Rumor Mill: Who Will Obama Choose to Run EPA?

rumor millWith the resignation of Lisa Jackson as Administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—good riddance!—the speculation now turns to who her replacement will be, and whether or not that replacement will continue her legacy of trying to screw up fossil fuel energy in this country. The rumor mill has begun in earnest over who Obama will select.

Here’s a short list of possible replacements, picked up from a Bloomberg article, along with MDN’s own pick:

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eCORP Tests New Waterless LPG Fracking Method on First Shale Well

Last year MDN told you about a deal in Tioga County, NY between landowners with 135,000 acres and drilling company eCORP to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, or propane) fracking as an alternative to water-based fracking. The deal, which had a complicated structure with the landowners as part-owners of the venture, fell apart (see Tioga County, NY Lease Deal with eCORP Falls Apart). One of the interesting aspects of that story is that by using a non-water-based fracking method, eCORP may have been able to proceed with drilling ahead of New York’s much-delayed new fracking regulations. However, that theory never came to a test.

Here’s the new news: eCORP was going to use GASFRAC’s LPG fracking technology in Tioga County. Since that time, a newly formed subsidiary of eCORP called eCORP Stimulation Technologies has developed its own LPG fracking technology that uses 100% propane and zero chemicals or additives of any kind. eCORP fracked the very first shale well with the new technology in December…

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Chesapeake’s CEO McClendon Will Not Get a $1.95M Bonus for 2012

In a regulatory filing on Monday, Chesapeake Energy said it will not pay CEO Aubrey McClendon a bonus for 2012. Since 2009 he’s received a $1.95 million bonus each year. But the company had a tough year in 2012 with the revelation that some of McClendon’s financing deals were a bit sketchy. Too, the stock price for the company took a real tumble in 2012 because of a lot of debt, and the company’s chief asset—the ability to produce natural gas—suffered from the low commodity price for natgas. Chesapeake ended up selling off many assets to pay down their debt. Throw it all in the pot and Aubrey had a lot of Excedrin headaches last year.

What we know about the recent regulatory filing, and a quick recap of Chesapeake’s tough year in 2012:

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NY Assemblyman Try to Stop the Clock on Fracking Comment Period

Three anti-fracking New York Assembly Democrats—all three chairmen of important Assembly committees—sent a letter on Monday (full copy embedded below) to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking, or rather demanding, that the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation stop the clock on the current 30-day public comment period. Their rationale? An old internal DEC report produced and never released to the public says fracking won’t harm public health. “Wrong answer” is their response—and they intend to make noise about it until they get the “right answer”—which of course (for them) is that fracking does harm public health.

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Crestwood Midstream Ups Marcellus Investment, Buys Out Investors

Crestwood Midstream Partners, a pipeline and processing plant company with operations in the Marcellus Shale, announced yesterday they are increasing their Marcellus commitment by buying out the remaining portion of a joint venture for $258 million. Most of Crestwood’s Marcellus operations are located in the liquids-rich portion of the play in northern WV. This latest move comes after Antero Resources sold their gathering system in Harrison and Doddridge counties, WV to Crestwood for $375 million in February 2012 (see Antero Sells WV Midstream Operation to Crestwood for $375M).
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Marcellus Shale’s Prominent Role in Latest EIA Outlook

Yesterday the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released their monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), which includes the outlook for natural gas. EIA has some of the best and brightest that crunch the numbers, so when they issue their reports, people pay attention. EIA reports are not exactly a crystal ball to predict the future—but they’re darned close.

The Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and West Virginia is mentioned prominently in this update, including its predicted role in boosting overall natural gas production this year. Below is the natural gas portion of the STEO, with predictions for prices, production and consumption in 2013:

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NY Landowners Converge on Albany in Show of Support for Fracking

Hundreds of New York State landowners are expected to show up today, Wednesday, Jan. 9, in Albany, NY in a show of support for fracking and shale drilling to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he delivers his State of the State address. Anti-drillers are expected to make a showing as well.

The 77,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) released this statement ahead of their rally today:

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