“Enviro” Groups: Keep Acid Mine Drainage So Drillers Can’t Use It

How to Be Your Own Selfish PigGet this: Environmentalists (like those at PennEnvironment) hate fossil fuels from shale drilling so much, they would rather have millions of gallons of acid mine drainage pour into creeks and rivers in PA every day rather than let shale drillers use that drainage as a fracking fluid–thereby freeing up fresh water sources and solving one of the state’s most pernicious long-term pollution problems. Anti-drillers can’t stand the idea that drillers might, in any way, be perceived as helping the environment. Talk about selfish pigs.

The residents in PA should be outraged at the 35 groups listed below, including PennEnvironment, that sent a letter last Thursday to political leaders asking them to abandon support for one of the best ideas to roll around in generations–cleaning up acid mine drainage by using it as a fracking fluid…
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WV Cracker Plant has Already Purchased Land for Future Site

In November, WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced he finally had him a cracker (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). By Dec. 31, Odebrecht, the company that will build the ethane cracker, had purchased the future site for their proposed plant in Wood County, WV through a holding company–for $10.9 million. A chemical plant currently located on the site employing 130 people will close in 2015. But have no fear–when the cracker plant is built, it will (for a time) employ 10,000 people to build it. It’s a massive undertaking that will ultimately lead to an estimated $7 billion economic injection just for the state of West Virginia. Talk about an economic revolution!

Compare WV’s proposed cracker to the Pennsylvania proposed cracker plant. Shell announced their intention to build a PA cracker plant in June 2011. How long did it take Shell to purchase the property on which they plan to build their cracker plant? They still haven’t purchased it. Let’s see: under 2 months to purchase the property for the WV cracker, still no purchase after 2 1/2 years for the PA cracker. Which one do you think is serious about building, and which one will get built first?…
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Heinz Spent $3.3M in 2013 on Anti-Drilling Research/Activities

It now becomes crystal-clear (as if there were ever any doubt) about why the Heinz Endowments, under the direction of Teresa Heinz Kerry, fired its president Bobby Vagt and a couple of other senior members of the Endowments team: Heinz herself is through and through anti-drilling. Attempting to spread a thin veneer of euphemistic language, the Heinz Endowments admits that last year they provided $3.3 million of their considerable warchest to support anti-drilling organizations and causes. Oh, they don’t call it that, but that’s exactly what it is: Every single “cause” they funded took aim at shale drilling–to stop it, not make it better. With people like the Heinz’s there is no attempting a reasoned, considered “how can we improve this” approach. Instead, it’s a “how do we eliminate these evil, nasty drillers–eradicate them from the face of the earth” approach.

Some of the recipients of Teresa’s largess last year include anti-drilling “studies” at Ivy League schools like Yale, Harvard and Cornell, and anti-drilling “activities” at non-profits like FracTracker Alliance. Contrast that with the tiny bit of money Vagt tried to spend to help create the very strict (too strict in our opinion) Center for Sustainable Shale Development–an alliance between drillers and environmental groups–getting both sides to the table and to agree. That one made mamma Teresa really mad, so Bobby had to go bye bye. We can’t have any talk of a “third way” and cooperation in shale exploration. It’s “no way” for the Heinz clan when it comes to shale…
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Why Wait for a Cracker to be Built? Canadian Plant Cracking Now

Although both WV and PA are in a race to build the northeast’s first ethane cracker plant, such a plant will not be operational for at least another 4-5 years–if all goes well. The problem is, what do you do with all of the ethane being produced now in the Marcellus and Utica Shale? Ethane is a valuable commodity that can be sold for a lot more than regular methane (or “dry gas”)–unless there’s no way to get it to a cracker. Then ethane becomes a waste product and actually costs money. The three ways to deal with ethane in the northeast right now are: (1) blend it with methane and other hydrocarbons, (2) flare it, i.e. burn it off, or (3) ship it out of the northeast via pipeline to a cracker plant. Option #3 is, of course, the preferred option for drillers–and an option that is now, as of a few months ago, a reality.

