Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Feb 6, 2014

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

New York

Frackophobes Should Learn Some Facts – Can You Say Clean & Green
The only thing deeper than a natural-gas well is the ignorance of the anti-fracking crowd. Fracking – formally called hydraulic fracturing – involves briefly pumping water, sand and chemicals into shale formations far beneath Earth’s surface and thousands of feet below the aquifers that irrigate crops and quench human thirst. This process cracks these rocks and liberates the gas within. Though employed for decades with seemingly no verified contamination of ground water, anti-fracking activists behave as if this technology were invented specifically to poison Americans. “Fracking makes all water dirty,” declares a poster that Yoko Ono recently exhibited at a Manhattan carpet store. Rants another: “Pretty soon there will be no more water to drink.” Reporting on an anti-fracking event starring actor Mark Ruffalo and mystic Deepak Chopra, writer Alisha Prakash warns: “If this process remains the status quo, our planet will not be able to sustain life in another 100 years.” Matt Damon’s 2012 film Promised Land dramatizes fracking’s supposed dangers by showing a toy farm devoured by flames. In contrast to all this absurd hyperventilation, consider the sworn testimony of former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. Hardly a right-wing shill for Big Oil, Jackson told the House Government Reform Committee in May 2011: “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” In April 2012 Jackson said, “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.”

New York Agency Sings Praises of Natural Gas
Natural Gas Now/Tom Shepstone
A 2012 order from the New York Public Service Commission regarding the benefits of natural gas contrasts sharply with the political messages coming out of Albany. Some of our readers from outside the Northeast may, given the horrible politics of that state, think everyone in New York must have their head on backwards, but that’s far from true, even within state government itself. I was recently forwarded a copy of a 2012 order from the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to “Examine Policies Regarding the Expansion of Natural Gas Service.” It’s a fascinating read and turns everything you might have thought about New York attitudes toward natural gas on its head. The most remarkable aspect of the order is the degree to which it forthrightly acknowledges the economic, environmental and health benefits of natural gas. Consider the following statements:

West Virginia

School Waiting For Word On Well
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
In August, Marshall County Schools Superintendent Michael Hince said Trans Energy’s plan to drill a Marcellus Shale natural gas well within 3,800 feet of the new Cameron school was “imminent.” Although the firm is posting company-record production levels throughout Marshall, Wetzel and Marion counties, there is still no well at the site near the school that houses about 350 students in grades 7-12. “It is six months later, but there is still nothing up there,” Hince said. “As an adjacent property owner, we should receive notification if and when it is approved.” “If I had my say, it would not be anywhere near a school. But you have to put your trust in the regulators,” he added regarding the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas.


ExxonMobil Corporation’s U.S. Shale Move: Too Little Too Late?
The Motley Fool
Fresh from its disappointing fourth quarter, which saw fourth-quarter earnings slump 16% year over year as oil and gas production fell 1.8%, ExxonMobil is eager to tap into the U.S. shale boom in a bid to boost its stagnant production. On Monday, the company announced it has signed two major deals to expand its position in West Texas’ Permian Basin and Ohio’s Utica shale through its subsidiary XTO Energy. Will the moves pay off, or is Exxon simply too late to the U.S. shale game?

Carbo CEO Takes Aim at ‘Low Quality’ Chinese Proppants
NGI’s Shale Daily
Ceramic proppant leader Carbo Ceramics Inc. is attempting to get the word out that “low quality” products from China aren’t worth the lower price producers pay to increase oil and gas recoveries. The Houston operator has a “technical marketing campaign” underway to explain why the more expensive proppants produced by Carbo and others is worth the price, CEO Gary Kolstad said during a quarterly conference call late last month. It’s not a surprise, he said, to see imported ceramic proppants gaining market share because they are lower priced. And after all, exploration and production (E&P) operators need a lot of proppant for pressure pumping fractured wells. Buyer beware, Kolstad warned.