Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Jul 24, 2013

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

New York

Advocates push to limit use of wastewater created by hydrofracking
Troy Record
Drawing the line against a controversial drilling technique used to extract natural gas from underground rock formations in nearby states like Pennsylvania, nearly two dozen activists joined with local lawmakers in urging Albany County to limit what can be done with the driller’s wastewater. Focusing on the process known as hydrofracking, the activists held signs disparaging what they called “brine” and said it is essential to prevent the wastewater from being used to de-ice county roads this winter.


Study Shows US Oil Production Booming, No Thanks to Ohio
Northeast Ohio Public Radio
A recent Harvard University study shows the United States is poised to become the world’s largest producer of oil in the next four years thanks to shale drilling in several states. But as ideastream’s Michelle Kanu reports, Ohio won’t be a significant contributor.

ENGlobal signs deal in Utica shale after selling Gulf Coast business
Houston Business Journal
ENGlobal Corp. has taken on a $5 million contract with Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC to provide engineering and procurement services at its Leesville, Ohio, cryogenic processing plant. The deal is the first announced for ENGlobal since last week, when it sold its Gulf Coast engineering operations to Furmanite America Inc., a subsidiary of Furmanite Corp. in Houston. The work will consist of services for a control room condensate stabilization unit, site grading and design integration services for a 200 million-standard-cubit-feet-per-day unit. The Houston-based engineering company expects to begin work on the project immediately, and completion is set for the second quarter of 2014.

Bricker & Eckler expanding its shale play with Marietta office
Columbus Business First
Bricker & Eckler LLP has opened an office in Marietta to get closer to its many clients in southeast Ohio and the potential oil and natural gas boom in the Utica shale play. The Columbus-based firm said the office will initially have one attorney, Flite Freimann, a litigator who focuses on oil and gas issues, plus an office manager. In addition, attorney Chris Slagle, chairman of Bricker & Eckler’s government relations group, will serve as partner-in-charge of the Marietta office, dividing his time between there and Columbus.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson pushes energy independence
Warren Tribune Chronicle
Comparing the effort to achieve energy independence to President John F. Kennedy’s call to land on the moon in the 1960s, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson believes the new mission is vital. Johnson, R-Marietta, said Monday that House Republicans are making a push toward what he believes is a true “all-of-the-above” approach to a national energy policy. Representing Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, which is flush in reserves of natural gas and coal, Johnson said fossil fuels must continue playing a major role in providing energy to the nation. He refers to the concept as the “American Energy Vision 2020” plan.

Ohio State, WVU Team Up for Shale Research
Energy in Depth
Ohio State University is again announcing big news concerning research on Ohio’s shale development. Just four months after announcing a research partnership with West Virginia University, Ohio’s largest public university has announced an interest in studying a working shale well on university land. OSU owns mineral rights to 780 acres around their research station in Noble County. The school’s Shale Water Management Research Cluster is looking to use the well to research subjects such as waste water treatment. The University of Tennessee has a similar plan to study hydraulic fracturing on 8,600 acres of university-owned property in Tennessee’s Cumberland Forest.


Anti-fracking effort uses fear, not facts, to shape opinions
Evansville Courier & Press
Frackophobes would be astonished to see how much Anadarko, America’s third-largest natural gas producer, obsesses over the environment in its Marcellus Shale operations. Anadarko and the American Petroleum Institute discussed these practices during a late-June fact-finding tour they sponsored for opinion writers and other media. Among the things Anadarko showed us is that it identifies flora and fauna near production sites. In Pennsylvania, it uses outdoor cameras to determine which animals traverse the area. This helps Anadarko work with landowners to restore their property, postproduction.

Supervisors: It’s Too Early In Negotiations To Vote On Gas Lease
North Strabane Township supervisors on Tuesday tabled a decision regarding a Marcellus Shale gas lease. Supervisors said it was too early in the negotiation process to vote on a non-surface lease between the township and either Range Resources or Rice Drilling. The non-surface lease would consist of 81.8 acres of property off state Route 519 – which would include the municipal building and new multi-million park. While these leases generally include a per-acre upfront payment and percentage of any royalties, those details were not discussed publicly.

Grad researcher studies impacts of Marcellus Shale development on wildlife
Pennsylvania, a.k.a. Penn’s Woods, is roughly 60 percent forest, with the largest unbroken block of trees spanning the state’s north central region. “This region is one of Pennsylvania’s greatest resources,” says Penn State graduate student Lillie Langlois. “Since the logging era it has re-established itself to contiguous mature forest. A lot of wildlife depend on that habitat for breeding.” Within the past six years, however, the rapid expansion of Marcellus Shale drilling has been breaking up the block.

Landowner disputes with Chesapeake hit a boiling point in northern Pa.
Energy Wire
Local officials and landowners, including the Van Curens, are accusing Chesapeake Energy of cheating them out of royalty payments by imposing large fees for “post-production” costs. Since January, with gas prices remaining persistently low, the cash-strapped driller from Oklahoma City has sliced off more than 80 percent of the Van Curens’ monthly royalties in the form of a fee for the cost of transporting gas through gathering pipelines.

