Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jul 1, 2013

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

New York

Want to Improve NY Health? Promote Natural Gas, Now.
Natural Gas Now
If the New York State Assembly is so worried about the health of the citizens of that great state, then it ought to be looking to how it could expand the use of natural gas, instead of trying to shut down the industry.


Sales activity grows 21.1 percent in 2012 in Ohio’s shale counties
Akron Beacon Journal
Ohio’s shale counties have seen a 21.1 percent increase in total sales activity in 2012, according to a Cleveland State University study. That fact surfaced recently as a conference organized by the National Academy of Engineering in Cleveland. But the numbers warrant a closer look.

Drilling bonanza benefits some, bypasses others in Noble County
Youngstown Vindicator
Farmers who struggled all their lives to pay the bills can see a future, almost within reach, of island vacations and college funds for the grandchildren. The money would come from the oil and gas industry, which has put drilling rigs on some of the tallest hills and is digging the paths for pipelines. “About everybody up here is going to benefit from the ruckus and the mess, so it’s not so hard to take,” said Wayne Miley, a farmer whose family has been on the same Noble County land for more than 200 years. But the big money has not yet arrived. That will happen if, or when, the companies begin paying production royalties, which have the potential to be much more than residents receive in signing bonuses for mineral-rights leases and pipeline rights of way.

Fracking waste keeps rolling into Ohio from other states
Columbus Dispatch
The shale drilling boom that has helped create a huge supply of cheap natural gas continues to bring more and more fracking waste into Ohio. In 2012, 14.2 million barrels of fracking fluids and oil and gas waste were injected in Ohio disposal wells, according to data compiled by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. That’s a 12 percent increase from 2011. That increase was driven by waste removed from Marcellus shale wells in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. State data show that Ohio disposal wells injected 8.16 million barrels of waste from other states, a 19 percent increase from 2011.

The link between Utica Shale and manufacturing’s holy grail
Cleveland Plain Dealer
To understand the significance of the CEO of the world’s largest company’s recent speech at the City Club of Cleveland, consider the May cover of The Atlantic: “We Will Never Run Out of Oil.” The Atlantic is hardly a mouthpiece for the American Petroleum Institute. That makes the cover story’s assertion that shale oil and gas is driving America toward energy independence and transforming the global energy future even more jaw dropping.

Shale offers residual business to region
Bucyrus Telegraph Forum
The landscape of north central Ohio may not be dotted with fracking wells from one horizon to the next, but don’t be fooled. Hydraulic fracturing, or what those in the oil and gas industries call the Utica Shale play, is already transforming the ways of doing business for many ancillary industries in this region. Still, its impact is only beginning. That was the message of a wide-ranging forum on economic opportunities in Ohio shale development at the Deer Ridge Golf Club in Bellville. The event was aimed at local business owners who could benefit from signing contracts with energy companies involved in the state’s shale play.

Some gas & oil drillers force access
WKSU NPR Public Radio
It’s true. Under some circumstances oil and gas drillers can use little known state laws to force their way under your property even if you won’t sign mineral-rights deal with them. But, the state’s new regulations may make it harder for that to happen.

By 2-1, Ohioans support natural gas drilling, survey says
Akron Beacon Journal
Ohioans continue to show strong support for drilling for natural gas, according to the latest results from the Quinnipiac Poll. Support for drilling in the Utica shale was 2 to 1. Among those polled, 67 percent supported drilling and 26 percent were opposed with seven percent undecided. Republicans supported drilling more than Democrats: 83 percent to 51 percent. Independents supported drilling with 68 percent. Men favored drilling more than women: 71 percent to 67 percent. Support is strong among those with college degrees and those without, from all income groups and from all age groups. The results are similar to similar polls by Quinnipiac since early 2012.


NWPOA to DRBC: Vote or be Sued!
Natural Gas Now
The Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance has issued a letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission insisting the agency act upon the regulations it developed two years ago to regulate natural gas development in the basin and promises to litigate if there isn’t action soon.

Pa. Senate panel OKs gas drilling health study
Columbus WBNS Channel 10
A bill to create an advisory panel to study health issues related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling is advancing in the Pennsylvania state Legislature. The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee approved the bill unanimously Friday night. It still requires full House and Senate approval before it could go to the desk of Gov. Tom Corbett. The chief sponsor is Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County.

Spotlight on Women in Business: July 2013
Pittsburgh Magazine
Amelia Roncone had been working for a year as a neurovascular nurse at UPMC, but she quickly discovered that it wasn’t the right fit for her. So, she reached out to as many resources as she could, asking if any of her contacts had suggestions for how she could get into the oil and gas industry. Roncone had extensive experience in the restaurant industry, and when a family friend suggested she bring food out to the oil rigs, she jumped on it. Slowly she began building contacts, and the idea took off and transformed into her very own business, Amelia’s Elegant Catering.

Senate Environmental Committee holds hearing on royalty issues
Penn State Marcellus Shale Law Blog
On June 27, 2013, Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a hearing about royalty transparency and the calculation of post-production costs in Pennsylvania oil and gas leases. Further, the question of what costs incurred by operators are categorized as post-production was discussed at the hearing. The committee hearing centered on testimony from county commissioners from Bradford County, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and National Association of Royalty Owners, as well as industry and legal representatives involved in the Marcellus play. The discussion focused on the accessibility of information on cost-deductions to landowners and how the state should regulate the calculation of cost deductions by producers.

