It’s no secret that Chesapeake Energy had a tough year in 2012. Chesapeake’s stock price tanked by 43%—from too much debt, historically low natural gas prices and vicious, repeated media attacks by the Reuters and Bloomberg “news” agencies. Chesapeake’s troubles reached a tipping point yesterday when Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake’s “bad boy” CEO, announced he is retiring from the company he built from the ground up 24 years ago. Today, Chesapeake is a multi-billion corporation and the second largest natural gas driller in the United States behind ExxonMobil.
McClendon’s announcement that he is “retiring” from the company on April 1, at age 53, is really big news for MDN readers. Chesapeake is the largest driller in the Utica Shale, and one of the largest in the Marcellus. When Chesapeake sneezes, the Marcellus/Utica catches a cold.
In early December, the Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline (owned by Nisource) exploded near Sissonville, WV—10 miles north of Charleston (see Columbia NatGas Pipeline Explodes Near Charleston, WV). The repercussions are still being felt. WV Sen. Jay Rockefeller held a Senate “field hearing” about pipeline safety on Monday in Charleston, WV. The first person to testify was Sissonville resident Sue Bonham who thought the world was literally be blowing up. The fire that burned in Sissonville near her home for more than an hour was so hot it burned the asphalt on I-77 into cinders.
So it’s no surprise that the federal government would start nosing around non-federally regulated (smaller) pipelines. Apparently they’ve set their sites on local gathering lines in the PA Marcellus:
Just a few weeks ago, BLM announced they would delay implementing their new rules until sometime this spring, to give them the opportunity to refine the rules first. Apparently they work pretty fast. Yesterday BLM sent a revised draft of their new proposed fracking rules to the Obama White House for review:
In December 2011 the West Virginia legislature pass sweeping new shale drilling regulations in record time. The effort and the end result was heralded by then acting (now sitting) Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as a “milestone” in addressing concerns about Marcellus Shale drilling in WV.
The 2011 legislation called for three new environmental studies to be completed and delivered to lawmakers. Two of the studies were due within a day of each other: Dec. 31, 2012 and Jan. 1, 2013. Both are late. According the state DEP, one study will be along in mid-February. The other? No estimated date…
America’s trucking firms are bullish on shale gas drilling, particularly in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Trucking firms say shale drilling either already has, or will, have a positive impact on the trucking industry according to the results of a nationwide survey of trucking firms.
Benesch, a large law firm with offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other oil and gas states, collaborated with the National Tank Truck Carriers association and the Ohio Trucking Association to conduct the survey. Some of the survey results:
Another New York township has voted (unanimously) to strip away the Constitutional rights of some of its citizens. Westmoreland (Oneida County), NY is the latest township to decide that a board of five people know what’s best for everyone else, in contradiction of New York State law:
In the latest dustup over “home rule,” city council members in Brunswick (Medina County), Ohio don’t like the state telling them they can’t regulate oil and gas drilling in their own borders. Unfortunately those same city council members don’t seem to know a thing about the miracle of hydraulic fracturing and they’re certainly not qualified to regulate it—but we digress.
Brunswick city council members were set to vote on a non-binding resolution on Monday telling Columbus to go take a hike, but Brunswick Mayor Gary Werner was the calmer head who prevailed. He talked council members into postponing a vote until the Feb. 11 meeting. Werner’s clear-headed reasoning: Why tell the drilling industry that’s transforming the economic landscape in Ohio that Brunswick isn’t interested in jobs or money from drilling?