3rd Person Charged in Youngstown Frack Wastewater Dumping Case

jail cellJust when you thought there was a conclusion to the story of Ben Lupo and Hardrock Excavating and the dumping of frack wastewater down a drain that eventually emptied into the Mahoning River–the story takes a new turn. MDN previously told you that Hardrock’s owner, Ben Lupo, changed his plea to guilty last week (see Ben Lupo Admits Guilt in OH Frack Wastewater Dumping, Prison Next?). Previously one of his employees, Michael Guesman, a truck driver, plead guilty (see Youngstown, OH Illegal Wastewater Dumping Happened “At Least” 24X).

Apparently Guesman was the second employee Lupo wrangled into doing his illegal bidding. What has just come to light is there was a first employee illegally dumping the month prior to Guesman. The first employee has now been charged…
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New Hearing Dates for Hilcorp’s Forced Pooling Request in PA

Last October MDN told you about Hilcorp’s request to force some Pennsylvania landowners in Lawrence County, PA to allow Hilcorp to drill under (not on) their property in the Utica Shale layer (see Hilcorp Uses PA Forced Pooling Law Against Lawrence Cty Landowner). After much tooing and froing, the PA courts told the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) that the DEP would need to make the decision (see Ironic: PA Enviro Court Forcing DEP to Rule on Forced Pooling). The DEP set a public hearing for March 25 & 26 in Lawrence County, and then postponed it (see Hilcorp Forced Pooling Hearing Postponed, More Landowners Added).

We finally have final final final hearing dates from the DEP–May 7 & 8. Here’s the lowdown from the DEP, in which they say the hearings will be conducted “like a trial”…
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PA’s “Secret” Deal to Lease Land Under Rivers & Streams (Gasp!)

Pssst. We need to whisper this news, because no one is supposed to know. Those nefarious Republicans in Harrisburg, PA have been (gasp) leasing land underneath rivers and streams to those nasty, evil shale drillers–shameless Republican mooks. And such leasing has brought in $5.9 million into the coffers of the state for politicians to redistribute.

So says the reliably anti-drilling StateImpact Pennsylvania–which is really just a couple of NPR reporters that issue their anti-drilling views via a website. The state, since 2012, has leased more than 1,000 acres under rivers and streams for $4,000 per acre signing bonus, and when/if drilling happens, 20% royalties. Pretty darned good deal if you ask us. So has Gov. Tom Corbett been hushing this up, keeping it a secret?…
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New List of Shale-Related Infrastructure/Economic Projects in OH

Researchers with the Ohio energy law firm of Bricker & Eckler LLP have done us all a huge favor. They have assembled a really cool list infrastructure and business projects county by county in Ohio that are known or rumored–all related to the Utica/Marcellus Shale industry. The list (full copy embedded below) lists the county where the project is occurring, the company(s) involved, a brief description of the project and if known, the projected amount of investment.

Workers looking for jobs, businesses that want to get a piece of the action (supply chain), competitors and more will want to review this awesome list. Yes, it does bear a passing resemblance to our own list of infrastructure projects in Vol. 2 of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook. Some of the same projects are listed. However, Bricker & Eckler’s list is specific to Ohio and includes many smaller non-pipeline related projects. Kudos to them for producing a great report…
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“Athens 8” Criminal Protesters Receive Slap on Wrist by OH Court

Eight loud, obnoxious and anything-but-peaceful protesters were arrested in February near Athens, OH for trespassing and illegally blocking the entrance to an injection well site (see Break the Law in OH, Get an Award – Anti-Drilling Nuttery on Display). The eight alleged criminals–charged with criminal trespass–have successfully pleaded their crimes down to disorderly conduct and let go with a slap on the wrist by an Ohio court.

One of the protesters, a “sustainable” organic farmer, Gilbert (Kip) Rondy, someone who operates “unheated greenhouses” (apparently that’s a badge of honor instead of a sanity test), read a statement to the judge that attempts to excuse his and the other protesters’ lawless actions by saying they had to do it to protect Mother Earth. This one will give you a chuckle like it did us…
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ORSANCO Ready to Monitor Ohio River for Barge Frack Waste Spills

The Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), an interstate commission representing eights states and the federal government, was set up in 1948 to monitor, issue warnings about and correct pollution issues in the Ohio River. In particular, ORSANCO handles spills from barges or boats using the mighty Ohio. According to Jerry Schulte, manager of source water protection and spokesman for ORSANCO, the organization is up to the task of protecting the Ohio from any accidents that may include barge shipments of frack wastewater.

Not only are they up to the task, ORSANCO believes the Coast Guard is now very close to allowing it, and ORSANCO is ready…
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Rex Predicts Record 1Q14 Production, Bank Floats Extra $50M

Rex Energy’s banker apparently likes what it sees in the State College, PA-based Marcellus/Utica driller, so they’ve decided to raise Rex’s line of credit another $50 million (from $325 million to $350 million). And what’s not to like? Rex reported last week that they expect first quarter production to come in near the high end of their previous guidance numbers–close to the 118 million cubic feet per day number. Last week Rex also announced they’re adding a second drilling rig in their Butler, PA operation–and (most exciting to us) they’re drilling two stacked Upper Devonian Burkett/Marcellus tests in 2014, one of them with the new rig they’ve just added.

Here’s a pair of announcements from Rex, the operational update from last week and the good news from Rex’s banker from yesterday…
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ANR Pipeline Succeeds, Reversing Flow to Ship Utica/Marcellus Gas

MDN told you a few weeks ago that ANR Pipeline, owned by TransCanada, would potentially become bi-direction and reverse flows to carry Utica and Marcellus Shale gas to the Gulf Coast–if they can secure enough commitments from shippers (see TransCanada’s ANR Pipeline to Reverse & Carry Marcellus Gas South). ANR offered up to 600,000 dekatherms (or 600 million cubic feet, Mmcf) per day of capacity in the Utica/Marcellus. Yesterday ANR announced they have met their goal–and then some. Not only have they got 600 Mmcf/d of commitments for the portion coming from the Utica/Marcellus, they’ve secured enough commitments in other locations to move a total 2 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day along the ANR Pipeline system both north and south, which stretches 10,600 miles through the midsection of the U.S.

Here is the good news announcement from ANR that they’re going bi-directional and now have firm commitments for the next 23 (!) years:
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Yet Another “Shale Gas Will Last Only 10 Years” Claptrap Article

We spotted a long (and we do mean long) article on the Seeking Alpha investors’ website about the Marcellus Shale. Titled “Marcellus Shale: Through A Glass, Darkly,” the article has lots of charts and graphs, and a lot of math (our eyes glazeth over). We read or scanned through most of it. The author, Moshe Ben-Reuven (a former aerospace engineer, which explains the charts and math and formulas), makes some good points. But when you dig deeper, you understand his overall theme and why he spins the story he does. Ben-Reuven’s theme is that the Marcellus won’t last all that long–10 years IF we don’t export any of it. We can make it last longer if we dump water-based fracking and use alternative (i.e. expensive) fracking methods. And oh yes, shale gas is just a little stepping stone on our way to the alternative energy nirvana future that awaits us all. Shale gas is good for weaning us off nasty coal, but once that’s done, we’ll need to wean ourselves from the less-nasty (but still nasty) shale gas fossil fuel too. That’s the rough conclusion he comes to (see it in his own words below).

It won’t surprise you to learn that Ben-Reuven heads up a “green energy” company that develops biomass fuels–a technology left behind in the proverbial dust of the shale gas revolution/miracle now taking place. Which explains all of the hocus pocus numbers and story spun by Ben-Reuven. And which brings to mind the old saying: If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull…
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