NatGas in PA Water Wells w/Marcellus Fingerprint NOT Shale Gas

peer reviewA newly published peer reviewed study in the February Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) offers new research that we believe comes close to, if not fully, exonerating Cabot Oil & Gas over the now infamous case of methane migration into water wells in a small area of Dimock, PA. The new study has no connection to Cabot. It is written by three experts and uses (gasp) actual science–you know, in the field data? The data comes from “more than 2,300 gas and water samples collected from 234 gas wells and 67 private groundwater-supply wells” in northeastern PA and is the largest such data set ever analyzed. What did the authors find? Shallow (near the surface) methane with the same identical chemical “fingerprint” as deeper Marcellus Shale gas is naturally occurring in large quantities in northeastern PA. That is, the shallow methane under the microscope looks exactly like the methane found more than a mile below the ground, but it isn’t gas from the Marcellus because the methane near the surface that looks just like Marcellus gas, with the same chemical “fingerprint,” was lurking in water wells long before there was any shale drilling in the area.

This is truly huge news, but don’t expect mainstream media outlets to cover the story because a) they like Josh Fox and prefer to prop up his fictional movie called Gasland, b) the issue requires readers to actually think and use the left brain to grapple with issues of science, c) this new, real research utterly refutes the pathetic “research” published by Duke University in two different papers that took the lazy way out and tried to hang Dimock’s stray gas methane on Cabot, and d) it doesn’t fit the “drilling is evil” narrative the mainstream media prefers to push…
Continue reading

Chesapeake Fire Sale Continues: Marcellus/Utica Compressor Plants

Chesapeake Energy continues to sell off bits and pieces of the company, making corporate raider (and the company’s second largest investor) Carl Icahn happy. The latest ballast to go over the side are 103 “compression units” in the Marcellus/Utica region, purchased by Access Midstream (which used to be Chesapeake Midstream before it was tossed over the side too), and 334 “compression units” scattered throughout the south, southwest and west, sold to Exterran Partners. Total proceeds for Carl Icahn, er Chesapeake? $520 million.

Here’s the announcement from Chesapeake, followed by the announcement from Access Midstream about their “bolt-on” acquisition…
Continue reading

Halcon Pull Back from Utica: What about Their $70M Oil Terminal?

Yesterday MDN brought you the bombshell news that Halcon Resources has shaken the dirt of their shoes in the Utica and is heading to greener (so they say) pastures in other shale plays (see Halcon Resources Stops Drilling, Gives Up on the Utica Shale). Not so long ago–last July–Halcon announced they were working on a $70 million oil storage and rail transloading terminal in Lordstown (see Halcon Resources Plans $70M Oil Terminal in Lordstown, OH). The first of three planned phases for that project were, at the time, predicted to be completed in 2014. Is that project now in jeopardy too, with Halcon taking their “wait and see” attitude in the Utica?

Lordstown area officials have no official word from Halcon on the oil terminal’s fate, but they’re nervous…
Continue reading

St Clairsville RFP to Lease 195 Utica Acres Comes & Goes, No Bids

St. Clairsville (Belmont County), OH put out a request for bids on 195 acres of city-owned land. They want to lease the land for shale drilling. The RFP sought bids from drillers and contained these minimum terms: $7,300 per acre signing bonus, and 20% royalties. Yikes! Apparently St. Clairsville believes they hold all the cards. The deadline for bids was yesterday. How many bids did they get? Zero. Nada. None. But city leaders aren’t discouraged. Apparently putting it out for bid was a requirement under Ohio state law–a dance that they had to dance, motions they had to go through–and now that the RFP has come and gone, the real negotiations will begin. And make no mistake, drillers are interested in leasing the property. It sits in one of the sweetest sweet spots in the Utica Shale.

