Who’s Who in OH Utica Shale Drilling for 2013

Who's WhoInvestor’s website Market Realist ran a 7-part series on the Utica Shale yesterday–really good stuff. As part of that series they list the biggest drillers/leaseholders in the Ohio Utica Shale. It’s a very useful rundown and update on the latest positions held by the major players of the Utica. We’ve pulled and condensed from their article to give you the latest rundown on who’s who in the Ohio Utica Shale…
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DOE Sec. Moniz Says NatGas Both Problem and Solution

Obama administration officials, including the newly minted Ernest “Hair” Moniz, refuse to “debate” the mythology surrounding man-made global warming, declaring the debate is now over and that they have won a debate only just beginning! Whatever. In a speech yesterday at Columbia University, Moniz towed the Obama line that carbon emissions must be capped, especially from coal (today) and one day from natural gas too. However, the speech and the Q&A that followed weren’t all bad (from a pro-drilling perspective). Moniz is a realist, unlike many in his party. He recognizes that natural gas is a lower-carbon fossil-fuel bridge to a renewable energy future–and it’s a mighty long bridge (decades) at that.

Unfortunately we could not locate a transcript of Moniz’s speech, so we have to rely on skewed, anti-drilling reporting from Bloomberg:
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New Case of Earthquakes Related to an Injection Well in WV?

One of the gross inaccuracies MDN has tried to address over the past several years is the claim that “fracking causes earthquakes.” It does not. At least not measurable earthquakes people can feel at the surface. No less a source than the National Academies of Science released a study last year to “finally” put that particular myth to rest (see NRC Study: Fracking Does Not Cause Earthquakes). Unfortunately the earthquake myth is just too good a PR opportunity to pass up, so anti-drillers haul it back out about every three months for a new round of exposure.

The earthquake issue is confusing for many people because there is a loose connection between earthquakes and fracking: injection wells. Although most fracking wastewater is now recycled to be used again for more drilling, some of it is disposed of via deep injection wells. If an injection well happens to be located near a geologic fault, the pressure from the injected fluid has the potential to trigger an earthquake. It happened in Youngstown, OH in late 2011/early 2012 (see ODNR Finds Youngstown Injection Well Caused Earthquakes). According to a recent report from WV Public Broadcasting, it may now be happening again near a Chesapeake-owned injection well in Braxton County, WV…
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Marcellus Reshuffle? EIA Says WV/SWPA Luring Rigs Away from NEPA

According to the brains at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)–and we say “brains” in a very complimentary way–the northern panhandle of West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania together have formed an integrated “wet gas” drilling region that is luring drilling rigs away from the highly productive dry gas area of northeastern PA. Here is their analysis and reasoning, along with some nifty charts:
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MD Anti-Drilling Group Issues Challenges “Best Practices” Report

In June, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released a draft report (dated August 2013) of “best practices for drilling and production that should be required” (see Maryland Releases Draft “Best Practices” in Shale Drilling Report for a full copy). A Maryland group calling itself Citizen Shale has just filed extensive comments–in essence a challenge–on that report. The group attempts to apply the veneer of impartiality by stating they are neither pro- nor anti-drilling and only interested in what’s best for the environment.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Citizen Shale is clearly, strongly anti-drilling and hope their comments and challenges to the recent best practices report will stall and stretch out the approval process for fracking in Maryland…
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API to BLM: Proposed Fracking Rule Just Isn’t Needed

The Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a second version of a proposed federal rule for fracking on federal lands in May (see BLM Releases Revised Rules for Fracking – Why it Matters). There’s some, but not much, federal land in the northeastern U.S.–most federal land is located in the western U.S. In fact, according to an Energy Information Administration official, there’s not a lot of overlap between federal lands and shale plays (see EIA Deputy Says Most Federal Lands, Shale Plays Don’t Intersect). So what’s the big deal with the new rules?

The American Petroleum Institute thinks there’s enough of an overlap between federal land and shale plays that the BLM’s new fracking rule will cost drillers a boatload of money without achieving a whole lot in the way of safety or positive impact on the environment. The API is, in fact, recommending the BLM either revise their fracking rule for a third time to get it right, or better yet, just forget about the new rule altogether because it’s really unnecessary…
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Chevron Wins Right to Build Freshwater Pond for Fracking in PA

Last week the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a lower court ruling in favor of Marcellus Shale driller Chevron, declaring that Chevron has the right to construct a pond (“impoundment”) to hold fresh water used for fracking. The landowners in question (Mr. & Mrs. Humberston) did not want the pond constructed on 11 acres of their land but since the lease they signed did not specifically limit it, and since having lots of fresh water to frack with is a requirement for drilling (a reasonable expectation), the court ruled Chevron was within its rights to construct the pond…
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