As this issue goes to press, the Wall Street Journal and Fox Business is reporting that Chesapeake Energy has put 94,205 Utica Shale acres on the auction block. That’s nearly 10% of their remaining 1 million Utica Shale acres. This is not unprecedented. Last June Chesapeake put 337,000 acres on the auction block (see Chesapeake Selling 337K Utica Shale Acres, Counties IDed). Although the company has not yet made a public statement about this sale, MDN went fishing and found the listing from the real estate site where it’s listed. We’ve embedded it below (shows a map of the acreage).
Here’s what we notice about the listing, including which counties are involved…
The Potential Gas Committee (PGC), a private non-profit organization loosely affiliated with the Colorado School of Mines, performs a comprehensive study of potential supplies of natural gas in the United States every two years. The 2012 study has just been released and it’s truly astonishing. PGC says as of the end of 2012, the U.S. has a technically recoverable resource base of 2,384 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas—the highest number they’ve seen since they started their evaluations 48 years ago. The 2012 number is a whopping 26% increase from just two years ago, when it was 1,898 Tcf. (MDN has embedded a slide presentation below with some useful charts—be sure to check out the chart on page 7.)
Aside from the sheer increase, the other major item to note about the 2012 study is that the PGC credits the Marcellus Shale with pushing the "Atlantic region" of the country to the top as the country’s "richest resource area" with a full 33% of recoverable natural gas. PGC credits the Marcellus Shale for the Atlantic’s rise to prominence. Thank you for fracking!
A fire at a Chesapeake Energy well site in Brooke County, WV on Monday destroyed five tractor-trailers and caused an estimated $8 million in damage. Fortunately, no one was injured. The details as we know them:
An interesting press release from eCORP Stimulation Technologies was issued last week about a new patented innovation that allows the company to manufacture a 100% nonflammable propane fracking fluid. Propane fracking has advantages because it goes down as a liquid, does it’s work in breaking apart the rock, then evaporates to a gas and comes back out the hole and is recovered.
GreenHunter Energy, a shale and fracking wastewater treatment company, released their 2012 financials on Monday. The headline they tout is that annual revenues were up a huge 1,444% in 2012 over 2011. However, total revenues for 2012 were just $17.1 million. Hey, we’ll give GreenHunter their due that the company is growing nicely, so hat’s off to them. But the company is still relatively small. In addition to $17.1 million in revenue, they had a write-down of a project in 2012 that caused them to register a net loss to shareholders of $21.2 million for the year. Doing a little math, we find that GreenHunter went in the hole $4.1 million for the year.
You may recall that GreenHunter now owns six barge terminals in PA, WV and OH (see GreenHunter Buys Barge Terminal in Wheeling for Frack Wastewater). They have a lot riding on a decision by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Obama White House on whether or not to allow barge shipping of frack wastewater. If approval comes this year (it’s supposedly with the White House now), GreenHunter will likely see black ink on the ledger for 2013.
An article in the Youngstown Vindicator asks the question of whether or not the illegal dumping of frack wastewater in the Mahoning River by D&L Energy owner Ben Lupo (see Youngstown Wastewater Dumper Pleads Not Guilty in Federal Court) has contaminated water supplies down river—particularly in Beaver Falls, PA. Beaver Falls gets its water from the Beaver River, which in turn gets its water from the Mahoning River where the dumping took place.
According to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, Beaver Falls noticed "some problems" but the incident probably had "just a minor effect." That’s not much comfort for residents in Beaver Falls who wonder whether or not they were drinking polluted water…
It looks like the Oneida County, NY legislature is poised to ban non-existent fracking on county-owned land in a vote scheduled for 2 p.m. this afternoon. In one sense, this is an empty political gesture—Gov. Cuomo hasn’t approved fracking, so there’s nothing to ban. Plus, the proposed ban would only involve county-owned land, which is a tiny fraction of all land in Oneida County. You may say, “So what if they do ban it? No big deal, right?”
Here’s why this vote is important: Energy companies take notice of these things, and if drilling ever does come to New York (as most think will happen), drillers may be inclined to skip by Oneida County if they know the political leadership there, presumably acting with the consent of the majority of the population, doesn’t want fracking. If you live in Oneida County and favor drilling, you may want to attend the vote this afternoon and make your voice heard…
It’s crunch time as President Obama’s pick to head the Dept. of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, headed to his confirmation hearings beginning yesterday with U.S. Senators. More than 100 extremist anti-drilling "groups" have joined forces under the banner "Americans Against Fracking" (AAF) to throw verbal tomatoes at the good doctor. AAF sent a letter (full copy embedded below) to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The letter is signed by 100 individuals masquerading as groups, asking the Senators to reject Dr. Moniz because of his "deep ties to the oil and gas industry."
It doesn’t matter that Dr. Moniz is really smart—like Albert Einstein smart. He made a tragic error by uttering words no liberal can ever utter without dire repercussions: fracking and natural gas are (gasp!) OK and will help get us to the alternative energy nirvana future. Such sentiments are just not acceptable to Food & Water Watch and the other eco-nut "groups" who signed the letter…