Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Feb 11, 2014

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

New York

O’Reilly: The case against fracking is cracking
Long Island Newsday
“From my opinion and from what I’ve seen . . . I believe hydraulic fracking is, in fact, safe. We know that, from everything we’ve seen, there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone.” What right-wing, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal uttered that inanity? Why none other than former Obama Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who also served as a Democratic U.S. senator and a Democratic attorney general of Colorado. How about this one? “America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades. One of the reasons why is natural gas, if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” Why, that was President Obama himself. He said it during his recent State of the Union speech. In a fact sheet distributed along with the speech, the president even called on Congress to establish “sustainable shale gas growth zones.” Last one: “Thirty states and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have all deemed , on balance, to be safe, and in particular to pose no significant threat to the drinking water supply. And New York’s own Department of Environmental Conservation also, by all accounts, produced its own study which would have green-lighted the process.” That was former New York State Democratic Party co-chairman John Sullivan in a Jan. 14 opinion piece. “Upward of 200,000 jobs could be created (many directly in fracking, more in related industries), substantially boosting Upstate’s sagging economy,” the former mayor of upstate Oswego continued. “Billions of dollars in new tax revenue and other benefits, including reduced energy costs, hang in the balance.”


Purple Land Management taps ex-Chesapeake landman to open Oklahoma office
Dallas Business Journal
Purple Land Management hired former Chesapeake Energy Corp. land manager David Brooks to lead its new Oklahoma City office. Brooks brings more than 30 years experience to Purple Land Management, a Fort Worth-based landman firm. He most recently worked for Chesapeake (NYSE: CHK) in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Purple Land Management now boasts 10 offices, one in all the major oil and gas plays around the country, company President Jesse Hejny said. He co-founded Purple Land Management with his friend and fellow Texas Christian University graduate Bryan Cortney in 2010. The company employs about 100 landmen and has another 125 to 150 contractors working around the country. Many of them are law graduates that Purple Land Management recruits out of college.

This MLP Is Positioned to Shine
Spectra Energy’s move to drop down all of its gas transmission assets and its interests in oil and natural gas liquid pipelines fundamentally transformed Spectra Energy Partners (SEP) into a first-tier master limited partnership. The transaction, which closed in November 2013, shifts SEP from a marginal investment vehicle for Spectra to house interests in slow-growth pipelines into a major player in natural gas transportation with strong exposure to the Marcellus Shale, the nation’s most prolific gas play. In our view, this transaction creates one of the more attractive, low-risk business models in the MLP space while bolstering Spectra Energy’s growth outlook. SEP provides Spectra with a more tax-efficient way to fund its growth, an important consideration because Spectra has approximately $25 billion in identified growth projects underway, it has just completed the $1.2 billion New Jersey-New York Expansion, and it recently received approval to build the $3.2 billion Sabal Trail pipeline into Florida. The core of SEP’s gas pipeline system is Texas Eastern Transmission, a massive pipeline able to move 10% of U.S. gas consumption, which runs from the Gulf Coast to New York, directly through the heart of the Marcellus. SEP also owns Algonquin Gas and the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, providing gas to New England…

The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies
We will start this week with our News The New York Times Editorial Staff Hated to Read, courtesy of Time Magazine: How the U.S. Energy Boom is Changing America’s Place in the World – It wasn’t even five years ago that Iran reelected hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a disputed presidential election, openly admitted it was building a uranium enrichment facility and brazenly test-fired missiles capable of hitting targets in Israel. Fast-forward to today: A more conciliatory president, Hassan Rouhani, is making historic overtures toward the West and negotiations are showing rare progress toward containing the country’s nuclear program, which has kept the region—and the world—on edge for years. The difference, according to former Obama administration National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, can be summed up in one word: “fracking.” That’s hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method that’s helped fuel an unprecedented domestic energy boom in the United States.

Propane prices likely to remain high, experts say
Cedar Valley Business
The high price of gas doesn’t necessarily refer to motor fuel. The price of propane is up as well. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the fuel had an average price in Iowa of $4.71 per gallon Jan. 27, compared to $2.58 just a week earlier and $1.90 just before Christmas. According to EIA records, the recent price spike is the biggest since it hit $2.12 on March 17, 2008. Other than that, the fuel had held consistently under $2 over the last decade. Lower supplies, combined with a harsh winter, have created a volatile price structure, said Mike Angell, editor with Oil Price Information Service, which provides price information on refined products. “Prior to the beginning of winter, propane inventories, U.S.-wide, were about 6 million barrels lower than January of last year,” Angell said. “A lot of that was due to high demand for propane for crop drying in the Midwest, so inventories were low to begin with entering the winter.” Angell said the current winter is the 13th coldest since 1950, which has exacerbated the problem.

Chevrolet unveils CNG version of Silverado HD pickup
USA Today
From the outside you would never know it, but there’s a big Chevrolet Silverado on display at the Chicago Auto Show here that offers a lot of hope for bright energy future. It runs on natural gas. Little by little, the auto industry is starting to embrace natural gas, the domestically produced fuel that sells for a fraction of the price of gasoline. America, thanks to the gas boom in the upper Midwest, is seeing an energy renaissance because of it. For the moment, natural gas-powered transportation is focused on vehicles that businesses buy, that they can centrally fuel to make up the lack of consumer fueling points. At the show, Chevy revealed a 2015 Silverado heavy duty pickup truck that is fitted for CNG, or compressed natural gas, while keeping a gasoline tank.

The Flaming Water Nobody Wants to Acknowledge
Energy in Depth
One of the “stars” in Josh Fox’s Gasland Part II was the flaming hose in Parker County, Tex., which activists have used on several occasions to draw media attention away from all of the jobs and economic hope that shale development is delivering. News outlets often take the bait and report on the spectacle — precisely what activists want them to do — but typically ignore the fact that the issue is far more complex than the anti-fracking groups claim. Folks opposed to shale development in north Texas want us to believe that the flaming water is due to gas drilling. “It wasn’t like this before the gas company started drilling here,” they allege. Except it was, and there are plenty of pictures to prove it.


Natural gas fracking could lift Africa out of poverty
Bjorn Lomborg, in a February 8, 2014 oped in USA Today points out that Obama administration green energy policies have had the unintended effect of harming the world’s poor. “Access to cheap and abundant power is one of the best ways to lift people out of poverty. Analyses show that there is a clear connection between growth and energy availability in Africa. Most spectacularly, China lifted 680 million people out of poverty over the past 30 years — not through expensive wind and solar, but through cheap, if polluting, coal. “Nonetheless, many rich opinion leaders feel comfortable in declaring that the trade-off for cheap energy and development is not in the interest of the poor. The United States, United Kingdom and other European countries announced last year that they won’t support international finance for coal-fired power plants in developing countries.” Lomborg points out that while the world’s poor are waiting for the green energy revolution they are being forced to rely on a source of energy that is even more environmentally destructive than coal.