Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, May 12, 2014

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

New York

If New York relents on natural gas, will it be worthwhile?
Buffalo News
If fracking finally comes to New York, it isn’t likely to arrive like it did in Pennsylvania, via caravan after caravan of drilling rigs and trucks and wildcatters from out west. Instead, it is more likely to start with a few wells here and there in the eastern Southern Tier before maybe – maybe – growing into a thriving industry. That’s the closest one can come to consensus on the future of fracking in New York, which appears to be limited by two factors beyond the moratorium that currently bans the controversial gas drilling practice in the state.

Cuomo’s Solar Subsidies for the Wealthy
Natural Gas Now/Tom Shepstone
Andrew Cuomo is giving $1 billion in solar subsidies to some very wealthy folks and political donors at the cost of Upstate New York. Why is Andrew Cuomo spending $1 billion on solar subsidies? New York State is overtaxed to such a degree that few can afford to live there unless they’re already rich or living off the system. Many are voting with their feet to leave. Yet, the the Governor who cannot make a decision on natural gas somehow finds $1 billion to fund solar subsidies at a cost of $333,000 in public funds per megawatt of power, which doesn’t include what the consumer will have to pay.


Additional details from Antero Resources’ earnings call
Akron Beacon Journal
Here are some interesting Utica shale tidbits from Colorado-based Antero Resources from this week’s earnings calls between energy companies and analysts: Its Utica shale net production in the first quarter 2014 was 79 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalents per day, plus 5,200 barrels per day of liquids. The company expects a 50 percent increase in the Utica to 120 million cubic feet of equivalents in the second quarter 2014. Antero has five of the top 10 natural gas wells in Ohio including the most-productive gas well, the Gary 1-H in Monroe County. Antero says it those five wells are the only wells it has drilled, to date, in the Utica’s wet-gas window. The company said its oil production was in excess of 3,000 barrels per day or 18 percent of the liquids production, mostly from the Utica shale. Liquids accounted for 24 percent of the quarter’s revenue for Antero. It has 27 producing horizontal wells in the Utica. It completed 12 wells in the quarter.


Bradford County Farms Prosper During Shale Gas Boom
Natural Gas Now/Tom Shepstone
Recently released data on Bradford County farms shows just how much natural gas development has contributed to the agriculture economy of Pennsylvania. False notions take root easily, become part of conventional wisdom and can take years or even decades to dislodge from the collective memories of an interest group, a community or a nation. Less than half a century ago we thought ulcers were caused by stress, global cooling would soon propel us into an ice age and Japan would soon own most of the US. All are now largely forgotten history. Special interest groups have also been telling us fracking would lead to a decline in agriculture. That’s not true either. It’s just the opposite.

Area bridge projects get cash infusion from gas drilling fees
Erie Times-News
The Marcellus Shale is bankrolling bridge repairs in Erie County this summer. A one-time fee on oil and gas wells drilled into the shale will pay half of the estimated cost to repair and reopen the Union-LeBoeuf Road bridge near Union City and to repair twin culverts on Oliver Road in McKean Township this summer. Local municipalities will pay the rest of the bill. “We were thrilled to get the money,” McKean Township Supervisor Jan Dennis said of the $50,000 grant for the Oliver Road culverts. “It’s helping us tremendously. We were going to use our own workforce to do the repairs. Now, with the match money, we can bid it out to contractors.” The drilling fee revenues are shared by each of the state’s 67 counties based on population and Marcellus drilling activity. In Erie County, the money will fund greenways and bridge improvements.


PHMSA Charged with ‘Lapses in Oversight’ on State NatGas, Other Pipelines
NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index
The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) job of policing how individual states oversee natural gas and other pipelines within their borders has been lacking in a number of categories, according to a report Friday by the DOT’s Office of Inspector General. The study was ordered as a direct result of findings that came out of the September 2010 natural gas transmission pipeline rupture and explosion in San Bruno, CA, which killed eight people and injured dozens more (see Daily GPI, Sept. 13, 2010). The U.S. network of approximately 2.5 million miles of pipelines moves millions of gallons of hazardous liquids and 55 Bcf of natural gas every day, and PHMSA authorizes states to oversee and enforce operators’ compliance with federal pipeline safety regulations through its State Pipeline Safety Program. PHMSA also allocates grants to state programs.

The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies
Yep: “If Oil Didn’t Exist, We’d Have to Invent it.”: A Bright Future for “Yesterday’s Energy” – In January 2011, during his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama called oil “yesterday’s energy.” Here’s the reality: Oil has been “yesterday’s energy” for more than a century. And yet, it persists — because of continuing innovation that allows drillers to produce more oil and gas faster and more cheaply than ever before. If oil didn’t exist, we would have to invent it. No other substance comes close when it comes to scale, energy density, ease of handling and flexibility. Those properties explain why oil provides more energy to the global economy than any other fuel.

