Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jan 9, 2014

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


Anti-Fracking Protesters Await General Assembly on Opening Day
A coalition of protesters stuffed papers into passing legislators’ hands calling for an extension of a statewide fracking moratorium as the General Assembly began its opening day Wednesday. More than 75 protesters and members of environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, met in front of the State House for the rally. The coalition of protesters called for a bill that would mandate an 18-month review period before the General Assembly could allow any drilling permits, after a pending study concludes.


Drill Bits: Information about the Gas and Oil Industry for Guernsey County and the Surrounding Area
The Daily Jeffersonian
After a brief hiatus Drill Bits has returned to its original format of presenting up-to-date news briefs about the gas and oil industry. A very Happy New Year to all. And, according to the grapevine, southeastern Ohio has plenty to be happy about. As pipelines, an integral part of a successful oil boom, become operable, wells are uncapped and gas and oil are transported through a process that will eventually lead to every day products demanded by consumers and the money for people to be able to afford them.

With Strong Wattenberg Results, Utica Could Be Gravy For PDC Energy
Seeking Alpha
The last three months or so haven’t been particularly kind to a number of E&P companies, and PDC Energy is most definitely in that group. While regional rivals like Antero and Bill Barrett are still in the black over that short span of time (and PDC has done fine over the past year), the recent performance has left a lot to be desired. Some of the problems with PDC Energy shares can be tied to overheated expectations earlier in the year, coupled with a disappointing third quarter and year-ahead guide. Some of it is also likely due to ongoing mixed data from the companies Utica acreage. Although I don’t think the Utica results have been that bad, PDC Energy looks attractive even excluding the Utica, making this an interesting name to me at current prices given the ongoing success in the Codell and Niobrara formations in the Wattenberg. I’ve been stubborn to lift my long-term price estimates for natural gas, and I’m still less bullish than most, but at $4 gas, PDC Energy starts looking like a very interesting stock to me.


Real World Economics: The politics of exporting U.S. crude oil
TwinCities Business
The question of whether our country should continue a 40-year ban on exporting crude oil is much more political in nature than economic, but it does involve some interesting economic questions. Politics are such that it is doubtful the ban will be repealed anytime soon, but there are ways of getting around nearly any ban and crude producers and some refiners will take advantage of that to whatever extent possible. The most basic economic perspective is that resources are used most efficiently when raw resources and finished goods are allowed to flow as market forces determine. That is true between countries as well.

Debra Winger presents anti-fracking doc at Nevada City’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival
The Sacramento Bee
Words matter to Debra Winger. Like “frack,” the gas-industry diminutive for hydraulic fracturing that does not sound attractive in any context. “That word is a gift that can never be repaid,” Winger, calling from New York City, said with a laugh. Her voice carries the same raspy playfulness of her 1980s Hollywood heyday, deepened with time. “We could not have come up with anything better.” “We” are people like Winger who want fracking to end. Winger, 58, was involved closely with “Gasland,” the Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary – that one where people memorably used lighters to set the water coming from their kitchen faucets on fire – and its 2013 sequel, “Gasland Part II.” Winger will appear Friday and help present “Gasland Part II” at Nevada City’s 12th Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

Summit Midstream Partners, LP Announces Appointment of Chief Operating Officer
Summit Midstream Partners (press release)
Summit Midstream Partners, LP (SMLP) announced today the appointment of Rene L. Casadaban as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Summit Midstream GP, LLC (the “general partner”), the company that manages and operates SMLP. Mr. Casadaban will report to Steve Newby, President and CEO of the general partner. Commenting on Mr. Casadaban’s promotion, Mr. Newby said, “Rene’s broad experience across our platform and deep industry background in crude oil, natural gas and project management make him uniquely qualified to execute and manage the significant development and expansion projects that we have across the entire Summit enterprise in crude oil, water transportation, and gas gathering and processing. We believe that this change in organizational structure positions Summit for continued success and improved operations as we expand our service offerings and geographic footprint.”

Why Doesn’t Fracking Falsifiability Apply to Climate Change?
Natural Gas Now
Falsifiability is the idea that an allegation or theory ought to be capable of being tested but no such rule seems to apply to climate change theorists or fracking opponents determined to assert what hasn’t happened. Rejoice – humanity is safe from global warming! Two prominent climate scientists, Judith Curry and Marcia Wyatt, writing in the highly respected peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics, say that world surface temperatures have not increased since 1997. Some climate scientists call this a “pause” in global warming – a pause which is predicted to continue into the 2030’s. Curry and Wyatt found that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) vastly overestimated global temperature increases, underestimated the role of natural cycles, and exaggerated the role of greenhouse gases. Watt and Curry say the IPCC computer models are wrong:


Uganda Gov’t adopts friendlier oil drilling method: horizontal fracking
New Vision
Uganda has adopted the horizontal oil drilling method as a way to reduce impact on the environment and wildlife in the environmentally sensitive Albertine graben. Commercial deposits of oil, which currently stands at 3.5 billion barrels, have been discovered in the Albertine graben which incidentally also harbours key tourist attractions in national parks. Environmentalists have raised fears that oil production would affect the rich eco-system especially because some wells are within Murchison falls national park that is rich in endangered animal species like elephants and lions. However, experts say that besides increasing production, horizontal drilling reduces the environmental impact as opposed to the popularly used vertical drilling. Horizontal drilling is one form of directional drilling which has been an integral part of the oil and gas industry since the 1920s. Here, wells are drilled at multiple angles, not just vertically, to better reach and produce oil and gas reserves.

Saudi Billionaire Prince: Fracking Competitively Threatens ‘Any Oil Producing Country in the World’
CNS News
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, a billionaire businessman and nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, said the production of shale oil and natural gas in the United States and other countries, primarily done through fracking, is a real competitive threat to “any oil-producing country in the world,” adding that Saudi Arabia must address the issue because it is a “matter of survival.” New shale oil discoveries “are threats to any oil-producing country in the world,” said Prince Alwaleed in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “It is a pivot moment for any oil-producing country that has not diversified. Ninety-two percent of Saudi Arabia’s annual budget comes from oil. Definitely it is a worry and a concern.” Alwaleed also commented that many Saudi leaders did not comprehend the threat posed by oil and natural gas production from shale. However, he said he would use his influence to keep pressing the issue.