Although ethane has been flowing through the Mariner West pipeline (owned and operated by Sunoco Logistics) to the Corunna cracker plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada for the past few months, it has only been fully operational for a short time. Last Thursday, officials at the Corunna plant held a ceremony to commemorate full operation of receiving and processing Marcellus and Utica Shale ethane at the plant…
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IHS Research Predicts Gas Price will Stay at $4-$5/Mcf Until 2035

An interesting new report is out from IHS. Researchers with IHS predict that the price of natural gas, because of the flood of new shale gas coming into the market, will stay somewhere between $4-$5 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) at the benchmark Henry Hub for the long-term–like until 2035, at least.

The report, titled “Fueling the Future with Natural Gas: Bringing It Home” (25-page executive summary embedded below) says shale gas can be profitably produced at $4/Mcf or less. One of many conclusions from their research: “…the North American natural gas resource base can accommodate significant increases in demand without requiring a significantly higher price to elicit new supply.” Translation: A LOT more shale drilling just ahead, even with relatively “low” prices. Here’s another fascinating conclusion from the study…
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Belmont County School Gets Huge Checks from Utica Leases

A local school district in Belmont County, OH–Union Local Schools–is reaping huge rewards from leasing land for Utica Shale drilling. Union Local Schools has already received a lease signing bonus check for $519,750, and a second check is on the way for $112,000–and that’s before a penny of royalties are paid (19% for one lease agreement, 20% for a second lease agreement).

Here’s the low-down…
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Carrizo Releases IP Numbers for Guernsey County, OH Utica Well

Last week Carrizo Oil & Gas released a brief update on the initial production for their newest Utica Shale well, the Rector 1H in Guernsey County, OH. In addition, Carrizo said they plan to move a drilling rig into the OH Utica in early 2Q14 and keep it there through the balance of the year.

According to NaturalGasIntel.com, Carrizo’s acreage position is the smallest of the “major” drillers in the Utica with just 14,500 acres leased. Here’s Carrizo’s initial production (IP) numbers for the Rector 1H and their comments about their Utica drilling program:
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Sunoco Logistics Answers NGL Pipeline Concerns in Portage, OH

Sunoco Logistics personnel were treated last week to a variety of silly concerns about an NGL pipeline they’re proposing through Portage County, OH–concerns like people keeling over dead because of undetected leaks in the buried pipeline and mass contamination of water aquifers. The anti-drillers are so good at distributing lies and distortions it’s no wonder average folks are concerned. You’d think a pipeline was the equivalent of an environmental holocaust.

Even though pipelines are the safest form of transportation in existence, people turned out last week and packed the local county commissioner’s office to express their unfounded concerns. Here’s how it went:
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Article Falsely Implies Driller Interested in S Maryland Drilling

A highly misleading headline (and article) running in an AOL-based “local” Patch publication trumpets, “Energy Company Eyeing Gas Basin that Runs Under Southern Maryland.” The “deck” or smaller headline under it goes on to reinforce this misconception by saying, “A gas basin underneath five counties in Southern Maryland is drawing a Texas-based energy company’s attention.” Both statements are, in a way true. However, the impression they leave–that a Texas driller is actively looking to lease land in southern MD for shale drilling, is 100% false. Hence another propaganda campaign is born by another anti-drilling “reporter.”

This particular falsehood is aimed at whipping up Marylanders against common sense regulations that would allow shale drilling in the Marcellus–which is only found under parts of two MD counties in extreme western Maryland’s panhandle area–Garrett and Allegany counties. Landowners in that area have been stymied almost as along as landowners in New York State–locked in an ongoing moratorium while politicians dither and preen. MDN has already told you about the shale basin mentioned in this new Patch story which drillers want to tap–in Virginia (see Fracking Finally on the Way in Virginia? Maybe Yes, Maybe No). The same basin underlying parts of VA, called the Taylorsville, underlies a few counties in southern MD too. But not one driller has mentioned leasing any land in anti-drilling MD. Quite the opposite–they’re staying away from Maryland like it’s radioactive…
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Internet Company Invests in…Marcellus Shale?

An internet company–Worldwide Internet, Inc.–spent $5 million to acquire a 40% in Marcellus Shale property near Erie, PA. The company swapped some stock to make the purchase. It may seem kind of strange that an internet tech company would invest in a property specifically because it has Marcellus Shale drilling potential. But perhaps it’s not so strange when you consider Worldwide Internet develops technology for huge data centers (big server farms with lots of computers), and those data centers are increasingly powered by natural gas used to generate electricity.

This investment is “crazy like a fox” on Worldwide’s part, if you ask us. Here’s their brief press announcement:
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