Is Chesapeake Robbing Graves in OH Village…or Getting Robbed?

grave robberWe can see the headlines now: Chesapeake Energy is a (Gas) Grave Robber! Wait until the anti-drillers get hold of this story… Chesapeake has struck a deal with the Village of Salineville (Columbiana County), OH to lease and drill under 17 acres at the Woodland Cemetery. The deal stipulates no surface disturbance of any kind (a very good idea).

But who is robbing whom? Listen to the deal the village got: Chesapeake is paying Salineville $44,145 annually for five years, plus 15% royalties. The annual payments add up to $220,725, or if you think of it as a signing bonus stretched over 5 years, it’s $12,984 per acre. Wow!! That’s perhaps the highest per acre signing bonus we’ve heard of in the entire Marcellus or Utica Shale. Kudos to the Salineville board members who suckered negotiated the deal with Chesapeake…
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Federal Approval for Barging Frack Wastewater Very Close

Has there been movement at the federal level to approve barge shipments of fracking wastewater? Going by the recent comments of John Jack, vice president of business development and operations for GreenHunter Water, we would say the answer to that question is very much a “yes”. MDN has told you about GreenHunter’s fracking wastewater recycling/barge facilities–now seven of them in the Marcellus/Utica region. The most recent such facility to win approval (and now being built) is in Wheeling, WV (see Wheeling, WV Approves GreenHunter Frack Wastewater Facility).

The holdup on barging frack wastewater down the Ohio River to locations where there are injection wells for permanent disposal has been an alphabet soup of federal government agencies who need to approve it, including the EPA, OMB, DOE, DOT and Coast Guard (see The Long (Federal) Road to Approve GreenHunter’s Barge Terminals). Going by John Jack’s recent comments, the long wait is almost over…
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Bluegrass NGL Pipeline Hits Brick Wall in the Bluegrass State

In a touch of irony, the Bluegrass Pipeline–a proposed new natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will stretch from the Utica/Marcellus region all the way to the Gulf Coast (see Williams, Boardwalk Announce Marcellus-to-Gulf Coast NGL Pipeline)–has hit a brick wall in the Bluegrass State–Kentucky.

Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline, co-owners of the project, maintain that because the Bluegrass Pipeline is an interstate pipeline they can (if need be) invoke eminent domain to force landowners to let them lay the pipeline under their property. Kentucky Energy Secretary Len Peters says not so fast. His team of legal beagles has researched it and they say the Bluegrass Pipeline does not have eminent domain status in the Bluegrass State. We see a legal show-down on the horizon…
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PA Researcher: Breakthrough Fracking Technique Reduces Water Need

Paul Krumrine, a PA-based researcher for SiGNa Chemistry, is working on a new technique for extracting shale gas. It appears he’s on the verge of a breakthrough. The new technique has progressed to the point it’s now patented and SiGNa is shopping it around to drillers for field tests. The technique developed by Krumrine uses sodium silicide (SiGNa specializes in uses of sodium silicide) in a chemical reaction to create incredible amounts of pressure and lower the amount of water needed to hydraulically fracture a well. It also dramatically reduces the concentrations of certain materials in flowback water that returns to the surface.

A bit more about this intriguing new innovation:
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PA Auditor General Spreads Rumor of Problems at DEP

Pennsylvania’s Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, is an anti-drilling Democrat who took office in January 2013. On his very first day on the job he targeted the Marcellus Shale industry and the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (see Newly Elected PA Auditor General Targets DEP First Day on Job). DePasquale wasted no time in issuing a letter to the DEP, telling them he was about to launch a year-long anal exam of the agency and its “protection” of PA’s water resources as relates to shale drilling. Mike Krancer was the Secretary of the DEP at the time and told DePasquale in so many words, “bring it on” (see PA Auditor General Targets State’s Marcellus Drilling Industry).

DePasquale has issued an–update? Guidance? Interim report? Helpful suggestions? Nope. He’s issued innuendo and unspecific rumors against the DEP to the reliably anti-drilling editorial board at the Scranton Times-Tribune. Here’s what he said to a group of sycophantic and unquestioning reporters yesterday–or rather what he didn’t say but insinuated…
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Univ of Michigan Reports Explore Future of Fracking in MI

The University of Michigan is in the midst of a two-year project called the Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment. The project, which ultimately hopes to help guide policy on shale drilling in the state, is being overseen and under the umbrella of the Graham Sustainability Institute at U-M (a potential red flag if you ask us). The first round of analysis is now done. Yesterday, researchers released seven technical reports–think of them as tutorials or backgrounders or “get the facts established” reports. In our brief scan they look helpful and unbiased (we’ve gathered all the reports together in one document, embedded below so you can read or download it).

The upshot from the reports? Michigan has lots of shale gas, particularly in the Utica-Collingwood shale layer, that may one day be mined. However, Michigan’s shale gas is located deep, and with the current low price of natural gas and the abundance of gas in shallower plays (like the Marcellus), Michigan won’t see significant drilling for a long time, which gives policy makers time to “get it right” when it comes to regulations…
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Partisan PA Budget & Policy Center Pushes Extreme Tax on Marcellus

Look at this asinine headline from the Philadelphia Tribune: “Policy Center reports Marcellus Shale not beneficial.” And this equally asinine opening sentence: “Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center – a nonpartisan policy research that provides analytical data on a host of statewide initiatives – has waded into the controversial Marcellus Shale drilling in the state…” The PA Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) is anything but nonpartisan. It is an extreme leftist, partisan, liberal organization where anything that moves or breathes (and even if it doesn’t move or breathe) needs to be taxed so politicians can use the money for their own walking-around purposes. In keeping with their philosophy, the PBPC’s prescription for Marcellus Shale drilling in PA is to ramp up the tax on it–or it’s no good. No benefit at all for PA residents.

What utter absurdity. Did the PBPC even bother to visit places like Susquehanna County, PA before making such ludicrous pronouncements? We doubt it…
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