West Virginia

A downside to development
WV MetroNews
The rapid development of Marcellus shale gas production in northern West Virginia has been a huge boost to the region’s economy. However, the opportunities have come at a price to some. Lisa Badia, Executive Director of the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless, recently told state lawmakers the boom in natural gas has forced some people onto Wheeling’s streets. The average rent rate recognized by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency three years ago was $610 a month. However, with drilling companies sending workers into the region, landlords have more than doubled the average cost of a basic rental property.

W.Va. DEP Formally Adopting New EPA Air Regulations
West Virginia Natural Gas Blog
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled public hearings for its 2014 proposed legislative rules. The state’s natural gas industry should take note of two of the proposed air rules – 45 CSR 16 and 45 CSR 34 – both of which adopt amendments to EPA regulations that became effective October 15, 2012. Provided are overviews of these rules that have been prepared by Joe Jenkins, an associate at LGCR and a former Senior Counsel at the W.Va. Department of Environmental Protection…

Recent State Supreme Court Decision Defines “Surface” In West Virginia
West Virginia Natural Gas Blog
In a June 13, 2013 decision, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia overruled a 1923 holding that the word “surface,” when used in a deed, is ambiguous on its face and always subject to interpretation with extrinsic evidence, setting forth a more useful and concrete definition and interpretation framework. The opinion, written by Justice Menis Ketchum, is based on the long held principle in West Virginia that if the intent of the grantor in an instrument is clear and unambiguous, the Court has no right or province to alter it.


Energy Secretary Moniz Defends Safety of HF
Energy in Depth
The President’s Climate Action Plan this week reinforced the important role natural gas production will continue to play in America’s energy future. And according to Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, the states are critical in making sure this development is properly carried out.

America’s Cheapest Natural Gas: Marcellus Gas Falls To $2.89: Bad News For Coal Generation
John Hanger’s Facts of The Day
Marcellus natural gas closed on Friday at $2.89 or about 23% cheaper than the $3.56 price Henry Hub gas. Whenever gas anywhere falls below $3 for a thousand cubic feet, that is a major energy market event. Marcellus gas is substantially cheaper not only compared to gas at Henry Hub but also to gas traded at Panhandle East, the second lowest spot price on Friday, and Haynesville gas in Louisiana. Panhandle East gas closed at $3.36 or about 17% higher than Marcellus gas. Across the board, spot natural gas prices have fallen approximately 50 cents per thousand cubic feet after going above $4. Prices below $3.50 make natural gas much more competitive with coal, while gas priced below $3 is a coal generation killer.

The Real Reason Upstream MLPs Will Continue To Acquire
Seeking Alpha
Upstream MLPs, that is, Master Limited Partnerships engaged in the production of oil and gas, are a potent tool in an income investor’s bag. Many shy away from these companies because of their exposure to oil and gas prices, reliance on non-GAAP financials, and most of all their high levels of debt. Critics of the upstream MLP cite a continued need to acquire, and thus pile on ever-increasing debt, in order to offset their depleting stock of assets.

How to reap the rewards of the shale gas boom
Christian Science Monitor
In the early part of 2008, I began delving into the big story of the day in North Texas and Dallas, the prolific activity from the recovery of natural gas in the Barnett Shale. At the time, other shale plays were being explored as well, such as the Fayetteville play that confirmed the Barnett’s results; the Marcellus was just being sized up. I was challenged with attempting to figure out how to communicate what shale could be physically described as — in essence, a dead ocean from a geologic perspective.

Fracking activists unhappy with Obama’s speech
Akron Beacon Journal
President Barack Obama’s speechlast week on climate change forcefully rejected some key arguments made by opponents of natural gas fracking, upsetting some environmental groups that otherwise back his climate goals. Obama, in his address Tuesday calling for urgent action to address climate change, praised what he called “cleaner-burning natural gas” and its role in providing safe, cheap power that he said can also help reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Some environmental groups advocate a total rejection of all fossil fuels and an all-out effort to switch to renewables such as wind turbines and solar panels.

Fracking Opponents Disappointed In President Obama Being Reasonable On Natural Gas
Science 2.0
Dr. Daniel P. Schrag, a climate adviser for President Obama and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, told the New York Times we need “a war on coal” – so we kind of know what the president thinks there, and the president simultaneously endorses nuclear power while he cuts funding for the projects he just endorsed, the same way he said he would fast-track an extension to Keystone XL after he overruled his own government scientists and told them to keep studying it until they found something wrong so he wouldn’t have to approve it. In 4 years he spent a large chunk of $72 billion on corporate porkbarrel for ‘green’ energy companies so we know he likes some energy projects – we are just not sure he likes the kind that actually work.

U.S. natgas rig count climbs from 18-year low – Baker Hughes
The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States rose by four this week after posting an 18-year low the previous week, data from Houston-based Baker Hughes showed on Friday. The gas-directed rig count edged up to 353 this week after dropping last week to its lowest since June 1995. It was the first gas-directed rig count gain in six weeks.

Is Fracking on the Verge of Drying Up?
The Motley Fool
There’s a fracking research study likely to be unleashed in the next several months on University of Tennessee land about an hour from the main campus in Knoxville. Several companies, including Pittsburgh-based Atlas Energy, appear likely to submit proposals to participate in the effort by the August deadline. Atlas has already completed 450 natural gas wells in a four-county area of Tennessee.