Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Aug 14, 2013

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

New York

Back to Realville, Where Shale Gas Is Our Energy Future
Natural Gas Now
I recently read that Tammy Reiss of Unadilla took a biking trip through wind country in Lewis County, NY. She talked to friendly, well paid employees of the Iberdrola wind farm complex and observed tidy farmsteads existing in harmony with a local energy source. She contrasted that with fossil fuels’ destruction of the planet and implied renewables are the key to the future. Ms. Reiss sent us a picture postcard, but here’s Realville. We live in a carbon based society because carbon based fossil fuels provide a cheap, abundant, efficient energy and heating source and supplies the chemical feedstock for millions of items that are the fabric of modern life. Regarding energy, renewables can’t compete in cost unless mandated by government and propped up with massive subsidies and tax breaks. Wind and solar are several decades away from the technology and systemic solutions in storage and transmission that give them a significant market share in energy. Finally, the world can’t wait. We need a bridge fuel. And that fuel is shale gas.

Waiting for NY’s Natural Gas Godot – A Shale Play in Need of One Act
Natural Gas Now
In the political psychodrama that is the natural gas debate in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has owned the role of Hamlet and played it to the hilt. His soliloquies of silence have kept audiences guessing and confounded the critics. To permit or not to permit – that is still the unanswered question begged by upstate’s continuing struggles and New York’s five-year-old moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. And though usually eager to command center stage, our governor avoids the fracking spotlight, unwilling to act, or even to seriously address the audience. His guarded indecisiveness is a long-running tragedy for the Southern Tier’s suffering economy and perhaps eventually for the governor himself.


Marcellus Shale Fuels Job Creation In Pa.
KDKA Channel 2
Matt Pittzarella of Range Resources joined KDKA’S Robert Mangino to discuss the steady job growth within the Marcellus Shale industry. “There’s an enormous difference between the growth in the oil and gas industry and the normal private sector,” said Pitzerella. According to federal statistics, job growth in the oil and gas industry has increased by 40 percent over a six-year period, while jobs in the private sector have increased by 1 percent. “This enormous boom that we’ve sustained over the years in oil and gas may have been the only thing that truly kept us out of falling into a true great depression as opposed to an extended recession,” said Pitzerella.

Pathetic Facts: Pennsylvania Has Just 44 Of America’s Pitifully Small 1240 CNG Fueling Stations
John Hanger’s Facts of The Day
I am not sure what is more pathetic. Is it that the USA, the world’s number 1 natural gas producer, has a pitiful 1,240 natural gas fueling stations? Or is it that Pennsylvania has just 44 of that ridiculous total? Yesterday, natural gas was being sold for the equivalent of $1.50 to $2.20 per gallon in the few natural gas fueling stations that are open to the public. With natural gas prices like that available, the motoring public is being ripped off every time they fill up with gasoline. For example, I paid last night $3.47 in Pennsylvania for dirtier gasoline.


More Marcellus drilling may be behind rig count uptick
Gas Business Briefing (paid or free trial subscription required)
A recent spike in the natural gas-directed rig count may be due to producers’ shifting even more heavily to the Marcellus Shale, where the number of drilling rigs keeps rising as new pipeline and processing plant capacity comes online, analysts said this week. The Baker Hughes report on August 9 showed 386 rigs nationwide drilling for gas — down two from the prior week, but up a sharp 11% from their 18-year low reached seven weeks ago. For the week ending August 2, the gas rig count jumped an unexpectedly high 19, to 388 — its sixth consecutive weekly gain.

Natural Gas Pipeline Causes Cornfield To Explode In Western Illinois
Think Progress/Climate Progress
A little after 11 p.m. local time in the western Illinois town of Erie, residents heard a massive blast and then saw flames shooting 300 feet into the air, visible for 20 miles. A cornfield had just exploded. Underneath the cornfield, a natural gas pipeline carrying gas byproducts ethane and propane had somehow ruptured, caught fire, and exploded, sending gouts of smoke into the air. Around 80 families within a one-mile radius of the blast were initially evacuated, though by Tuesday morning, all but two had returned to their homes.

