U.S. Passes Saudis (Oil) & Russia (NatGas) to Become #1 Worldwide

Number 1None other than the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report on Friday that says the United States will pass Saudi Arabia to become the #1 oil producing country in the world, and will pass Russia to be the #1 natural gas producing country in the world–THIS YEAR. How? Why? Shale energy, of course. No wonder the Saudi’s are worried (see Top Saudi investor says US energy boom could doom kingdom’s economy) and even the braggadocio Vladimir Putin is showing signs of concern (see Worried by shale gas, Putin calls for new energy strategy).

This is really big news folks…
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NY Frack Ban Cases Make (Glacial) Progress, Some Dates to Share

In August MDN told you that New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, would hear the twin cases of Dryden and Middlefield (see BREAKING: NY Court of Appeals will Hear Dryden/Middlefield Case). There are two things that keep shale drilling away from New York right now: (1) Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spineless inability to take a stand and do the right thing to allow it, and (2) the Dryden/Middlefield cases. MDN believes the court cases are the more important of the two. Cuomo will come around sooner or later–he has to. However, if the court says a majority vote from a local town board can ban fracking thereby denying property rights for landowners throughout an entire township–that’s the death knell for drilling in New York. No sizable driller will gamble with hundreds of millions in lease money to see a local town simply vote to shut it all down. Too risky. (For our analysis of the New York situation, see the post: Anti-Drillers Attempt a Brave Face with NY Appeals Court Decision.)

So the Dryden/Middlefield cases are of supreme importance in the fight for property rights and to allow drilling for New York’s landowners. What’s the latest in those all-important cases? They’re moving along at the speed of a glacier–but at least we now have some dates to share…
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Carrizo’s New Drilling Strategy: Closer Well Spacing

An analysis by brokerage firm Sterne Agee turns up an interesting strategy change by Carrizo Oil & Gas. Carrizo is a driller in the Utica Shale. They also have active drilling in the Eagle Ford “oily” play (in Texas).

The interesting change-up in their strategy? In the Eagle Ford Carrizo is experimenting with well spacing. Currently the company spaces wells on 105-acre sections. But lately they’re trying it on 80-acre sections, which allows them to place more wells on their leased acreage. Will they use the same strategy in the Utica?…
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Strange Twist: Rep. Jesse White Calls His Own Words “Hate Speech”

For some time MDN has chronicled the sad story of western PA Rep. Jesse White, an anti-driller with a grudge against Range Resources who turned to using fake online IDs in order to trash talk his own constituents (see How the Mighty Have Fallen: PA Rep White Admits Guilt, Not Sorry). White eventually (months later) saw the error of his ways when he was outed at Harvard summer school and his “peers” told him “Jesse, you done wrong” (see PA Rep. White Says Fake IDs were “Error in Judgment”).

So get this. Some of White’s constituents, rightly outraged that he is still in office, put his own fake ID words on a big poster board and showed it at an information table set up at the local Fall Festival at an area park. Local Democrat officials were miffed that someone had the audacity to tell the truth about one of their own–in public! Some of the local Dems resigned from their respective boards in protest over the booth. Jesse called his own words on that poster “hate speech.” Huh? That’s right–the fact that someone took his exact words and showed them to local residents (because the media continues to fail to do its job), and White said it’s hate speech. Yeah Jesse, we’re glad you agree that what you previously said is indeed “hate speech”…
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Aubrey Leases More Land for Drilling — in the Northern Utica!

The puzzle pieces continue to fall into place with respect to the deals being done by former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon in the Utica Shale. Last week MDN told you about a joint venture between McClendon’s new company, American Energy, and Red Hill Development, to lease land for drilling in southeastern Ohio–counties like Guernsey and Harrison (see McClendon’s Utica Company Does JV with OH Driller, Drilling Soon). We now know about a second joint venture–this one with Great River Energy–a new production company formed through a partnership between McClendon’s American Energy and Texas firm Orange Energy Consultants.

The surprise about this new jv? They’re leasing land in Columbiana and Carroll counties, north of what is thought to be the “sweet spot” in the Utica wet gas area. Looks like Aubrey just can’t stay away from the northern Utica!…
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Walkin’ and Talkin’ and Prayin’…To Seneca Lake?

Saying that “every body of water has a spirit” and attempting to communicate with that spirit, later this week a small group of (wacko) anti-drillers intend to walk 80 miles around Seneca Lake, NY to pray to the lake spirit that no evil fracking comes to harm the little water nymphs that live in the lake. Or something like that.

We long ago gave up on trying to figure out these people…
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Gasland II Starlet Leaves Anti-Drilling Behind, Adopts “Realism”

What’s this…one of the stars of Gasland II, someone who trash-talked the shale drilling industry in Dimock, PA has changed sides? Yep. Well, sort of. Victoria Switzer has given up what she calls “tunnel vision” and has adopted “realism.” She says, “Realism is good.” She no longer calls for a halt to drilling in PA and instead wants to ensure it’s done safely–by working with industry and regulators. Welcome to logic and sanity! Glad to have you on our side.

Watch out Josh Fox: Switzer is not the only former anti-driller now whistling a different tune…
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Crestwood/Inergy Complete Their Merger Today, Worth $8B

MDN told you last week that Crestwood Midstream and Inergy Midstream were close to consummating the merger of their two companies and that it would be coming soon (see Crestwood/Inergy $7B Merger Update: Combined Boards Announced). Looks like soon is today.

A press release from Friday says today, Monday, the final paperwork will be filed and the two companies will officially be merged. The new company will take the name Crestwood Midstream Partners and starting tomorrow it will trade on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol of CMLP. The two companies together, contrary to previous estimates, will be worth $8 billion (not $7B previously reported), a true midstream giant…
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More Details on Ashtabula, OH Gas-to-Liquids Plant

A few weeks ago MDN told you about a new gas-to-liquids plant coming to Ashtabula, OH (see Utica Shale Gas-to-Liquids Plant Planned for Ashtabula, OH).

Another story, this one in Crain’s Cleveland Business, provides a few more details about this $300 million plant that will convert Marcellus and Utica Shale gas into chemicals and even diesel fuel…
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