New Rough Patch for Norse Energy: Force Majeure Lawsuit

lights out?Is this lights out for Norse Energy in New York State? The company owns leases for some 130,000 acres of land in New York State. All of it is in either the Marcellus or Utica Shale play window with 33,000 acres in the liquids-rich area, according to Norse. Just one problem: New York has not allowed drilling going on five years. That delay caused Norse to file for bankruptcy last December (see Norse Energy Hurt by NY Fracking Delay Files for Bankruptcy).

Norse has tried valiantly to hold on, even through bankruptcy. But now they have a different problem: A group of 89 landowners with a collective 6,314 acres in Broome, Chenango and Madison counties who signed with Norse are suing the company because Norse sent a notice of force majeure. Force majeure means the leases, which otherwise would now be expired (after five years), can be kept in place until New York opens up to allow drilling. The landowners and their lawyer say the moratorium on fracking is not an unforeseen “Act of God” circumstance which would trigger force majeure–Norse says it is. Who’s right?
Continue reading

Range Resources Updates Investors (and Us) on Marcellus Efforts

Range Resources, the very first company to drill a Marcellus Shale well in southwestern PA in 2004, updated investors at the UBS Global Oil & Gas Conference yesterday. Range had some interesting things to say. Most interesting (for MDN) is the PowerPoint presentation (see a copy embedded below). The presentation is full of useful charts and maps about their operations in the Marcellus and Utica region (slides 12-24).
Continue reading

Gov. Cuomo Says Poor Jobs Report Won’t Sway Him on Frack Decision

NY Gov. Andrew “The Ditherer” Cuomo continues to, well, dither when it comes to deciding whether or not it’s time to frack in New York. The very place where Marcellus and Utica Shale gas is found in abundance in the state–the Southern Tier areas of Binghamton and Elmira–are also the very places at the bottom of the economic heap. Recent jobs numbers show Binghamton and Elmira dead last or near last in job creation. Which is a pity because if fracking were allowed, that would change overnight.

Andy’s response to the prospect that fracking would help create jobs in his state where they are most needed? I’ll dither a while longer…
Continue reading

Reporter Defends Moderating Pro-Drilling NY Forum

Apparently the anti-drilling reporter/book author Tom Wilber, who has taken “the devil’s money” (from pro-drillers) to moderate an upcoming forum in Albany, NY (see Shock Moderator for JLCNY’s Drilling Education Session in Albany), is feeling the heat from his anti-drilling buds. He’s penned a halfhearted defense of his decision to moderate the pro-drilling forum on his blog, Shale Gas Review
Continue reading

API Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Think NatGas Exports Good

The American Petroleum Institute, the premier organization that represents the drilling industry in the U.S., hired Harris Interactive to poll Americans on their opinion about exporting natural gas. The results (full copy embedded below) are very revealing. Some 71% of American adults either agree strongly or agree somewhat with the statement that exporting will create jobs here at home. A majority also agrees exporting makes us more secure and reduces our trade deficit with other countries.
Continue reading

Deloitte Report: Shale Revolution is Bridge to Renewable Future

Consulting firm Deloitte has just released a new white paper/report titled “America’s newfound power: What the U.S. should do to capitalize on the shale and renewable energy revolutions” (full copy embedded below). The paper’s premise or theme is this: Natural gas and oil from shale should be a bridge to a lower-carbon future. The white paper’s author, Joseph Stanislaw, believes shale gas is a means to a renewable energy end. Is he right?
Continue reading

Anti-Drilling Sportsmen Group Endorses BLM Fracking Rules

Reaction to the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new rules for fracking on federal lands (see BLM Releases Revised Rules for Fracking – Why it Matters) has been mostly negative–from both sides of the drilling debate. The American Petroleum Institute thinks the rules are completely unnecessary and add an extra layer of regulation, i.e. go too far (see Questions still surround BLM hydraulic fracturing regulations). The Sierra Club doesn’t think the rules go far enough (see Sierra Club Statement on the Bureau of Land Management’s New Fracking Rules).

However, MDN is happy to report there is one contingent from the political left embracing the new BLM fracking rules: The innocent sounding (but extremely partisan) Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development. The Sportsmen (and presumably Sportswomen) of that group think, like Goldilocks, that BLM’s rules are “just right”…
Continue reading