Guest View: Harpoons to ‘fracking’ — Free market energy works
[Dr. J. Winston Porter is an energy and environmental consultant in Savannah, Ga. He is a former assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.] When free enterprise technology takes hold in energy production, it can bring about far-reaching changes. In 1846, New England was the capital of the world’s whaling industry. The U.S. whaling fleet consisted of 640 ships, a total three times larger than the rest of the whaling vessels in the world. Whale oil was used for lighting and to lubricate the growing volume of machines driving the industrial revolution. The whaling industry produced great wealth, as it became the fifth largest sector of the U.S. economy — but it was decimating the world’s whale population.

How Anti-Fracking Activists Deny Science: Air Emissions
Energy in Depth
It is often opponents of hydraulic fracturing who categorically ignore scientific studies that contradict their own beliefs. Whether it’s groundwater contamination or air pollution, earthquakes or well casing failure rates – the available data, when taken in their entirety, tell a fundamentally different story from what critics have alleged. More often than not, activists leverage anecdotes and examples devoid of their full context in order to cast the widest net and implicate “fracking” as an inherent threat – a “tornado on the horizon” that kills people, as activist Sandra Steingraber puts it. If anyone is “instilling doubt” about what most people would recognize as a consensus, it is more likely those committed to halting the use of hydraulic fracturing.

How Anti-Fracking Activists Deny Science: Water Contamination
Energy in Depth
No single source of criticism of hydraulic fracturing is more pronounced than the claim that it pollutes groundwater. “Fracking,” according to the Sierra Club, is “known to contaminate drinking water.” Food & Water Watch says hydraulic fracturing “threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend.” The Center for Biological Diversity begins its litany of criticisms of hydraulic fracturing with: “Contaminated water.” In his FAQ page, Gasland director Josh Fox says water contamination from fracking is “very serious.”

Northeast Basis Disparities ‘Continue Indefinitely,’ Says Credit Suisse
NGI’s Shale Daily (paid or free trial subscription required)
The elephant named Marcellus that has been sitting on Northeast-Henry Hub basis isn’t about to move along, and what used to be a premium market will see trades discounted to the U.S. gas benchmark for a while, analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note Tuesday. “…[T]he once Northeast premium market has all but dissipated today,” thanks to abundant supplies of gas from the Marcellus Shale, not to mention the Utica Shale, which has yet to come into its own. The analysts said average basis from the major Northeast trading hubs has fallen 35 cents year over year from an 11-cent premium to Henry Hub last August to a 24-cent discount currently.

Oil and gas industry now supports 8% of US economy
Energy Global
American Petroleum Institute (API) President, Jack Gerard, has released a new study from PwC US, demonstrating that the oil and natural gas industry supported 9.8 million American jobs in 2011. This represents an increase of more than 600 000 jobs in just two years. The study, which was commissioned by the API, examined the oil and natural gas industry’s economic contributions in 2011, an update to a previous report from 2009. Findings indicate that the industry now supports 8% of the US economy, up from 7.7% in 2009.

Mercedes Launches New Frugal Natural Gas and Diesel E-Class Models
Car Scoops
In recent years, even premium car manufacturers have started to offer models that run on natural gas. Mercedes-Benz is one of them, with the German carmaker launching the E 200 Natural Gas Drive, a successor for the pre-facelift E 200 NGT BlueEfficiency that can run either on gasoline or on natural gas. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine developing 154 hp (156 PS) and 270 Nm (199 lb-ft) of torque, the E 200 NGD sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10.4 seconds, with top speed rated at 220 km/h (137 mph).

Transportation at Leading Edge of U.S. Natural Gas Revolution
FOX Business
BP Capital Chairman and CEO T. Boone Pickens has been one of the most vocal advocates for using natural gas as transportation fuel. “It’s 30% cleaner than diesel, cheaper by two dollars a gallon,” Pickens said in an interview on FOX Business. “We have more natural gas than any other country in the world.” The transportation sector serves as a model of the changes Pickens envisions taking shape in coming decades. The heavy-duty truck industry is on the verge of making the switch from gasoline to natural gas now that companies have developed the necessary 12-liter engines, said Andrew Littlefair, CEO of Clean Energy Fuels, the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America. “This is really the test year,” Littlefair said.