Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jul 5, 2013

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


Ohio has issued 756 Utica permits with 374 wells drilled
Akron Beacon Journal
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has issued 756 Utica shale permits, as of June 29. Of that total, 374 wells have been completed, of which 109 wells are in production. A total of 32 rigs are drilling in Ohio. Nine new permits were approved: three in Carroll County, one in Columbiana County, one in Guernsey County, three in Noble County and one in Trumbull County.

It’s Now Clear A Single Energy Company Will Dictate The Fortunes For Much Of Ohio
Business Insider
We recently met with a delegation from Ohio to discuss how Buckeye staters have benefitted from oil and gas production from the Utica shale formation, on which they sit. Of course, the state has long suffered from the decline of its industrial manufacturing base. But the delegation cited a study from research group IHS suggesting the Utica could generate 143,000 and generate $18 billion for the economy. And one company is overwhelmingly responsible for developing those resources: Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy.

Potesta opens Ohio office
Charleston Gazette
Potesta & Associates, Inc., an engineering and environmental consulting firm, has opened a new branch office in Cambridge, Ohio. Headquartered in Charleston, Potesta provides civil, chemical, environmental, geotechnical and mining engineering services, surveying, permitting, site characterization and remediation and general environmental consulting.

Chesapeake Kicks Off Summer of Giving Back to Ohio
Energy in Depth
Chesapeake Energy kicked off this summer’s Operation Blue with three great community service events throughout their operating area. Operation Blue is an annual campaign in which Chesapeake employees volunteer for four hours of company time. The project started back in 2009 as part of the company’s H.E.L.P. (Helping Organize Local Progress) Initiative to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary. In just five weeks, employees were challenged to perform 20,000 service hours. The challenge was completed with more than 26,000 hours.


A First-Hand View of Fracking in the Marcellus Shale
Energy Trends Insider
It’s easy to talk about the shale gas revolution in the abstract and forget that it is the cumulative result of thousands of operations in locations across the country. It combines the technological marvel of precisely planned and executed drilling more than a mile below ground with the efforts of teams of skilled workers on the surface, and affects the surrounding community in many ways. Last week I had my first opportunity to visit one of these sites, near Williamsport in north-central Pennsylvania. I also saw several nearby sites in different stages of development. Although I was consistently impressed, I also tried to observe with the concerns of shale gas critics in mind.

Private security, private eye or flaggers on public roads: judge asked to decide gasfield case
Washington, PA Observer-Reporter
A Fayette County family in litigation over Marcellus Shale and a resident who said a uniformed guard wrote down her license plate number after she stopped her vehicle on a public road near a pipeline project described that and other heavy-handed treatment by a security firm seeking a private detective’s license.

State should fund drilling health study
Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice
State lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett have shaken the tree of the natural gas industry for several million dollars worth of campaign contributions (and in a few cases, Super Bowl trips), but they won’t do the same thing to determine the industry’s impact on public health.

Drilling costs get speedier write-off
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Tucked inside a massive tax bill that won the support of Pennsylvania legislators Monday is a nod to oil and gas investors who’ve been battling with the state Department of Revenue for half a dozen years. Individual investors and company owners who report their oil and gas proceeds as personal income have been trying to get Pennsylvania to allow the same tax deduction on drilling costs as they get from the federal government. That is, a 100 percent deduction of intangible drilling costs in the same year the money is spent.

Wayne County landowners pledge suit unless drill ban lifted
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
A landowners’ group in northeastern Pennsylvania is threatening to sue the Delaware River Basin Commission over its three-year moratorium on natural gas exploration and production, saying the ban has imposed a heavy financial toll on thousands of people who leased their land for drilling, only to see the energy boom pass them by. The Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, one of the largest landowners’ groups in Pennsylvania with more than 1,300 families and businesses, said in a letter to the commission’s executive director that it will file a lawsuit unless the agency either schedules a vote on regulations that would allow drilling to begin, or steps aside and drops any plan to regulate the practice.

Cumberland County expected to fund green projects with Marcellus shale money
Harrisburg Patriot-News
Cumberland County commissioners will likely approve on Monday a list of projects slated to receive funding from Marcellus shale dollars being funneled down from the state. Greenway and Open Spaces Coordinator Stephanie Williams told the commissioners at their workshop meeting Wednesday all 18 municipalities and organizations, which applied for funding through the Land Partnership Grants Program, have been approved by the committee overseeing the program.

