The Shell ethane cracker plant announced for Beaver County, PA has been a roller coaster ride about whether or not it will ever get built over the past two years since it was announced. Just last week the pendulum swung again and the mood turned decidedly gloomy (see Shell’s Shale Pessimism Signals Worry for Some re PA Cracker). In stark contrast to the Shell cracker, the cracker announced late last year by Odebrecht–to be built in Parkersburg, WV–seems to have an air of optimism and inevitability (see WV Ethane Cracker – Cautious Optimism in the Mountain State). Odebrecht officials are careful to say it’s not a 100% done deal yet and that we are “very early” in the process of making this multi-billion dollar project a reality. But what MDN notices about the Odebrecht cracker is forward momentum. Rapid progress. Enthusiasm. It just “feels” like the Odebrecht project is going to happen.
Here is an update on the progress made to date on Odebrecht’s planned ethane cracker complex in Parkersburg, and what will happen next… Continue reading
Last Thursday MDN told you legislation to codify into law a current directive by the state’s Dept. of Environment Protection to allow higher volumes of drill cuttings in WV landfills may get a second chance (see WV Drilling Cuttings in Landfill Bill May Get 2nd Life, If…). It already passed! On Friday during a special session of the legislature called by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, House Bill (HB) 4411 was one of ten pieces of legislation listed by the governor for consideration. The bill was voted on and passed (full copy of the bill embedded below). HB 4411 passed in record time after being dropped for consideration during the regular session. It is a certainty that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will sign it since he wanted it on the docket in the first place.
Most media stories, stoked by anti-drillers, focus on the “limitless” aspect of the directive-now-passed-law. That is, the law lifts arbitrary small caps on the amount of drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from drilling) that can be hauled to a landfill. Those stories would have you imagine this new law means that any municipal landfill can willy nilly now accept mountains of “radioactive” dirt–and that consequently West Virginia will become a radioactive hot zone. Zombies everywhere. Yes, limits are lifted under this bill. But, at the same time, the law stipulates that if a landfill accepts larger amounts of cuttings (over the previous lower cap), it must build a special, separate cell where the cuttings will be stored. The landfill must also monitor leachate from the cell to ensure nothing nasty leaks out. And the landfill must install radiation detectors to monitor truckloads of cuttings coming into the landfill. In other words, this is a good bill that not only gives drillers a safe place to dispose of drill cuttings–it protects WV citizens. But you wouldn’t know that from reading most stories… Continue reading
It’s often hard to get heard in our 24/7 news-saturated culture. How do you get folks to focus on your good news? Issue a press release, of course. While these bits of self-promotion are often eschewed and overlooked by the mainstream press, MDN delights in bringing them to you because they often contain a lot of really good information. To wit: on Friday Magnum Hunter Resources issued an update (i.e., press release) updating the world on their good news in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. MH says they will bring 8 new wells online within the next 30 days in West Virginia–and those wells will flow gas through MH’s very own pipeline system in the area. It’s nice to not only own the wells but the pipeline system too.
Here is the MH update with lots of details on lateral lengths, locations, robotic drilling rigs and more… Continue reading
One of the refrains from anti-drillers who desperately seek ways to bash shale drilling is to say that when shale drilling comes to town, so too do higher rents (making it impossible for welfare slugs to get a decent apartment), and loud, carousing, hell-raising men who spread sexually transmitted diseases all over the place (see Shale Gas Drillers Spread STDs Says PA Democrat Legislator).
And then there’s the truth. A KOA campground in eastern Ohio is now open in the winter as well as summer because of the demand from the Utica Shale drilling industry. The campground is full to capacity with shale workers and reports that after workers have put in a 10-12 hour shift, they just want a place to rest and relax. The campground even holds a “family food night” for the men, serving them a free meal once a week as their token of appreciation. Once again, the truth is far different from the fictional lies spun by those who oppose drilling… Continue reading
Both Lackawanna and Luzerne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania have been largely drill-less when it comes to the Marcellus Shale bonanza happening all around them. One reason is that both counties are urban–Lackawanna is home to the city of Scranton, and Luzerne home to Scranton’s twin-joined-at-the-hip Wilkes-Barre. However, the bigger reason why there has been no gas drilling is because of the geology under both counties. A few test wells have been drilled in the past–all of them unsuccessful.
