Insider Look at Gastar’s WV Marcellus Operations, Changes in 2013

pull curtain back Gastar Exploration Ltd. is a Houston-based independent company engaged in exploration and production of natural gas, natural gas liquids, condensate and oil. Their current focus is on the Marcellus Shale play—specifically in West Virginia’s northern panhandle.

A recent interview with Gastar’s vice president of northeast operations, Michael McCown, pulled the curtain back on the company’s WV Marcellus results in 2012, and revealed their plans to change drilling locations in 2013:

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OH Muskingum Watershed District to Sign Drilling Lease in Feb.

Last November, MDN told you that the Ohio Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), the largest watershed district in the state covering about 20% of Ohio’s landmass, had entered negotiations with Antero Resources to allow drilling and fracking under MWCD land around Seneca Lake (see OH Muskingum Watershed District Seeks Lease with Antero). Everything but the final price is now done, and the proposed lease (copy embedded below) will be voted on at the next board meeting of the MWCD on Feb. 15.

The lease, as written, will allow drilling under but not on 6,700 acres of property in Guernsey and Noble counties. Antero will have to drill from adjacent properties to reach the land—no disturbance of the surface will be permitted. How much will the MWCD get for a signing bonus and royalties?

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More than $1.2B & Counting on New Utica Drilling for 2013

So far, more than $1.2 billion (that we know of) has been budgeted by Ohio’s Utica Shale drillers for 2013. A whopping $7 billion has been allocated for pipelines and processing plants over the next several years.

Here’s a quick rundown on the plans for a few of the Utica’s major drillers and what they plan to spend on drilling in the Utica in 2013:

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New Marcellus Constitution Pipeline Announces “Final” Route

After more than a year of work, Williams has finalized the route for the new Marcellus Shale Constitution Pipeline that will run from the heavily-producing Marcellus Shale gas fields of Susquehanna County, PA all the way up to Schoharie County, NY, where the pipeline will connect with two large interstate pipelines: the Iroquois and the Tennessee. A copy of the map showing the “final” route is embedded below.

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PA Auditor General Targets State’s Marcellus Drilling Industry

Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP): Prepare for a painful anal exam, coming courtesy the newly elected PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. That was the gist of a letter sent by DePasquale to Michael Krancer, Secretary of the DEP, on DePasquale’s first day on the job (a copy of the full letter is embedded below).

The DEP’s response to DePasquale? Bring it on…

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PA Frack Pumps Converting to Use LNG for Fuel

EQT was the first driller in the Marcellus Shale to convert a drilling rig to run on electricity produced by engines using an LNG/diesel mix (see this MDN story). CONSOL was next to experiment with converting some of their rigs to use LNG/diesel (see this MDN story). Then Seneca Resources, the gas drilling arm of National Fuel Gas Company, announced two of their drilling rigs will use 100% LNG as fuel (see this MDN story).

What started as a trickle is turning into a flood in Pennsylvania and throughout the Marcellus/Utica region and beyond. More companies are in the process of converting fleets to run on LNG or a mix of LNG/diesel. These new conversions will not only power initial drilling, but will also power the massive pump engines and heavy equipment used in the fracking process itself…

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