Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jun 28, 2013

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:

New York

Wait game continues in New York over hydrofracking
Buffalo Business First
Referring to the challenges of natural gas development as manageable and the benefits too great to ignore, Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York wants state leaders to take note of President Barack Obama’s recent comments about how natural gas is driving climate change. “Today, we produce more natural gas than anybody else,” Obama said on June 25 at Georgetown University. “So we’re producing energy. And these advances have grown our economy, they’ve created new jobs, they can’t be shipped overseas. And, by the way, they’ve also helped drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly 20 years. Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America.”


Federal investigators looking at Jan. 16 emergency at Ohio oil well
Akron Beacon Journal
Federal environmental regulators are investigating a January chemical emergency at an Ohio oil well and asking why an inventory of the facility’s chemicals wasn’t available to local authorities, according to a letter released Wednesday by a coalition of activists. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed its investigation of the Jan. 16 incident near St. Marys in Auglaize County in an April 26 letter to the coalition. The alliance comprising the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, the Sierra Club, ProgressOhio and others said it received the letter May 31.

Ohio Supreme Court Accepts Jurisdiction in “Home Rule” Case
The Ohio Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction over the closely watched “home rule” case State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp. At issue are the state laws which give the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole and exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas permitting, stimulation, production and completion over local ordinances to the contrary. Initially a trial court in Summit County determined that the City of Monroe Falls had the right to enforce its own application and permit requirements for oil and gas wells. The court of appeals disagreed and ruled that only ODNR had such powers. The Ohio Supreme Court is poised to make the final determination in a ruling that can be expected in the next year.

Production Beats, Efficiencies Will Drive E&P Stocks Higher
Gulfport, Utica Production Growth Around The Corner. Well hook-up pace set to improve in the second half now that the main 20′ trunk lines are complete. GPOR still expect to have about 50+ wells online by the end of this year (10 producing now, with 3 more expected by end of this month). Meanwhile, GPOR has made good strides on well costs. Four wells have been completed without intermediate casing, which has the potential to reduce well costs by up to $1mm, but near-term benefits might be limited to about $0.5mm.


Is Pa. getting its fair share from gas boom?
Harrisburg Patriot-News
As if the debate over the state budget and its subplots isn’t enough to keep you interested, some state lawmakers in western Pennsylvania are bickering over whether the Keystone State is getting a big enough piece of the Marcellus shale pie. On the one hand, legislative Democrats say an impact fee intended to help counties counter the public cost of gas exploration isn’t generating enough revenue, The Post-Gazette reports. On the other are Republican legislators who say the fee is generating more than enough for county governments.

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Royalties Bill
Penn State Marcellus Shale Law Blog
On June 25, 2013, the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 259, which added restrictions for royalty payment information. SB 259 would revise the information included in royalty check stubs that producers are required to provide to landowners. The bill provided for similar changes to regulations for oil and gas lease royalty payments as HB 1414.

Zupp v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.
Penn State Marcellus Shale Law Blog
On June 18, 2013, the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied a landowners motion for reconsideration of a May decision that found a 2007 oil and gas lease was still in effect. In the May decision, Zupp, Plaintiff, brought suit against Cabot, Defendant, seeking a declaration that an oil and gas lease was no longer in effect. The lease between the two parties stipulated an initial lease term of 5 years for Cabot to explore for oil and gas that was extended as long as oil or gas was produced in paying quantities. In dispute were “continuous operation” and “well shut-in” provisions that the Defendant relied on when extending its occupation of the Plaintiff’s land.

PA Legislation Would Mandate Use of Closed Systems for Non-Freshwater Fluids
A bill was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would require use of closed containment or loop systems for all non-freshwater associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Introduced by Representative Karen Boback, who represents parts of Luzerne, Wyoming, and Columbia counties, House Bill 1546 would prohibit the use of open impoundments to store “any produced liquids, treated water, hydraulic fracturing fluid or industrial wastes,” and would mandate the use of “closed containment system” or “closed loop system,” as defined in the bill.


Pagliuca Says Shale Boom Will Lead U.S. Recovery as Rates Rise
Bain Capital LLC’s Stephen Pagliuca said headwinds to the U.S. economy such as rising interest rates and the government’s debt burden will be partially offset by cheap oil and gas from the country’s shale reservoirs. “The salvation of the United States is the big oil and gas boom going on right now,” Pagliuca, a managing director at Bain, said today at a conference in New York sponsored by the nonprofit organization Youth Inc. “This shale boom will last a long time. We can be a net exporter by 2020.”

12 free-market groups opposing break for ethanol from natural gas
Akron Beacon Journal
Twelve free-market public policy organizations today released a joint letter urging House Members to oppose H.R. 1959, The Domestic Alternative Fuels Act of 2013. The bill would allow ethanol derived from natural gas to count toward the federal government’s mandatory blending targets established by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the EPA’s implementing regulations. While commending Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) and his co-sponsors for seeking to break “the corn lobby’s legal monopoly on a significant and growing share of the U.S. motor fuel market,” the coalition letter argues that the solution is to repeal market-rigging regulations, not empower another special interest to share in the spoils.

Eco-groups pushing for Massachusetts’ fracking ban
Akron Beacon Journal
Environmentalists are pressing Beacon Hill lawmakers to back a bill that would ban the practice of fracking in Massachusetts. Fracking refers to the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing that pumps pressurized water mixed with sand and chemicals into well holes to crack open fissures in the ground.

As Obama ponders fate of Keystone XL, 37 U.S. pipeline projects are planned or under way
Financial Post
President Barack Obama may or may not approve the Keystone XL pipeline, but it seems like the oil will continue to flow across North America. Oil pipelines in the United States are undergoing a historic realignment in response to new production in the Eagle Ford development in south-central Texas, redevelopment of older production in the Permian Basin and new flows of oil from the Midwest and Canada that have oversupplied Midwest markets. Here is an updated list of 38 projects planned or under way in the United States, including the controversial Keystone XL…

How to cut electricity bills? Switch to natural gas
NBC News
Buying an energy-efficient appliance is a regular tip for cutting energy bills. The new twist: picking an appliance that uses a different kind of fuel. Consumers haven’t exactly been clamoring for natural gas appliances. Market share for gas-powered furnaces, water heaters and clothes dryers has declined slightly since 2003, according to 2013 figures from the American Gas Association. Ownership of gas ranges has held steady.

P&G Makes Push Into Natural-Gas Trucking
In a statement, the consumer products giant says it will shift up to 20% of truck shipments in North America to vehicles using natural gas by 2015. The program will start in July. P&G will collaborate with eight logistics providers to implement the fuel change, which is expected to lower carbon emissions by 5,000 metric tones. In the first phase of the program, P&G will migrate 7% of its for-hire trucking network to natural gas-powered vehicles in 16 states. Those trucks will deliver products from the company’s popular brands, including Ivory, Bounty and Tide.

‘Add Natural Gas’ Ad Campaign To Promote New Type Of Cars
Green Car Reports
On Tuesday, six prototype cars powered by natural gas for their first 60 or so miles and by gasoline thereafter were unveiled in Washington, D.C. Now, the natural-gas industry is taking them on the road to “drive a conversation about the benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel for consumers”–complete with ad campaign. The advertising effort, under the tagline “Add Natural Gas,” focuses on the vehicles and the idea that consumers can drive a majority of their regular daily mileage using compressed natural gas.