Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Oct 25, 2013

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

New York

EDF Emissions Study: Howarth v. Ingraffea
Energy in Depth
Last month, researchers from the University of Texas – in coordination with the Environmental Defense Fund and participants from industry – released a bombshell study on methane emissions from natural gas production. The findings suggested a leakage rate in line with EPA’s estimate, or roughly 1.5 percent. The study was widely acknowledged as good news, which is also why activist opponents of shale immediately tried to marginalize it with their typical talking points. One of those activists was Tony Ingraffea, the Cornell professor who co-authored an infamous 2011 study on the same topic that used many unwarranted assumptions in order to arrive at a high methane leakage rate for shale gas development. Indeed, the assumptions were so bad they seemed consciously misleading. Ingraffea’s response to the EDF study (which he blasted out to the press a few minutes before the embargo was lifted on the study) was a cornucopia of misleading theories, scripted talking points, and outright science denial.


Marcellus shale play production welcome news to supporters of Utica play
Columbus Business First
Some startling strong natural gas production numbers from the Marcellus shale play likely will be encouraging news to boosters of the adjoining Utica play in eastern Ohio. A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the Marcellus play will produce 12.65 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in November. That’s roughly 20 percent more than peak production in 2012 and more than six times higher than in 2009. “Everyone has been a little surprised, even the people who have predicted really high production levels,” said Sam Gorgen, an analyst at the federal energy agency. “It seems like the wells have gotten a lot better and infrastructure (problems) continue to be dealt with better.”

Columbiana County enters into its 90th oil and gas-related RUMA
When Columbiana County commissioners recently approved a road-use maintenance agreement (RUMA) with Cardinal Gas Services LLC of North Canton for 5.7 miles, it became the county’s 90th such agreement, Morning Journal News reports. All 90 RUMAs involve oil and gas drilling activities, and this latest one is for the Teegarden Gathering Line. The agreement “provides for the strengthening of infrastructure prior to the use of heavy equipment, repair and maintenance of the roadway and any bridges on the route [and for] the condition of those roads, including dust control, while oil and gas pipelines are built in that area through their completion.” These RUMAs have so far resulted in “more than $20 million in infrastructure upgrades to local roads, bridges and culverts,” the article said.


Seneca Resources’ Utica Shale Exploration Under Way In McKean County
The Bradford Era (paid subscription required)
A solitary, mile-long natural gas well in McKean County is the embodiment of an industry seeking out profits to offset the fallen price of its product. Seneca Resources, a subsidiary of National Fuel, announced in its fourth quarter report that it began testing the Mount Jewett Utica Shale well this month. It is increasingly commonplace for companies like Seneca to explore wet gas rich formations like the Utica in an attempt to offset the lagging price of dry natural gas or methane, which in 2012 hit a 10-year low.

Upper Devonian Shales Could Lead to More Energy Work
The Legal Intelligencer
By now, most Pennsylvanians have heard of the overlapping Marcellus and Utica shale formations. But there’s a third layer of shales sitting atop both of them in Southwestern Pennsylvania that has the oil and gas industry, and by extension the legal industry, buzzing. It’s known as the Upper Devonian shale formation and some in the industry have deemed it the next frontier for horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. But is the hype warranted?

Marcellus Workforce Education Just Keeps Getting Better
Energy in Depth
October has been a great month for workforce development in the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania. From high school initiatives to a hands-on guide for the types of careers available thanks to Marcellus Shale, the educational sector continues to ensure the local workforce has every opportunity to become prepared to work in this growing industry. West Side Career and Technology Center (CTC) recently teamed up with Cabot Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes to kick off the Careers in Energy program, which gives students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to learn about various energy sector jobs throughout our region.


Marcellus Productivity Report: Bullish For Domestic LNG Exporters, Chemicals, And Natural Gas Transportation
Seeking Alpha
The US Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) released a productivity report yesterday covering six major shale plays in the US. While I was aware of the productivity advances being made in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales, what struck me was the tremendous productivity improvements seen in Marcellus natural gas wells. The report was bullish for the stocks of domestic LNG exporters, chemical producers, and those involved in the natural gas transportation market.