Convincing Americans It’s Time to Drill on Federal Lands
Real Clear Energy
Despite America’s recent oil and gas boom, the number of federal acres leased for oil and gas exploration has decreased 24 percent since 2008. In 2013, the federal government leased only 36 million federal acres. To put this in perspective, 131 million acres were leased in 1984. This harms not only economic growth, but also federal revenues. Still, over the last 5 years, U.S. oil production has grown nearly 50 percent. This is small compared to the over 400 percent increase in shale gas production from 2007 to 2012 (the latest data available). Despite the bleak economic picture, the nation’s political climate makes common-sense proposals such as opening up federal lands for increased energy exploration or turning over energy authority to the states impossible. That is, without political tradeoffs.

Oil & Gas Boom 2014: No End In Sight
In February, oil production in Texas hit a 34-year high, with combined oil and condensate volumes exceeding 2.9 million barrels of oil per day. For the first time in memory, Texas now produces more than 36% of all the oil produced in the United States, and if it were a separate country, Texas would now rank as the 8th largest oil producing nation on earth. Wow. We see endless speculation about how long we should expect the current boom in shale oil and natural gas that is happening in Texas and throughout much of the United States to last. Prophets of doom like proponents of “Peak Oil” theory and radical anti-economic growth activists like Bill McKibben say it’s all a “bubble” that will burst at any moment. Others actually involved in the development of shale resources tend to believe the correct answer today will be some variation on the theme: “a very long time.”

Stop global warming? Disputes over Md. wind farm, natural gas project show how hard it is
Washington Post
U.S. government scientists warned us Monday that the Chesapeake Bay will be washing over our ankles and threatening to dampen our knees within decades because of global warming. So why is it so hard to do anything serious to cut greenhouse gas emissions to protect the planet? Two major environmental battles over projects in Maryland are about to reach turning points in disputes that highlight the challenges. Coincidentally, both are on the Chesapeake’s low-lying shore, which is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels. In one, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) must choose this month whether to proceed with plans to build a $200 million wind turbine farm to produce clean electrical energy in Somerset County on the Eastern Shore. In the other, national environmentalist groups are strongly urging the Obama administration to put the brakes on a $3.8 billion project to start exporting liquefied natural gas from the Cove Point plant in Calvert County. Federal regulators are to release a crucial environmental assessment May 15. In theory, these two should be easy calls. Of course we should do whatever we can to promote renewable energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Fed govt failed to inspect higher risk oil wells
AP/Yahoo! News
The government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say. The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the agency that manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands. Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data.

New Natural Gas Technology for Luddites to Oppose
Natural Gas Now/Donald Roessler
Evolving natural gas technology may change everything about how we get our energy; but will the fractivists and Luddites do about this one? Did you know that technology has recently been discovered to generate electricity using natural gas without burning it? It’s a power cell technology, discovered by Professor Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering and being manufactured by Redox Power Systems.


Natural Gas Boom Is Attracting Manufacturing To The US From Overseas To Take Advantage Of Cheaper Fuel, Feedstock
International Business Times
In the wake of the American shale gas boom and the resulting cheaper power, U.S. manufacturers have been moving their work back home from overseas, and now foreign manufacturers, especially from Europe, are moving their facilities to the U.S. While prices in the U.S. power market have fallen due to cheap natural gas, prices in Europe’s power market are much higher, lifted by subsidies for renewable wind and solar power projects. European utilities have been decommissioning thousands of gigawatts from turbines in an effort to minimize losses. One of the latest examples of a European company moving its manufacturing to the U.S. is Germany’s Siemens AG (FRA:SIE), which supplies equipment to companies that extract and ship natural gas, converts the fuel into power, and uses electricity on a large scale for manufacturing. “Even though we have already missed a few opportunities, especially in unconventional oil-and-gas exploration, we still have excellent market-entry opportunities, especially in North America,” Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Putin’s Export Machine Rolls Right Over Sanctions, Outcry
Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine and the international condemnation that followed haven’t put a dent in Russia’s exports of gas and raw materials. The world’s largest energy producer shipped 2 percent more gas to Europe in the first three months of 2014 than it did in the same period last year, government data show. Diesel output for export increased, while cargoes of grains, palladium and nickel either climbed or were about the same. Russia’s crude oil exports fell 0.2 percent from last year.