West Virginia

Oil and gas mineral owners: How to pursue a better offer
WV State Journal
The production of natural gas from wells drilled horizontally into the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia began in December 2007 — just over five years ago. Now, leases that were signed in the land rush that followed and have the typical five-year primary term are beginning to expire. “Over the next two years, a great deal of these leases are going to roll off,” said Morgantown lawyer Stephen K. Shuman, who includes oil and gas law in his practice at Reeder and Shuman in Morgantown.


The Five Biggest Fracking Fables
Natural Gas Now
The fracking fables surrounding natural gas development, like Aesop’s, seem to hang around a while and every now and then it’s important to go back and remind ourselves of the facts, which absent repeating, will get lost in all the storytelling.

Shale Oil And Gas Development Is Heavily Regulated
In Gasland, Director Josh Fox ’s first fake documentary about hydraulic fracturing, or ‘Fracking’, the false claim was made that the oil and gas industry is somehow exempt from the Clean Air Act and other major federal environmental laws. Mr. Fox continues to make this false claim – often referring to it as the Halliburton Loophole – despite it having been completely and thoroughly debunked, even at liberal blog sites like The Daily Kos, which recently had this to say on the subject…

Republicans Seek to Limit Obama Climate Plan in 2014 Budget
Bloomberg Businessweek
House Republicans proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by a third and denying funds for a key part of President Barack Obama’s plan to combat global warming. The House Appropriations committee’s panel that oversees the EPA will consider cutting $2.8 billion from the agency’s 2014 budget, and prohibit the administration from spending on greenhouse-gas rules for power plants, the centerpiece of Obama’s climate plan. The budget for the year starting Oct. 1, which will get a vote tomorrow in the subcommittee, also would bar the EPA from imposing new curbs on sulfur in gasoline and on the use of water by power plants.

US Senator asks for GAO report on oil, gas transportation safety
US Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller has asked the General Accountability Office to examine the impact of shale oil and gas development on pipelines, rail and other transportation infrastructure and safety, in light of the Lac Megantic, Quebec, train disaster. In a letter Friday to GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, the West Virginia Democrat said booming domestic production from the shale revolution has increased the transportation of hazardous products through existing infrastructure and led to the construction of new infrastructure.

Natural Gas Liquids: A Revolution Within the US Shale Boom
Energy Tribune
While it is no longer unexpected news that the U.S. is in the middle of an unconventional oil and gas boom, thanks to fracking technology and horizontal drilling that has opened up previously unrecoverable shale oil and natural gas deposits, what is largely still unknown is that a revolution is underway within the shale boom itself. It’s the development of natural gas liquids (NGLs). Though ignored by most media and even oil and gas executives, there is abundance of NGLs to exploit and for healthy profits, especially in light of current low domestic natural gas prices.

Natural gas prices are up 60% and still cheap
Fuel Fix Blog
Natural gas prices were up nearly 60 percent in the first half of 2013, compared with the same period last year, but they were still too low to inspire new drilling in much of the country, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Contracts for future delivery of natural gas currently are selling at about $3.70 per million British thermal units, just below the $3.75 average for natural gas in the first half of 2013, the agency said. In 2012, natural gas sold for an average of $2.39 through the first half of the year, the agency reported.

Two Months Later: Action by DOE on LNG Export Applications Remains Elusive
Center for Liquefied Natural Gas
In May, shortly following the Department of Energy (DOE) approval of the Freeport LNG’s permit to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade agreement (non-FTA) countries, DOE signaled that it could process pending LNG export permits in 60 day intervals. Such a long interval between processing permits is unacceptable and would mean some applicants must wait over two years to have their permit considered, even though their dockets are closed and no new evidence can be considered in the approval decision by DOE.

Looking at the Duke Study
Cabot Well Said
Earlier this week, researchers from Duke University released a statement regarding the prevalence of methane in private water wells in an attempt to tie these issues to being caused by the natural gas industry. The following is the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s response that highlights the scientific data and understanding – of both the industry and several organizations including the USGS – that demonstrates the prevalence of pre-existing, naturally-occurring methane is not a direct result of industry activity.

The Shale Revolution: Interview With Oppenheimer’s Fadel Gheit
Seeking Alpha
The following interview took place as part of a virtual conference on The Shale Revolution: Profiting from the American Energy Renaissance organized by CCG Investor Relations.


Chevron Anticipates Europeans Prefer Fracking to Putin
Chevron Corp. plans to win over eastern Europeans with the idea of energy independence even after dry wells and government delays led Exxon Mobil Corp. and Talisman Energy Inc. to scrap efforts to tap natural gas deposits in Polish shale. Bringing shale drilling to Europe from North America promises to help the region ease years of dependence on Russian fuel and hurts the Kremlin’s ambition to secure the country’s future as an energy superpower. Use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, upended the U.S. gas industry, which overtook Russia as the biggest producer, driving prices to a decade-low.