Join Us for PA Jobs, PA Energy Rally in Harrisburg, PA on May 6

PA Jobs PA Energy RallyIn less than two weeks–on Tuesday, May 6th–thousands of farmers, laborers, landowners, conservation groups, local government leaders, and the business community, will gather together at PA’s State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA for a historic march. United Shale Advocates is orchestrating a unique Pennsylvania Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy rally that will bring thousands of Pennsylvanians together to speak with a united voice in support of responsible energy development. Why march? Policy proposals in Harrisburg – including burdensome layers of new energy taxes on job creators and consumers, as well as other measures, would heavily tip the competitive scales against Pennsylvania – would place everything that’s been achieved at risk. Now is the time to march and to make our collective voices heard–loudly.

MDN has been warning you since last year that Marcellus drilling is at risk in Pennsylvania–from moratoriums, high severance taxes and frivolous lawsuits. This event is for anyone who supports Marcellus Shale drilling–your chance to express your loud and strong support to politicians and the media. A crowd of thousands will get noticed–make no mistake. Would you PLEASE consider joining us? And we say “us” because MDN editor Jim Willis (a native New Yorker) will attend and march in support of shale drilling in PA. Yes, it’s a sacrifice and takes a day of your time. But it’s worth it. Below are the agenda and details for how you can join us and get a FREE bus ride to the event. However, the deadline to sign up for a spot on a bus is tomorrow, April 25th–so you need to sign up right away

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Radioactive Water Leaching from WV Landfills with Drill Cuttings?

Are drill cuttings from Marcellus Shale drilling in West Virginia that are disposed in landfills causing unsafe levels of radioactivity in water leaching from those landfills? Below is a lone article we noticed that makes that claim. It is the only such article we’ve seen, so we need to be very cautious. It makes some rather disturbing claims, as you’ll see.

The fact than no major news organizations have picked up on radioactive water potentially leaching from a few landfills in WV makes us think that maybe this one story is not all that credible (seeour layman’s analysis below). However, MDN has always prided itself on bringing the bad news as well as the good news with respect to fracking and shale drilling. We have nothing to hide when it comes to shale drilling. So we plant this issue “on our radar” to keep an eye on…
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Was PA Court Decision Really an OK for Forced Pooling?

Sometimes language is a funny thing. Terms come into use and and thrown around–but in different contexts they mean different things. MDN recently noticed that earlier this month EQT won a lawsuit against landowners in Allengheny County, PA. The landowners had leased their land with EQT, but we’re guessing they were old leases, done some number of years ago, because the landowners said EQT could not drill under their properties collectively–in a drilling unit. Apparently the landowners wanted EQT to drill on each individual property–or perhaps (more likely) renegotiate the old leases for better money to allow horizontal shale drilling. Bear in mind EQT and the landowners–all of them–already have contractual leases.

EQT sued (EQT Production Co. v. Opatkiewicz et al.) to “force” the landowners to allow them to do their job–drill horizontally under several properties as part of a drilling unit. The court ruled in favor of EQT (copy of the decision is embedded below) saying the landowners can’t stipulate how EQT gets the gas from leased contiguous properties. That is our essential understanding of the case. However, it’s widely being reported that the court “supported forced pooling”…
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Little Pizza Shop Makes “a Fortune” by Catering to Nearby Drill Site

How can “a little pizza show in Uniontown” make “a fortune” from the shale industry? Apparently, just by asking. The Ohio Valley Oil & Gas Association held an event on Tuesday in Wheeling called “Boomtown Panel 2.0.” Attending the event were people from the oil and gas industry, vendors to the industry, and vendors who want to sell to the industry (i.e. the supply chain). They were there to network and discuss how the shale boom is impacting the region.

There were several comments from speakers that MDN finds extremely helpful for those trying to enter the supply chain and sell their goods and services to the drilling industry. Including a quick quip from a Rice Energy rep of how that little pizza shop is making a fortune by catering lunch every day to a local drilling site for 60 people…
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New Top Management at Utica Driller Gulfport Energy

At the end of January Gulfport Energy announced, rather suddenly, that it’s CEO James Palm would retire in two weeks time (see Gulfport’s James Palm to Retire in 2 Weeks, Search on for New CEO). Gulfport is an important player in the Utica Shale, drilling some of the most prolific producing wells in the play, so when top management experiences a shake-up, it’s unsettling.

The search is over and Gulfport has a new CEO, a new COO, and a new member for the board. Interim CEO (and formerly the CFO) Michael Moore, a numbers guy, has been promoted to the top spot as CEO. Ross Kirtley, formerly COO for Ohio operations, is now COO for the entire company. Finally, both Mr. Moore and Michael Reddin, CEO of Davis Petroleum, have joined the board of directors. Here’s yesterday’s Gulfport announcement…
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PA HB 1684 Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act Hits a Snag

For nearly a month, the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) Pennsylvania Chapter has been pushing for passage of House Bill (HB) 1684, the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act (see PA NARO Alert: Tell Your State Rep to Vote YES on HB 1684). HB 1684 would ensure landowners get a minimum 12.5% in royalty payments from drillers. This is in response to alleged rumors that Chesapeake Energy has been screwing landowners by deducting transportation and other costs in a somewhat underhanded way. HB 1684 is supposed to stop that–going forward.

However, HB 1684 has “hit a snag” according state Rep. Matt Baker. As MDN has previously noted, this particular bill has divided landowners and drillers, something we don’t see often (see Rare Schism Between Landowners & Drillers over PA Royalty Law). The latest on the fate of HB 1684:
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DEP Says Residents Not Exposed to Pollutants in Chevron Well Fire

You may recall the Chevron well fire in Greene County, PA that resulted in the death of one contract worker on February 11th (see Chevron Well Fire Update: 2nd Well Capped, Work on 7 Wells Stopped). Soon after the fire began, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP started measuring and testing in the area–to ensure nearby residents and first responders were not being exposed to unsafe pollutants. They sampled both upwind and downwind for 57 different toxic air pollutants. The DEP did find elevated levels for some pollutants, but (thankfully) nothing that would threaten the health of those in the area.

Below are the results of the testing along with the DEP announcement in releasing the results.
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Dozens of Producing Gas Wells Exist <1 Mile from NY Vineyards

In the ongoing PR battle waged in New York State by nutjobs and wackos who spin lies that hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) will ruin the bucolic countryside and turn it into an industrial wasteland, one of their favorite lies is that fracking will tank New York’s Finger Lakes wineries. For those who don’t know, the Finger Lakes region in central New York contains world class vineyards and wineries. A minor digression: MDN editor Jim Willis, when he was a (much) younger man, was a staffer in the Ronald Reagan White House. He recalls his surprise at seeing not California champagne (from Ronald Reagan’s home state) being served in the White House, but instead New York champagne being served. Such is the storied reputation and history of New York’s wineries.

Anti-drillers would have you believe a few gas wells anywhere close to a winery would close it down. The truth of the matter is, dozens of gas wells have been located within one mile of wineries–for decades. Some, perhaps all of those wells (we’re guessing) used low-volume fracking. What? You mean there’s fracking in NY right now? YES. It’s not horizontal, high-volume fracking, but low-volume vertical fracking–and it’s been going on for decades in NY and continues to be used down to this very day. The only difference between low- and high-volume fracking is, well, more water and sand. But back to those wineries that somehow have not been devastated by gas wells that exist within a mile. Here’s some perspective from our friend Joe Massaro at Energy in Depth–who grew up visiting the Finger Lakes region…
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