In March 2012, BP signed a huge deal with landowners belonging to the Associated Landowners of the Ohio Valley (ALOV) group to lease 84,000 acres in Trumbull County, OH (see BP’s Big Utica Shale Deal, Leases 84K Acres in Ohio). The terms of that deal were $3,900 per acre as a signing bonus and 17.5% in royalties. Very sweet indeed.
Part of the process when signing a lease deal is “due diligence” in researching property deeds to be sure the driller will have a clear right to drill on or under the property. About 180 landowners with a collective 4,203 acres didn’t make the cut for the ALOV deal, and their contracts, according to the terms of the lease, were “released” this week by BP:
The story of the Pittsburgh International Airport’s acceptance of a bid from natural gas driller CONSOL Energy to drill on and under airport property, a bid that would provide less than half the money that a bid from EQT would have provided, continues to get curiouser and curiouser (see Inside Job? Pittsburgh Airport Leases Land to CONSOL for background and MDN’s original comments).
Apparently MDN isn’t, as we had thought, the only one who noticed this deal smells to high heaven. The latest news: PIA is negotiating with CONSOL to get them to raise the signing bonus, which is now rumored to be somewhere in the neighborhood of “$35 million to $40 million.” That’s certainly better, but still not has high as EQT’s offer of a $44 million bonus payment.
And what’s with “negotiating” after a bid has been accepted? A bid is a bid—you accept or reject it, especially if a public agency is involved. You don’t accept an offer and then promptly start negotiating to change it! Something is still very “off” about all of this…
Devon Energy, recently named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in the U.S., has just plugged a third Utica Shale well in Ohio and is signaling a major change in strategy. They no longer plan to drill for natural gas in the Utica and will instead concentrate 100% of their time (and money) on drilling for oil.
A few weeks ago MDN told you about two Ohio Utica wells plugged and “abandoned” by Devon, one in Medina County and the other in Ashland County where they found disappointing results (see Flip Side: Some OH Utica Shale Wells Get Plugged/Abandoned). The third Utica well to be plugged and abandoned by Devon is located, ironically, in Utica, Ohio (Knox County):
One Rubicon was passed just a few weeks ago when Ohio had officially drilled more than 200 Utica Shale wells (see Ohio Passes 200 Drilled Utica Shale Wells, New Permits Keep Coming).
Another Rubicon is about to pass: Ohio had officially approved 498 Utica Shale drilling permits as of Jan. 12, so by now, Ohio has gone over the 500-mark.
Yesterday John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon, along with reliably left movie star Susan Sarandon, boarded a Mercedes tour bus in New York City (burning gobs of diesel, a hated fossil fuel) and headed to the Montrose area of northeastern PA to “tour” drilling and compressor plant sites, visit with the commoners, and make pretentious pronouncements about how gas drilling is killing everyone and everything.
Ono and Lennon, in a bid to boost their non-existent public profiles, started a group last year called “Artists Against Fracking,” which is really kind of funny. Neither Ono nor Lennon can hold a tune in a bucket (see this hysterically funny video of them singing a song about fracking). But perhaps the “art” in “artists” comes from the pornography the 79 year-old Ono creates (see this story about her 2012 “fashion line for men”).
CONSOL Energy, the country’s largest coal mining company, is an important (and big) driller in the Marcellus/Utica Shale region. Today CONSOL released an operations update which covers details from the fourth quarter of 2012 and looks forward to their plans for 2013. The update does a deep dive on their Marcellus/Utica drilling business, including details of their drilling activity with joint venture partners Noble Energy (in the Marcellus) and Hess (in the Utica). Although CONSOL drilled and completed fewer wells in 2012 than they did in 2011 (see the table below), the wells they did drill produced far more natural gas than previous wells. Each year they get better.
Here’s the update from CONSOL:
IGS Energy, America’s largest independent supplier of retail natural gas, believes natural gas is no longer the “fuel of tomorrow” when it comes to vehicles, but instead is “the fuel of today.” One of the biggest issues for the adoption and use of natural gas-powered vehicles is lack of fueling stations. IGS announced yesterday they are building a string of CNG (compressed natural gas) fueling stations along Interstate 79 from Charleston, WV to Mount Morris, PA—an area they have dubbed the “CNG Fueling Corridor.”
IGS says this is just the beginning…
In what seems to be a flood of news about CNG (compressed natural gas) filling stations popping up for vehicles, a convenience store chain in the Marcellus-rich area of northeastern PA is in the process of installing CNG filling pumps at three (so far) of it’s 70 stores in PA and NY.
One of the three locations—Towanda (Bradford County), PA—is having its “grand opening” today, but the new pump has already been operating for about month. Towanda is the very first public CNG filling location in northern PA:
In what can only be called an act of utter stupidity, a 21-year-old man from Trout Run, PA, vandalized and damaged a bunch of expensive equipment and the environment last August at a drill site in Lycoming County, PA. Was he drunk? An anti-drilling crusader? Showing off for his girlfriend? We don’t know the details or his motivation—but at a sentencing hearing yesterday (where he got probation), the judge told him to “grow up.”
The punch line? “He recently got work with another natural gas company, court records state.” Let’s name names:
Yesterday a one-year temporary moratorium on fracking in New Jersey expired—hardly anyone noticed. Nobody wants to drill in New Jersey. The Marcellus Shale that clips one small corner of the state most likely has no gas in it (being on the outer fringe of the Marcellus). But that doesn’t stop anti-drillers from continuing their insistence that the state adopt a full-out ban on fracking.
RINO NJ Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, Jr. (“Junior”) is still pushing his “ban it until the EPA says it’s OK” bill in the legislature (see NJ Bill Would Ban Fracking Until EPA Report is Done). Of course the real aim for Junior and other anti-drillers, as expressed by Environment NJ’s Doug O’Malley, is a permanent ban that will “send a strong message.” The now expired one-year moratorium? That was just a “fig leaf” according to O’Malley…
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy is mailing an anti-fracking brochure (killing precious trees from the Catskills to provide the paper, no doubt) to 190,000 residents throughout the Southern Tier area of New York—a region that desperately wants and needs drilling, and the area that will see drilling when/if the current moratorium is lifted. The brochure is pure propaganda and full of outright lies, but hey, this is still Ameritopia where the First Amendment is alive and well, for people on the left anyway.
An electronic copy of the brochure is embedded below so MDN’s fellow NYers know what they can use to line the bird cage with when it arrives.