Does that mean that all Marcellus drilling in Lackawanna and Luzerne will be barren forevermore? Not necessarily… Continue reading
Late last year MDN brought you the story of how $1 million of Marcellus Shale Act 13 impact fee money (about to dry up thanks to seven PA litigious townships) was awarded as a grant to help fund a project that will clean up one of PA’s biggest ongoing environmental disasters and the single largest source of pollution for the Chesapeake Bay–acid mine drainage from the Old Forge borehole near Scranton, PA (see Specifics on Marcellus $ Helping to Clean Chesapeake Bay Pollution). Susquehanna Mining Solutions plans to build a plant to strip out the minerals from the water that comes from long-abandoned coal mines.
U.S. Congressman Rush Holt from New Jersey is, by all accounts, a pretty smart guy. He worked as a nuclear physicist and starred on Jeopardy! (going up against the Watson robot) before joining Congress in 1999. Holt is also an anti-drilling Democrat, apparently under the vise grip of far-left environmentalist organizations. He and his far-out enviro pals (including Sierra Clubers) took the opportunity of last week’s announcement of the new incoming head of the Delaware River Basin Commission (see DRBC Selects Steve Tambini as New Leader, Enviro Groups Unsure) to call for a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin. Oh, and just for good measure, they also want all new shale drilling in the PA and WV to stop immediately, until “someday”…when Holt and his “smart” friends determine whether or not it’s really safe.
If Holt thinks that 60,000+ safely drilled shale wells is not enough proof, maybe Holt, who is (thankfully) not running again this November, is not so smart after all… Continue reading
The mostly anti-drilling Pennsylvania Environmental Council has a new leader. We say “mostly” in deference to being corrected by the PEC a few years ago when we called them outright anti-drilling (see Pennsylvania Environmental Council Publishes New “Green Lease” Guide). On Friday the PEC named Davitt B. Woodwell to the position of president and chief executive officer, succeeding Paul M. King, who is retiring. The PEC is not dogmatically opposed to Marcellus drilling like many similar organizations in the environmentalist movement. The PEC at least allows there will be some drilling (they’re pragmatic). But make no mistake–they really wish there was no shale drilling in the state. They wouldn’t say that out loud in polite company–but that’s what they think and talk about behind closed doors.
The newly promoted Mr. Woodwell is a participant in the so-far underwhelming Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD)–an uneasy partnership between the shale drilling industry and environmentalists (see CSSD’s Andrew Place Talks About 3-Leg Approaches & Firehoses). Woodwell belongs to the Standards and Evaluation Committee of the CSSD. We’ll keep a close eye on the PEC and Mr. Woodwell for signs of Marcellus trouble-making. Meanwhile, here’s Friday’s announcement and brief bio (with lots of enviro-cred) for Mr. Woodwell: Continue reading
Ignorant anti-drillers–typically old hippie retreads and hippie wannabes–seem to derive meaning from their miserable existence by turning up at meetings where drilling will be discussed so they can cause trouble. They don’t listen because their minds are closed. They simply want to be heard. Real communication takes place when there is both a sender and a receiver (Speech 101). Anti-drillers are simply stuck on “sender” mode–they never open up and receive.
A perfect example is a meeting held last week in Virginia. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) sponsored a forum in Fredericksburg to look at the issue of whether oil and gas drilling should be allowed on land protected from other development by conservation easements. Shale drilling may soon come to land with easements–easements that otherwise prohibit development but allows drilling–in the Taylorsville Basin, along the eastern/central part of the state around Caroline County, VA (see Fracking Finally on the Way in Virginia? Maybe Yes, Maybe No). The VOF invited Mike Ward, executive director of the Virginia Petroleum Council, to speak and answer questions about potential drilling. In typical fashion, closed-minded anti-drillers turned out to pester Mr. Ward… Continue reading