Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Aug 8, 2013

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

New York

Chesapeake Energy Gives Up Legal Battle
WETM Channel 18 Elmira/Corning
Chesapeake Energy has given up a two- year legal fight to retain thousands of acres of natural gas drilling in New York State. The company held the gas rights to nearly 230,000 acres across eight counties in the Finger Lakes region, including Cayuga, Livingston, Steuben, Ontario and Chemung. Ashur Terwilliger, head of the Chemung County Natural Gas Coalition says the settlement would be a major win for the landowners who battled the company in court over lease extension. He says this could allow those landowners to renegotiate new deals with other drillers at a higher rate, if New York State eventually ends a five-year fracking ban. But Terwilliger says it may be too late to lift the moratorium. “It gives landowners a chance to renegotiate a better contract if we haven’t driven them away…Chesapeake has pulled out..most of the companies have pulled out of New York State,” he says.


Gulfport Energy: The Utica’s Premier Player
Seeking Alpha
The first operator to an oil and gas resource play is often times not the best. When it comes to the still-nascent Utica Shale, Chesapeake is often credited as the earliest mover. Unfortunately, Chesapeake is undergoing a debt-reduction program which will renew their focus only on “the core of the core.” This means Chesapeake will be selling some Utica assets. Also, Chesapeake’s greatest Utica exposure is to dry gas. The higher returns are in liquids: Natural Gas Liquids (NGL), condensate and especially oil. And for this, the best name in the Utica is not Chesapeake but a mid-cap E&P Gulfport Energy.

Ohio has 831 Utica shale permits with 466 drilled wells
Akron Beacon Journal
Ohio has approved 831 Utica shale permits, through Aug. 3. Of that total, 466 wells have been drilled and 122 are in production, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. A total of 32 rigs are drilling in Ohio. Twelve new permits have been approved: two in Belmont County, two in Carroll County, one in Columbiana County, one in Harrison County and six in Noble County.


Fracking services firm has Monessen seeing green
Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter
Green Field has already opened shop in Monessen. It began operations two months ago in a facility where Maronda Homes once constructed roofs for homes it builds, just up the hill from the Monongahela River. Mayor Mary Jo Smith’s careful wielding of the scissors made the opening official. The company’s core business is the fracturing services it provides for oil and gas drillers. Green Field touts itself as being the only company in the world that uses turbine-driven fracking pumps that can function using 100 percent natural gas.

Fracking Brings Employment
Heartland Institute
Signs of pride and prosperity were evident all over Williamsport and the gorgeous northern Pennsylvania countryside around it. Friendly, happy people greeted us. New cars, trucks, hotels and restaurants sparkled in a clean, bustling downtown. New roofs topped barns and houses, while late model tractors worked the fields. Formerly dirt roads are now paved. Men and women again have high-paying jobs, young people are coming back instead of moving away, their salaries are supporting other businesses and jobs, and many are taking college programs in oilfield technical and business specialties, Vince Matteo told me. As president and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce, he’s witnessed the transformation.

Secrecy Demands Came from Hallowich Family
Natural Gas Now
The Hallowich case in southwestern Pennsylvania keeps producing headlines for our fractivist friends but they always turn out to be little more than smoke and mirrors when one digs into the facts and circumstances.

West Virginia

IGS Energy building more CNG fueling stations in shale gas country
Columbus Business First
IGS Energy CNG Services in Dublin is advancing its plan to build compressed natural gas fueling stations in shale gas country, breaking ground Tuesday on a facility in Charleston, W.Va. The project carries an estimated price tag of $2 million to $3 million, said an IGS spokeswoman. The station, at a Bigley Foodland grocery store site, is expected to be completed in November. As I’ve reported, IGS is focused on developing CNG fueling stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania where wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays are producing large volumes of natural gas.


Energy Department approves LNG export facility in Louisiana
Akron Beacon Journal
The Obama administration has approved a plan by Lake Charles Exports LLC to export U.S. natural gas from a terminal in Louisiana, overcoming concerns that greater amounts of exports will result in higher natural-gas prices at home, the Wall Street Journal reports. The approval, granted Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Department, is the third by the Obama administration to ship out liquified natural gas. There are more than a dozen export proposals still pending before the Energy Department. Energy companies are seeking to take advantage of a swift increase in U.S. natural-gas production and robust demand for natural gas around the world.

New Tools Pinpoint Natural Gas Leaks, Maximizing a Fuel’s Green Qualities
New York Times
Natural gas is hailed as green and safe, but its environmental benefits and ability to temper climate change are reduced by its tendency to leak into the air undetected. Now, laser technology, some of it borrowed from the telecommunications industry, is giving engineers and scientists crucial new tools to measure leaks and track them to their source. Pacific Gas & Electric, which operates in northern and central California, has begun training employees to use the technology, a portable gas detector that was recently used in a car driven 785 miles through the streets of Boston.

How Big a Problem is Methane Leakage from Natural Gas Fracking?
IEEE Spectrum
By now it should be evident to all that hydraulic fracturing is a disruptive technology in every sense. With natural gas prices still in free-fall because of fracking, competition from gas-fired generation continues to lay waste to plans for new nuclear power—the most recent casualty being Duke’s Levy project in Florida—while threatening investment in futuristic green and clean tech. Fracking is the most important single element in the dramatically improved energy position of the United States, and the main factor in the country’s much lower greenhouse gas emissions. The one thing that could slow the gas juggernaut is concern about methane leakage, which, because of CH4’s high warming potential relative to CO2, could cancel benefits believed to accrue from conversion of coal to gas generation. There is evidence, however, that concerns about methane leakage may be somewhat exaggerated.

Dems want climate review of natural gas exports
The Hill
Several Democrats want a “thorough” Energy Department (DOE) look at how a surge in U.S. natural gas exports would affect climate change. The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change recommendation arrives as the DOE weighs roughly 20 industry applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). “LNG exports have the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by reducing coal use in other countries, but there are significant uncertainties about whether this potential will be realized,” the task force said in a report to the department Tuesday. The call for a review shows up in a wide set of policy recommendations to the DOE from the bicameral group of climate hawks led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).


Lush Cosmetics Powders with Petrol While Crusading Against Shale Gas
Natural Gas Now
A company appropriately called Lush Cosmetics is funding an anti-fracking campaign in the UK, all the while blithely ignoring the fact its products are hydrocarbon based. Its US operations also help the Rockefeller family fund