do come calling. The testing program is being run by two local college professors and four of their students. Also on the evening’s program was plenty of misinformation about fracking.