Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jun 7, 2013

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

New York

Natural gas pipelines benefit local economy
WBNG TV (CBS) Channel 12
How do the pipelines that carry natural gas impact the local economy? The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce brought that discussion to its “Eggs and Issues” breakfast. Speakers talked about how pipeline transmission is increasing accessibility to natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale.


Drilling lease signing is long-term, life-changing financial and land use deal
Youngstown Vindicator
Signing an oil and gas drilling lease or selling one’s mineral rights is a life-changing event that could affect a landowner for many decades, and it calls for an immediate and thorough approach to tax and financial planning, according to a supervisor with a prominent local accounting firm. An IRS spokeswoman also emphasized the importance of immediately setting enough money aside to pay taxes on large, lump-sum, initial-lease signing bonuses.

Rig security essential to oil and gas industry’s operations
Youngstown Vindicator
As the domestic-energy boom evolves and drilling continues to ramp up in shale plays across the country, oil and gas companies here face unique security challenges. In all, there are more than 32 shale plays nationwide. According to oil-field services company Baker Hughes, there were 1,769 oil rigs drilling across the country in early May. “We know that more companies will come to Ohio for all the oil and gas underneath the ground. As they come here to get those resources, there’s going to be a big push and a big need for personnel to staff and protect those rigs,” said Edwin Lard, chief executive officer of the Diplomatic Protection Training Institute in Youngstown. “I don’t want to say it’s common sense, but to us it makes total sense, because when you spend millions of dollars on a rig, you’re going to want to protect it.”

Chesapeake Must Face Ohio Suit Over Royalties, Court Says
Bloomberg Businessweek
Chesapeake Energy Corp. must face an Ohio lawsuit over allegations the company underpaid gas royalties for years, an appeals court said, reinstating the case. The lawsuit, brought as a class action on behalf of Ohio leaseholders, alleges that a Chesapeake predecessor company began by 1993 to “deliberately and fraudulently underpay the full gas royalty due” and that Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake continued the practice after taking over the leases in 2005.

Dayton-area universities provide training for Ohio’s burgeoning energy industry
Dayton Business Journal
The University of Dayton and Wright State University will provide training for Ohio’s emerging natural gas and crude oil industry. The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, or OOGEEP, has compiled a list of programs offered by the two schools that provide training for jobs in the industry. OOGEEP already has posted 75 careers in the oil and gas industry that will be needed in-state, and identified 70 education institutions that provide industry-approved training programs. WSU and UD are the two schools in Montgomery County.


Shale boom: Pa. leading the way in May
Farm and Dairy
Across the state line in Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection reported issuing 171 permits and 131 wells were drilled during May. Sites in Greene County, a county south of Pittsburgh, received 33 permits for drilling and eight wells were drilled in that county during May. The permits were issued to Alpha Shale Reserve LLP; EQT Production Company, Chesapeake Appalachia, Chevron Appalachia, LLC and Vantage Energy Appalachia LLC.

Shale mappers detonate explosives, raising concerns
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
State and federal agencies have allowed a company mapping the Marcellus Shale gas formation to detonate 10 of 131 underground charges it installed without authorization on a mine-reclamation site in Fayette County. And the state Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration could soon allow detonation of many of the rest.

Pittsburgh Presbytery ends ban on shale gas leases
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Pittsburgh Presbytery has ended a yearlong moratorium on shale gas leasing and development on church property, which could clear the way for construction of a gas pipeline across its Crestfield Camp & Conference Center near Slippery Rock where 3,500 children and adult visitors a year attend ministry camp. The decision not to renew the year-old ban on shale gas development was made by approximately 230 voting members of the Presbytery at its May 9 meeting after a spirited discussion, and did not follow the recommendation of a special Presbytery shale gas task force that proposed extending the ban for another year.

Cumberland County commissioners dispute allocation of Act 13 money, again
The Sentinel
Come July, Cumberland County should see another installment of Act 13 grant money trickling in from the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund. Greenways and Open Space Coordinator Stephanie Williams said Thursday that the planning department expects a $190,000 allocation from the state program to be awarded to the county. Cumberland County Commissioners then decide who gets to use that money.


McClendon targets $1bn funds for new group
Financial Times
Aubrey McClendon, the controversial former chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, is attempting to stage a comeback by trying to raise $1bn in capital from private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds for his new company. Mr McClendon set up American Energy Partners earlier this year after being forced out of Chesapeake following a shareholders’ revolt. The company intends to buy onshore US oil and gas assets and aims to “build a best in class” exploration and production company, according to its website. Mr McClendon has approached several buyout firms and sovereign wealth funds about investing in AEP, said people familiar with his plans. It is not yet clear if any of them has committed capital to the company.

BLM extension warranted; many questions remain
American Petroleum Institute
Erik Milito, API director of upstream and industry operations, acknowledged the BLM’s 60 day extension for comments related to the proposed hydraulic fracturing rule released in May and said that many questions remain unanswered: “Industry will need the time to effectively review and comment on all of the existing various state and federal agency regulatory activities that overlap with much of what BLM is proposing. States have led the way in regulating hydraulic fracturing operations while protecting communities and the environment for decades.”

Appeals Court Clarifies Definition Of “Adjacent” Under The Federal Clean Air Act
In Summit Petroleum Corp. v. US EPA, 690 F.3d 733 (6th Cir. 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned the US EPA’s finding that a natural gas sweetening plant and approximately 100 gas wells scattered across a 43-square-mile area in Michigan should be treated as a single source for purposes of Title V of the Federal Clean Air Act. The case turned on whether the plant, wells, flares and pipelines were located on “adjacent properties” for purposes of the Title V permitting program, which requires the aggregation of individual sources in making major source determinations if certain requirements are met. In a split decision, the Sixth Circuit applied the plain meaning of the term “adjacent” and rejected the US EPA’s longstanding reliance on functional relatedness in conducting an adjacency analysis.

Volatility Evaporates in Natural-Gas Market
Wall Street Journal
Volatility has collapsed in the natural gas market. One measure of volatility, the day day-to-day price moves on the futures market, has shrunk by more than two-thirds over the past eight years, a Wall Street Journal analysis of price data shows. Booming U.S. gas production has led to fewer supply disruptions, smoothing out the big ups and downs that once dominated the market for natural gas. “If you’re looking for big swings, it’s not the greatest market to trade,” said Aaron Calder, analyst at Gelber & Associates, a Houston energy consulting firm.

Should Natural Gas-Powered Cars Run On CNG, LNG … Or Gasoline?
We should use natural gas to power vehicles. But wouldn’t it be a lot easier if we could turn natural gas into gasoline? Some thoughts on the future of automotive fuels.