The Toxic Fight over Fracking: AP Hints MDN an “Extreme Voice”

toxic An AP story in today’s Washington, PA Observer-Reporter takes a look at the natural gas drilling and fracking debate through the lens of those who either support or don’t support the new “voluntary” Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD). The author made a statement that seemed, to us, to perfectly encapsulate the debate: “The fight is so toxic in part because fracking has become a symbol for the even bigger debate over climate change. Both sides see a historic crossroads, like an energy version of D-Day or Waterloo, in which the winner will determine energy and climate policy for decades to come.” We wish we had said it that way!

Two paragraphs later in the same story (and much to our surprise), the AP writer uses a quote from your humble drilling news source, MDN. The quote aptly (and fairly) represents our view of the CSSD…

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Baker Hughes Rig Counts Hit New Low, But There’s More to Story…

Energy analyst and Seeking Alpha blogger Richard Zeits has authored a new “required reading” article titled, “Natural Gas: Sharp Recent Drop In Baker Hughes Gas Rig Count Explained.” In his new article, Zeits says that although the Baker Hughes rig count (number of active drilling rigs in the U.S.) has reached a new low as of last Friday—only 375 active rigs—the rig count itself does not tell the whole story. With a series of stunning charts, Zeits explores the big change from rigs drilling for natural gas to rigs drilling for oil…

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Yes, Virginia, There are Some Democrats Who Want Fracking

Is the recalcitrant Democrat party actually starting to turn around on the issue of fracking and (gasp) support it? That seems to be the theme and tone of an article published in yesterday’s Washington Times. The article points out the recent in-your-face op-ed from former PA Gov. Ed Rendell to current NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo (see Former PA Gov. Rendell to Gov. Cuomo: Get Fracking). The Times article also uses other prominent Democrats who support fracking as examples: CO Gov. John Hickenlooper. For goodness sake, even CA Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown supports fracking…

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Driller Offers 10X Less for Vertical Leases than Horizontal in OH

In Ohio, oil and gas drilling has been going on for decades, long before Chesapeake Energy “discovered” oil in the Utica Shale a few years ago (see Major Discovery – Chesapeake Energy Strikes Oil (and Gas) in Ohio’s Utica Shale). An article from an Ohio newspaper mentions the amount landowners in Perry County are being offered in the way of signing bonuses for traditional, vertical (or “conventional”) drilling leases. It’s a tiny fraction of what landowners receive for leasing Utica Shale acreage:

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Will NatGas Processed at New Natrium, WV Plant End Up in Asia?

Dominion, via it’s Blueracer Midstream joint venture with Caiman Energy, is building a $1.5 billion natural gas liquids processing plant in Natrium, WV. The plant is a bit behind schedule but due to go online later this spring (see Natrium, WV NGL Plant Behind Schedule, Will Open “Late Spring”). Dominion is also set to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Cove Point, MD as soon as certain government approvals are issued. They will invest a staggering $3.4-$3.8 billion to build it (see Dominion’s Cove Point LNG Facility Achieves Important Milestones).

With Dominion building both the Natrium and Cove Point facilities, it only makes sense some of the Utica and Marcellus natural gas that flows through the Natrium facility for processing will end up at Cove Point, and then on to either Japan or India:

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Altoona Gas to Liquids Plant Will Qualify for 7-Year Tax Break

Marcellus GTL announced a few weeks ago they plan to build a $200 million gas to liquids (GTL) plant near Altoona, PA that will convert natural gas into gasoline and propane (see Altoona Area Getting $200M Marcellus Gas-to-Liquids Plant). If they start building by the end of this year, the company will qualify for up to seven years of tax abatement. That’s a pretty powerful reason to get building…

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Carrizo Resumes Fracking at Site of Spill in Wyoming County, PA

On March 13, Carrizo Oil & Gas temporarily lost control of a Marcellus Shale gas well they were fracking in Wyoming County, PA, leading to a spill of over 200,000 gallons of fracking water. The frack water was contained and trucked away (see Carrizo Problem Fracking NE PA Well, Evacuates 3 Nearby Families). Since then, Carrizo has tested local water sources and has found “nothing unusual,” so the state PA Dept. of Environmental Protection has given them the green light to resume fracking the well:

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