Pennsylvania released their second half 2013 production numbers yesterday and man oh man is it another sizzling hot report. Another 700 horizontal (mostly Marcellus) shale wells were brought online in the second half of 2013 in PA which brings the number of horizontal wells with reported production to 5,074. And, in what we believe is a first, Susquehanna County has displaced Bradford County as having the most production during a 6-month reporting period.
Not surprisingly Cabot Oil & Gas and their prolific wells in Susquehanna County top the list as most productive. Get this, when you look at average daily production by wells, Cabot has the top 13 most productive wells in the state for 2H13–all top 13 spots. When you expand it out, they have 17 of the top 20 spots, and 34 of the top 50 spots. Truly astonishing.
Below we have a few lists for you: Top 10 All Time Producing Wells in PA, Top 10 Wells by Production per Day, and the amount of gas produced by the top 5 counties in PA…
In one of the biggest (perhaps the biggest) fines levied by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), Halliburton has been fined $1.8 million for storing and treating hydrochloric acid (HCl) at a facility in Homer City, PA (about 50 miles from Pittsburgh). The HCl shipped and treated at the Homer City site happened over a 13-year period of time from 1999-2011, meaning most of it came from conventional natural gas well sites, although some it likely came from Marcellus Shale sites too (the conventional/unconventional split is not identified in the DEP paperwork). Marcellus drilling in PA didn’t ramp up until around 2006-2007. The DEP says Halliburton had claimed exemption from the state’s Solid Waste Management Act of 1980 for their Homer City facility, saying they were shipping and storing very small amounts of HCl at the facility when in fact that was not the case. Based on their false claim, Halliburton was given a pass on inspections, paperwork filing, signage, and the requirement to use certified hazardous waste haulers on more than 250 truck trips in and out of the facility–hauling HCl. Halliburton was in the wrong, they now acknowledge it (having been caught), and they’ve been levied a steep fine.
Both the DEP and Halliburton stress that there “is no evidence that Halliburton’s handling of the hazardous waste caused any actual harm to the public or the environment.” However, Halliburton violated both the spirit and the letter of the law and have now been caught. Shame on them. Below is the announcement from the DEP, a copy of the consent order signed by Halliburton admitting guilt, and an article providing important details about this story not found elsewhere…
Breaking news: The West Virginia Legislature is once again taking up the issue of forced pooling–or as they are calling it, “unitization”. The forced pooling bill was introduced once again, as it has been for several years running, just a few days ago. Each year the WV legislature meets for a 60-day session and that’s it. So work has to get done quickly. An alert MDN reader tipped us that later today the House of Delegates Energy Committee will consider H.B. 4558 (full copy of the bill embedded below) at a 3 pm session today. The committee must vote to report the bill out of committee before a vote by the entire House can be taken. Will that happen? Not sure.
According to the West Virginia Natural Gas Blog (written by law firm Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins), both of WV’s natural gas associations are in favor of the bill. MDN has not had time to read/review the bill and therefore won’t (at this time) render an opinion. But our long-standing view remains unchanged–we take a dim view of forced pooling period. Unitization–the right to re-sell already-leased land, or to include small bits of land where the owner cannot be tracked down after a good-faith effort–is one thing. Coming in and saying 51% of your neighbors have signed, we’ll take yours too if you don’t–that’s a completely different matter and for us, should not be done. We’re sure there will be more press on today’s hearing, which we’ll bring you when we see it…
U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, gave NY Gov. Andrew “Can’t-Make-a-Decision” Cuomo a metaphorical kick in the rear yesterday by saying Cuomo ought to consider the economic prosperity fracking has brought to Pennsylvania. He also said fracking can and is being done safely–that it’s “manageable.” In other words, wise up Andy.
Three cheers for Ernie! Here’s what Moniz told Politico’s Capital New York publication:
MDN brought you the latest good news with respect to Pennsylvania’s production numbers today (see our companion story “PA Gas Production #s Released”). We ran across an article that puts a face to those numbers. Really, at the end of the day, what do those numbers mean for landowners? Is it like hitting the lottery with bags of money sitting around? Here’s the story of a farming family in Harford Township (Susquehanna County), PA. They just happen to have three of the top 5 producing wells in the entire state for the second half of 2013 sitting on their land.
We were struck by the integrity and character of these folks. Although they obviously have a fair bit of money pouring in from royalties, it’s “not enough to make them rich”–not yet anyway. They still farm and are humble people at heart. Salt of the earth types…
Yesterday MDN told you about the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources’ innovative strategy to deal with the issue of drilling under (not on) a state forest and two state parks. Frankly, the came up with a brilliant public relations plan (see ODNR Ticks Off Anti-Drilling Sierra Club with Drilling PR Plan). But they decided in the end not to pursue the plan, knowing about the loud (and foul) mouthed opposition they would face. Listed by name in the list of dunderheads who oppose shale drilling in the state were none other than OH Rep. Robert Hagan, Democrat from Youngstown, and OH Rep. Nickie Antonio, Democrat from Lakewood (notice a trend here?). The two have called on the Speaker of the Ohio House to launch an investigation into what they creatively call “Frackgate”. It will never happen, but that’s not the point.
We’d say Representatives Hagan and Antonio are up to their necks in…fracking waste. But then that would be unkind, wouldn’t it? So we’ll just say this is “more of the same” and gives the anti-drilling Hagan and Antonio an excuse to (once again) trot out the same old tired lies they’ve told a thousand times before. Here’s 1001…
Here’s a life lesson for the kiddies: Start an “organic” farm, and when you don’t get a lot of business because your prices are twice those of everyone else, become a shrill anti-driller and claim Mother Earth is getting poisoned by evil fracking (gets you noticed). Then, take “direct action” against those nasty drillers, which is a euphemism for break the law. And when you’re done, receive an award for it! That’s the brief story of Gilbert (Kip) Rondy, co-owner of Green Edge Gardens in Amesville, OH.
Rondy is one of the so-called “Athens 8” arrested for illegally blocking access to an injection well site near Athens, OH. To reward his illegal behavior, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association is bestowing on him their Stewardship Award. How nice. We wonder, how would Rondy like it if a group a pro-drillers showed up and blocked access to his organic farm for oh, say a week or so? Would that be worthy of an award too?…
Access Midstream, a pipeline and processing plant company with operations in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, announced financial results for 2013 yesterday. Access had a very good year with revenue (EBITDA) up over 100% for the fourth quarter of 2013, and up over 80% for the entire year.
Here’s the top level numbers from the Access announcement yesterday:
Last week MDN brought you the news that WPX Energy will not be drilling any new Marcellus wells in 2014–and likely beyond (see WPX Gives MDN an Update on Their 2014 Marcellus Plans). WPX is focusing their attention on oil and wet gas shale plays. They’re not the only ones.
A Reuters story running in the Canadian National Post highlights comments by ConocoPhillips, a huge oil and gas driller, saying the company is staying away from natural gas for the time being (at least the next few years) because of the low price environment. According to Conoco’s CFO Jeff Sheets, they want to see the Henry Hub price for natgas at $5 per MMBtu for at least two years before they’ll even consider returning to natgas drilling…