Here’s the St. Clairsville RFP story, and a good roundup showing the terms other municipalities have recently gotten for leasing their land…
Continue reading

OH Anti-Drilling Nutters Prevent Safe Disposal of Drill Cuttings

Score a win for the anti-drillers in Ohio. They have successfully blocked a promising new technology by lying about what it does and can do for the drilling industry. Last September MDN told you the story of an innovative new Ohio company–Ohio Soil Recycling (OSR)–that has figured out how to turn shale drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt) into clean fill dirt–in 24 hours flat (see OH Company Turns Drill Cuttings into Clean Fill Dirt in 24 Hours). Because some drill cuttings (some, not all) contain very low levels of naturally occurring radioactivity, a fanatical group of nutters called Radioactive Waste Alert (RWA) went on a PR rampage using a big, lying billboard ad to try and suppress this promising new technology (see Radioactive Bilge Emanates from ‘Radioactive Waste Alert’ in OH).

Once again headlines and soundbites rule the day as RWA now claims they have successfully stopped OSR. It’s a sad day–the RWA has made everyone in Ohio less safe than they could have been. But such is the twisted worldview of anti-drilling nutters like those in the RWA. Here’s the “we’re crowing about screwing OSR” announcement from RWA:
Continue reading

Mt. Pleasant, PA Continues to Ride Range Over Water Ponds

As we told you last week, when PA towns make up their own zoning laws for oil and gas drilling, chaos and confusion reigns, as is the case in Mt. Pleasant (Washington County), PA (see Mt Pleasant Twp Shenanigans re Range Request for Water Ponds). Mt. Pleasant, one of seven townships that successfully sued the state to overturn Act 13 effectively screwing every municipality in the state out of millions of dollars of impact fee money, continues their snit fit over Range using a few water ponds to drill new shale wells in non-Mt. Pleasant locations.

The board voted to uphold their zoning violations of four such ponds so Range has filed yet another lawsuit hoping they can find an impartial judge to set the matter straight. Here’s the latest…
Continue reading

McClendon Accuses Chesapeake of Holding LA Minerals “Hostage”

This is interesting, although it doesn’t have a direct bearing on the Marcellus or Utica. It does, however, involve one of our favorite Utica Shale characters–Aubrey McClendon. Aubrey was tossed out of Chesapeake Energy, the company he founded, last year by corporate raider Carl Icahn (see McClendon Exits Chesapeake, Well-Bonused “Friends” Replace Him). Since the divorce, all has been pretty quiet on the home front between McClendon and his former company. However, McClendon and Chessy have now had their first public fight since his exit.

Aubrey wants Chessy to drill more wells in the Haynesville Shale, because he personally gets a share of the proceeds. Chessy is squeezing their drilling budget so hard they’re making the proverbial buffalo nickel poop. They don’t want to drill another dozen wells in the Haynesville. So Aubrey has gone to the regulators at Louisiana’s Office of Conservation, asking them to force Chessy to follow his drilling plan instead of their own, accusing Chessy of holding Louisiana’s minerals “hostage.” Who doesn’t love a good hostage story?…
Continue reading

Maryland Court Rules in Favor of Cove Point LNG Export Terminal

The litigating Sierra Club has lost yet another lawsuit to block Dominion from revamping an LNG import terminal in Cove Point, Maryland to become an export terminal instead–exporting Marcellus Shale gas to India and Japan. Last Friday Maryland’s second highest court, the Court of Special Appeals, gave Dominion the green light to continue with their project to covert the Cove Point facility into an export terminal. Will the Sierra Club appeal (yet again)? With the deep pockets of the eco-left in this country, it’s a pretty safe bet they will appeal…

Here’s the story of the court returning a pro-Dominion verdict:
Continue reading

ShaleNavigator Service Adds Frack Waste Facilities Layer to Maps

As many MDN readers know, MDN editor Jim Willis partners with Ed Camp from ShaleNavigator, using ShaleNavigator’s top-notch mapping software to create the marvelous maps found in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook series. Ed maps the most recent round of permits issued (over the previous four months) on county maps, showing driller name and location for each volume of the Databook. But the maps show a lot more than just permit locations–like major natural gas pipelines, the locations of compressor stations and over a dozen other “layers” available to users of the ShaleNavigator service.

You can now add one more layer to the service: the location of waste facilities used by Marcellus and Utica Shale drillers. You may also recall that the most recent volume of the Databook, Volume 3, contains that very information: a complete list (with addresses and phone numbers) for waste facilities. Ed has used the location data for those waste facilities and added a new layer for users of his excellent service. The press release is below. Be sure to give ShaleNavigator a try by signing up for a free 7-day trial account
Continue reading