Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Sep 24, 2013

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


Governor candidates split on fracking
Gaithersburg Gazette
After more than two years, Maryland continues to study if it can and should allow companies to drill for natural gas in its western counties. But a push by a Virginia company to export natural gas from Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay has drilling for natural gas causing pains on both sides of the state and the political aisle. Candidates for governor are starting to line up on both sides of the issue. “We absolutely need to take advantage of that resource, not just as another energy source but to put people to work,” Charles Lollar, Republican candidate for governor, said of natural gas.

New York

Fracking Is A Cause Célèbre for Shallow Minded Celebrities
Natural Gas Now
Certain celebrities, some talented and some not so talented, seem attracted to fracking as a cause célèbre but they ought to be looking at their energy use rather than criticizing others. Can’t they just shut up and entertain us?

Fracking Is A Cause Célèbre – Part II (Alec’s Place)
Natural Gas Now
There’s no end to the hypocrisy and ignorance on the part of celebrities opposed to fracking. Alec Baldwin illustrates, yet again, the seeming inability of celebrities to grasp reality when it comes to this subject.


Noble Co. Chamber Hosts Luncheon About Gas/Oil Industry Drilling Update
Daily Jeffersonian
With the oil and gas industry on the rise, to say that southeastern Ohio has seen an increase in economic growth would be an understatement. A current update about the industry was given during the Noble County Chamber of Commerce’s Lunch while You Learn with guest speaker Shawn Bennett, Director of Energy in Depth-Ohio. “I think we started seeing a lot happening about two years ago,” said Bennett. “It’s all interesting because no one truly believed it was happening. The good news is it’s happening, and the great news is that it’s happening in our area.” According to Bennett, about a year ago, Noble County was seventh in permits obtained, now they are fourth in the state.

Anti-fracking item won’t be on Ohio city ballot
Akron Beacon Journal
The fall ballot in one southeastern Ohio city won’t include an initiative seeking to ban the controversial high-pressure oil and gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The Athens County Board of Elections rejected the ballot initiative without elaborating, and supporters of the proposal tell the Athens Messenger it’s too late to make the Nov. 5 ballot. The proposal would have banned such drilling and related waste-disposal work in Athens, which is home to Ohio University. Similar bans are slated to be on fall ballots in Youngstown in northeast Ohio and in Bowling Green in northwest Ohio after protests against those initiatives were unsuccessful or were withdrawn. A spokesman for the group that backed the Athens proposal says it hasn’t decided on any next steps or possible appeal.


Expert: State’s gas industry remains strong
Williamsport Sun-Gazette
The average gas well in the Marcellus Shale is producing about the three times the amount of a well in the Barnett Shale in Texas, according to an industry expert. Terry Engelder, a Penn State University geoscientist, said there’s no reason to believe that natural gas resources to be found in Pennsylvania won’t be here for a long time. Engelder, 67, who spoke during a Penn State Cooperative Extension webinar Thursday, conceded that production levels for wells do decrease over time, but that’s no reason to believe the industry isn’t strong.

PA Drivers Will Be Able to Fuel Up With Natural Gas
Pennsylvania’s economic development team wants drivers to start filling up their cars with natural gas—and they’re willing to hand out taxpayer money to kickstart the trend. The Commonwealth Financing Authority recently awarded more than $2 million in grant money plus a $169,000 loan for five natural gas fueling stations. The goal is that incentivizing fueling stations will, in the long term, continue to grow the state’s Marcellus Shale-related job markets, said Steve Kratz, spokesman for the Department of Community and Economic Development. “The expanded use of natural gas vehicles in the state not only helps from a developing markets perspective, but it’s also better for the environment,” Kratz said.

Westmoreland County, Pa. to audit gas royalties
Shale Reporter
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County could earn up to $6.5 million this year in royalties from Marcellus shale gas drilling on its 8,000 acres. And officials want to make sure they receive every penny they are owed. So the authority board on Thursday hired a consultant to audit the books for the 32 deep wells, along with other gas-producing facilities, on its properties.

Tree clearing vast, but some timber not making it to market
Scranton Times-Tribune
Clearing trees for drill pads, natural gas pipelines, and the power lines, collectively amount to one of the largest clearing of land in the region’s history. Yet, few of the felled logs are making it to the skids or the mills because the companies downing them – oil and gas exploration companies and electric utilities – aren’t in the wood business. As the housing market makes a plodding rebound and prices across all wood grades edge up, the logs remain on property, stranded by the urgency of utilities and gas companies to get their energy delivered and the mounting cost of moving logs to market.


How the SEC Can Take Trillions of Cubic Feet of Natural Gas From 1 Company
The Motley Fool
Between Dec. 31, 2011, and the same date a year later, Chesapeake Energy saw 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent simply disappear from its proven reserves. No, it wasn’t from selling off a boatload of assets to cover its financial obligations, nor was it from production. The Securities and Exchange Commission took it — sort of. How does that work? Let’s take a deeper look at what happened to Chesapeake’s reserves and how this rule affects your energy investments.

Four Numbers Say Wind and Solar Can’t Save Climate
This month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will begin releasing its fifth assessment report. Like earlier reports, it will undoubtedly lead to more calls to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide worldwide. As the discussion unfolds, I would urge everyone to keep four numbers in mind: 32, 1, 30 and 1/2. These are the numbers that explain why any transition away from our existing energy systems will be protracted and costly. Let’s take them in sequence.

Dominion Resources Catches MLP Fever
Shares of Dominion Resources hit an all-time high last week. The catalyst: A proposed spin-off of the company’s natural-gas assets into a master limited partnership ((MLP)), with an initial public offering (IPO) in the second quarter of 2014. We’ve heard similar talk from Dominion Resources in the past. What makes this time different is management set a timetable. Dominion Resources has big capital spending plans, in natural gas as well as electric power in its regulated Virginia service territory. Current projections are for an average of $2.6 billion a year through 2018. And in recent years, launching MLPs has been one of the most reliable ways for companies to raise capital.

Chesapeake Declares Fresh Dividends
Chesapeake Energy is keeping its common stock dividend steady for the moment. The company has declared its latest set of quarterly distributions, the most prominent of which is a $0.0875 common stock payout to be disbursed on October 31 to shareholders of record as of October 15. That amount matches all of its preceding distributions stretching back to July 2011. Prior to that, Chesapeake was marginally less generous, handing out $0.075 per share.

The Big Picture on Shale Gas
Natural Gas Now
Some stories are so full of groundbreaking ideas that I can only recommend everyone read all the article in Foreign Affairs this week by Amy Myers Jaffe and Ed Morse. Morse is Chief Commodity Strategist for Citibank and makes a rare London conference visit to the FT Global Shale Summit next month in London. Even Josh Fox is on the menu at that one, and the likes of Ed and Christof Rühl and Charif Souki will eat him up. Amy Myers Jaffe is now at the University of California, but formerly of Rice University in Houston. She has a proven track record in being literally years ahead of the curve. Put them together and this is blue sky thinking at its best, all the better for being true.


European LNG Market Needs U.S. for Spot Cargoes, Eneco Says
Liquefied natural gas traders in northwest Europe won’t buy many short-term cargoes of the fuel until U.S. export projects boost supply and end the deferral of cargoes to Asia, according to Eneco Holding NV’s trading unit. At least six U.S. terminals need to start operating by 2018 to 2020 to increase shipments to Europe, according to Frens Geuzinge, head of gas structuring and origination at Eneco Energy Trade. The Rotterdam-based company hasn’t bought a spot cargo this year after contracting one in 2012, he said.