Feds: Natural Gas Production Decreasing Greenhouse Emissions
Washington Free Beacon
A pair of federal agencies credited increased natural gas production for a decline in American greenhouse emissions in reports released this week. The Energy Information Administration released data showing energy-related carbon dioxide emissions declined by 3.8 percent in 2012. The Environmental Protection Agency noted that emissions from power plants declined by 10 percent. Carbon emissions are now at their lowest levels since 1994, EIA reported. Both agencies attributed a large portion of the declines in emissions to the increased use of natural gas in American electricity generation.

North America leads the world in production of shale gas
EIA: Today in Energy
The United States and Canada are the only major producers of commercially viable natural gas from shale formations in the world, even though about a dozen other countries have conducted exploratory test wells, according to a joint U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)/Advanced Resources International (ARI) study released in June. China is the only nation outside of North America that has registered commercially viable production of shale gas, although the volumes contribute less than 1% of the total natural gas production in that country. In comparison, shale gas as a share of total natural gas production in 2012 was 39% in the United States and 15% in Canada.

Christie helps break ground on $845M natural gas plant in Woodbridge
Competitive Power Ventures broke ground today on an $845 million, natural gas-fueled power plant in Woodbridge, a project touted for its promise to reduce the state’s reliance on imported energy — and for redeveloping a brownfield site that once housed a chemical plant. The 700-megawatt facility is expected to open by early 2016 and generate enough electricity to power 700,000 homes, company representatives said. CPV, a Silver Spring, Md.-based energy firm, is developing the plant with Toyota Tsusho Corp. and ArcLight Capital Partners, whose subsidiary will operate the facility.

How Fracking Helps Meet America’s Energy Needs
National Center for Policy Analysis
Crude oil prices are hovering around $100 per barrel, and the United States is producing oil at a rate not seen since the Alaska pipeline began flowing in the 1970s. At the same time, the growth of natural gas reserves is unprecedented. Just a few short years ago, many analysts argued that oil was nearly tapped out, and that America needed to plan for a post-petroleum future. Now, however, natural gas has taken the stage. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has created a revolution in U.S. oil and natural gas production…. Fracking has been used since 1949, but recent high prices drove the development of new technologies to open up shale formations. Advancements, such as horizontal drilling, coupled with increasing global demand for oil and domestic demand for natural gas, have turned shale drilling into a bright spot for the U.S. economy.

Energy & Minerals Group Is Said to Plan $2.5 Billion Fund
Energy & Minerals Group, the investment firm that was spun out from NGP Energy Capital Management LLC, plans to seek $2.5 billion for its next private-equity fund, two people familiar with the matter said. The firm, which has offices in Houston and Dallas, completed raising predecessor Energy & Minerals Group Fund II LP at $2.2 billion in December 2012. That pool, the first to be marketed without NGP, started fundraising in early 2011 with a $2.5 billion target.


European’s would prefer unconventional development not occur in Europe, survey says
Penn State Marcellus Shale Law Blog
A survey, released on October 3, states that Europeans would generally prefer that unconventional development of fossil fuels not occur in Europe. The consensus is overwhelmingly true among countries that are not members of the EU, with over 35% of individuals polled in EU nations answering that unconventional fossil fuels should not be developed in Europe at all. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents from Poland, however, answered development should occur. The only other nations that looked favorably on the unconventional development of fossil fuels in Europe were Norway and Slovenia.

Ukraine and Turkey: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the European “Energy Coup”
Global Research
While Ukraine controls the transit of 90% of its gas to Europe, Russia is consistently trying to use its gas exports to Ukraine to gain greater control of the Ukraine transit system, which itself deems a strategic asset. The struggle for control of export to Europe and Ukraine’s own struggle to increase domestic production and move closer to Europe, with an European Association Agreement set to be signed in November this year, has put extreme stress not only on the energy independence of Ukraine but of Europe as a whole. From an energy geostrategic standpoint, Europe needs Ukraine to move closer to Europe, “but for all its planning, Europe also knows retribution, in the shape of an energy squeeze, is likely from Russia.