West Virginia

McCown Moving On Up at Gastar
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
After leading Gastar Exploration’s efforts to pump millions of cubic feet of natural gas daily in Marshall County, Michael McCown is getting a promotion. After serving as Gastar’s vice president Northeast, McCown is now the company’s senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Kanawha County Unveils Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Kanawha WCHS Channel 8
Kanawha County continues efforts to go green. The county’s commission unveiled its newest alternative fuel vehicles Wednesday. The county has added a 2013 compressed natural gas bi-fueled Chevy Tahoe and a 2013 propane bi-fueled Ford F-150 to its vehicle fleet. Commissioners also showed off the county’s CNG fuelmaker, which will service those vehicles.


Fracking opposition stepped up in N.E.
The Boston Globe
Opposition to the drilling technique known as fracking is growing in New England as lawmakers consider banning it in their states and environmentalists escalate protests. Petroleum industry officials say there’s little chance of fracking taking place in New England, but some environmentalists and politicians say they’re taking no chances. Vermont recently became the only state to prohibit fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, and similar legislation has come under consideration in Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut.

EPA’s Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat of Many
When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike. Industry advocates say the EPA’s turnabout reflects an overdue recognition that it had over-reached on fracking and that its science was critically flawed. But environmentalists see an agency that is systematically disengaging from any research that could be perceived as questioning the safety of fracking or oil drilling, even as President Obama lays out a plan to combat climate change that rests heavily on the use of natural gas.

Energy Industry Heavyweights Arguing Against Outright Ban On ‘Fracking’ In National Park
Environmental groups are fearful that a new blueprint for the 1.1-million-acre George Washington National Forest will open the largest federally protected forest in the East to a form of natural gas drilling that has spawned its own environmental movement. Years in the making, the much-anticipated plan outlines the management of the forest, from timber harvests to mineral resources to controlled burns. It is expected to be released in late August or early September and guide the forest’s use for the next 10 to 15 years. A 2011 draft of the plan proposed a ban on horizontal drilling for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing to pry the resource from a layer cake of shale.

Interior Department Endorses FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Website
Despite criticism of FracFocus by several environmental and academic groups, the outgoing Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department recently suggested the FracFocus website may be an appropriate device for the public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids while adequately protecting trade secrets. As reported by BNA’s Daily Environment Report, Deputy Secretary David Hayes, who is stepping down to take a teaching position at Stanford Law School, said that the Department of the Interior endorses the concept of a single registry throughout the country that contains as much information as possible. Hayes noted that although FracFocus is a work in progress, the Department of the Interior has been working closely with the FracFocus team to develop the disclosure platform.

Exco to buy Chesapeake oil and gas shale assets for $1 billion
Bloomberg/Akron Beacon Journal
Exco Resources Inc., a Dallas-based energy producer whose market value has dropped by more than half since 2010, has agreed to buy Chesapeake Energy Corp. assets in the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shale formations for about $1 billion. Exco is adding the equivalent of 6,100 barrels of oil production a day in the Eagle Ford and 114 million cubic feet of natural gas in the Haynesville, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Chesapeake Discovers the Price of a Costly Quest for Oil
New York Times
Chesapeake Energy is discovering the price of its costly quest for oil. Chesapeake is offloading another $1 billion of assets. It needs cash because even though it has found more crude in the United States in recent years than any rival, including Exxon Mobil, it spent too much to do so. The company’s founder, Aubrey McClendon, may be gone, but his painful legacy lingers. The low price of natural gas has taken a big toll on Chesapeake. The fuel accounts for about 75 percent of production. Its response, like that of competitors in the space, was a desperate search for more lucrative oil. Even critics would have to concede that in this regard the company succeeded.

Natural Gas Unfazed By Western Heat Wave, Decline To Low-$3 Range Looms
Seeking Alpha
Natural gas was unchanged near $3.65/mmbtu after the Energy Information Administration reported that operators injected 72 billion cubic feet into storage, within analyst estimates that ranged from 70 to 74 bcf. The injection was above last year’s build of 39 bcf, and above the five-year average build of 70 bcf. In turn, inventories now stand at 2,605 bcf, which is 497 bcf below the year-ago level and 25 bcf below the five-year average (calculated using a slightly different methodology than the EIA).


Repsol Delays First Shale-Gas Project in Spain After Frack Ban
Repsol SA, Spain’s largest oil producer, delayed starting to explore for shale gas in the north, where a local government has outlawed drilling projects that use water-intensive hydraulic fracturing. The company had targeted July to begin seismic studies at its Luena project that extends over 290 square miles across the Cantabria region, where energy trade groups say Spain’s richest shale gas deposits lie.