UTA Research: High Levels of Arsenic in Water Wells Near Drilling

dataTechnically this is not a story about the Marcellus or Utica Shale, but it is a story about fracking in shale, and making a splash among anti-drillers, so it deserves our attention and consideration. Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) have just published a peer-reviewed study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology titled, “An evaluation of water quality in private drinking water wells near natural gas extraction sites in the Barnett Shale Formation” (full copy embedded below for MDN subscribers). The study looks at 100 water wells in the Barnett Shale region of north Texas. UTA researchers used data from the 1990s–before horizontal drilling and fracking began in the region–and data from their own tests conducted in 2011.

What does the data show? It shows about one-third of the water wells have dangerously high levels of arsenic in them–levels that did not exist in the 1990s. The study’s authors theorize the high levels of arsenic can be tied to fracking and drilling, although they are quick to admit the arsenic did not come from drilling fluid contamination. How then, can you blame fracking?…
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Different Strokes for Different Upper Devonian-Drilling Folks

Different drillers have (surprise!) different opinions when it comes to whether or not drilling in the Upper Devonian Shale (UD) layer is a good idea to do now or later. They all seem to indicate the UD will get drilled, it’s only a question of when.

The three different strategies of EQT, CONSOL and Range Resources with respect to the UD:
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Harrison County Ticked Off at Road Damage from Drilling Trucks

Trucks going to and from Utica Shale drilling sites in Harrison County, OH are damaging the roads, and County Commissioner Dale Norris says “the honeymoon is over” with respect to shale drilling in the county.

Norris says commissioners will consider adopting new regulations in the next few weeks to assess a permit fee for trucks using local roads, so they have money to fix the damage caused by the drilling industry…
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“Notable Increase” in WV/PA NatGas Production from New Pipelines

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published a brief article in their online “Today in Energy” publication that points out natural gas production for both dry gas and wet gas has gone up in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania because of new infrastructure–pipelines and processing plants.

Here is the EIA article, complete with nifty chart showing the rather dramatic increase in daily production:
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Wastewater Company Nuverra: Too Much Success in Marcellus/Utica

Nuverra Environmental Solutions (formerly Heckmann), a company that recycles and otherwise disposes of shale drilling wastewater and leftover rock and dirt from drilling, decided to release the “bad news” ahead of an earnings call on August 8 that 2Q13 profits will not meet expectations. They’ll show earnings of a measly $165.5 million. Nuverra has a growing presence in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region.

So what were the challenges in 2Q13 that caused Nuverra to falter financially? Believe it or not, one of the reasons for their “poor” financial showing is stronger than predicted growth for their business in the Marcellus/Utica. The strong growth forced them to parcel out work to subcontractors, which costs more than having your own employees do the work. Nuverra says they’re now ramping up and expanding their own people in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Access Midstream 2Q13: Marcellus Throughput Passes 2 Bcf/d Mark

Access Midstream Partners (formerly the midstream division of Chesapeake Energy) released its financial and operating results for the second quarter of 2013. The report shows revenue was up a whopping 70.9% from 2Q12, with natural gas throughput on their pipelines increasing 27.9% from 2Q12. The Marcellus is credited with some of that increase.

Access says their gas throughput recently sailed past 2 billion cubic feet per day in the Marcellus…
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Talisman 2Q13: Marcellus Production Down, 20 New Wells Coming

Talisman Energy, a driller with operations both on- and off-shore in the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions, released its second quarter results today. The report/update is long. Talisman doesn’t say much about the Marcellus in the report, but what they do say about their drilling in the Marcellus is interesting, so we’ve extracted out those references and we present them below.

Bottom line: Marcellus production volumes have gradually declined due to no new drilling (because of the low commodity price of natgas), but Talisman plans to reverse that trend…
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Fracking Service Calfrac Revenue Down, Marcellus Work Up in 2Q13

Calfrac, a  Canadian oilfield services company that provides shale fracking services for drillers worldwide, including in the Marcellus Shale, issued their second quarter update today. Calfrac reports revenue was down from a year ago (14%) due to low gas prices and bad weather in Canada. However, they also report an uptick in business coming from the Marcellus.

Selected sections from the Calfrac update mentioning the Marcellus:
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