Former PA Gov. Rendell to Gov. Cuomo: Get Fracking

frack baby frack Interesting. Former PA Gov. Ed Rendell (“Fast Eddie” as he’s know around here) has penned a huge editorial printed in today’s New York Daily News, a left-leaning newspaper, aimed at one person: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Eddie’s words of advice to his fellow Democrat? Frack Andy Frack!

Here’s Rendell’s op-ed:

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Cabot Spins Gold from Hay with Low Cost Drilling

Cabot Oil & Gas is, so far, the only driller to attain 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural production in the Marcellus Shale (see Who’s a Member of the Marcellus “1 Bcf/d” Club?). Perhaps the most astonishing part of their story is that all of Cabot’s drilling happens in rural northeastern Susquehanna County, PA. Although Cabot is some 10 times smaller than Chesapeake Energy, the value of their stock (market capitalization) recently surpassed Chesapeake (see Guest Post: Corporate Hubris Humbles Chesapeake – Cabot Soars Sure & Steady).

Cabot’s ability to spin gold from hay is in no small part because of their Marcellus operation in Susquehanna County…

At a recent conference, Cabot made an investor presentation (full copy below) that shows, in part, why they’re so profitable—even in a low commodity price environment. As we’re writing this story, the commodity price of natural gas is exactly $4 per thousand cubic feet. Depending on geography, the cost to produce natural gas approaches $4/Mcf for many drillers. But for Cabot? Their average cost per Mcf in 2012 was $1.67, and for 2013 they estimate it will go even lower (see slide 10 below).

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2nd Bomb Threat Stops Construction at Natrium, WV NGL Plant

Just two days ago MDN told you that the Blueracer Midstream natural gas liquids (NGLs) processing plant being built in Natrium, WV is now several months behind schedule and not due to go online until later this spring (see Natrium, WV NGL Plant Behind Schedule, Will Open “Late Spring”). Back in February, the same Natrium plant had a bomb threat that stopped construction and caused an evacuation of 500 workers for several hours (see Bomb Threat at Natrium, WV NGL Plant Doesn’t Slow Construction). At the time, it was thought perhaps the bomb threat did not specifically target the NGL plant because the previous day a bomb threat was called at a different nearby WV Route 2 location, not related to the natural gas industry.

But now? We’re not so sure. Yesterday a second bomb threat was made against the Natirum facility, causing the evacuation of 700 construction workers,  shutting down work for another several hours. The head of the WV Oil and Natural Gas Association is calling it a case of “domestic terrorism” and a crime:

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GreenHunter Tries to Repair Damage with Wheeling over New Project

As MDN reported yesterday, GreenHunter Water made a big faux pas by not genuflecting before the Wheeling, WV City Council before announcing their plans to build a fracking wastewater recycling and shipping facility in the city along the Ohio River (see Wheeling Councilwoman Vows to Prevent Frack Water Treatment Plant). GreenHunter attempted to repair some of the damage yesterday when they briefed city officials on their proposed project.

Did the meeting help? Maybe, but the city is not ready to “take a position on the project” just yet…

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WV Legislators Fast Track Fix of Severance Tax Exemption Loophole

WV Senate Bill 638, introduced on Monday, appears to be on a fast track through the state Senate. The bill would repeal severance tax exemptions for some natural gas wells. In 2000, legislators enacted severance tax exemptions to encourage older natural gas wells that were not producing to re-open. Many of the operators of those wells are mom and pop, small-time operators—so legislators passed a law that said in essence, “If a well has been dormant more than five years, re-open it and we’ll suspend severance taxes on its production for the next 10 years.”

Legislators are now concerned that huge energy companies drilling for shale gas may decide to shut-in a well for five years to let prices rise and then re-open it and get 10 years of tax-free production. Hence Senate Bill 638, to repeal the older legislation and fix the loophole. The balancing act is to not throw the baby out (production from small-time vertical wells) with the bathwater (big-time horizontal shale wells)…

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ExxonMobil Chemical Chief Says Fracking Transforming our Future

Stephen Pryor, president of global plastics and chemicals giant ExxonMobil Chemical Co., recently spoke with Plastics News and boy oh boy did he have a lot to say! Pryor is someone who clearly “gets it” when it comes to the miracle of hydraulic fracturing and its profound impact on the U.S. and around the world. In his remarks, Pryor says fracking is transforming America’s future and the most important thing to happen in the last 150 years. He also says private business (and not government) is responsible for this miracle, and government should stay out of it. In topics ranging from ethane crackers to jobs to exports, he pretty much covers the whole spectrum.

Take a few minutes to soak up Mr. Pryor’s wisdom:

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PA Gov. Corbett Visits Airport Being Renovated with Impact Fee $

Yesterday, PA Gov. Tom Corbett took a quick trip to tour and host a meet & greet at the Lycoming County Airport (Williamsport, PA). The purpose of the trip was to crow a bit about passing the new Act 13 shale oil and gas drilling law last year, which has resulted in $204 million in new revenue to the state from impact fees. Some of the impact fee money is being used to help fund a $13.6 million renovation project at the Lycoming County Airport.

The governor’s office issued the following press release about the event:

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NatGas Transmission Pipeline Construction Went *Down* in 2012??

This is a weird one. According to an article on the Fuel Fix blog, in 2012 construction of new major natural gas transmission pipelines plummeted to its lowest rate since 1997. They base their analysis on a recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that tracks new pipeline construction.

With all of the new pipelines announced and started last year (many of them in the Marcellus and Utica), it sure seems strange, almost unbelievable, to us. Are these numbers accurate? Did EIA, an organization with a stellar reputation for accuracy, miss something? Here’s the article from Fuel Fix:

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Going Back to the Dimock Well, One More Time

Let’s see, if you’re a former reporter who has written a book that trashes fracking and book sales aren’t so great, what can you do? I know! Try to juice sales by invoking two very magical words (be careful children, that you don’t utter these words in public): “fracking” and “Dimock.”

Even though both the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have investigated Dimock repeatedly and have declared water wells in the area to be free from chemical contamination, perhaps (because of fictitious movies like Gasland), just a little more hay can still be made from Dimock…

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