PA Court Says 7 Towns Can Keep Marcellus Money & Ban Drilling Too

Have Your Cake & Eat it TooThe seven Pennsylvania townships that sued and ultimately won the right to gut the Act 13 law over zoning regulations (Robinson, Nockamixon, South Fayette, Peters, Cecil, Mount Pleasant, and the Borough of Yardley) don’t want drilling in their townships, but they sure love the money that comes from drilling. In addition to gutting the zoning provisions in the Act 13 law, the towns bridled when the Public Utility Commission (PUC), acting in accordance with the Act 13 law, withheld money from four of the seven towns for their anti-drilling ordinances that violate state oil and gas drilling law. Yesterday the court said the PUC couldn’t do that anymore–further gutting Act 13. However, three other outstanding issues about Act 13 were decided in favor of the drilling industry, including the so-called doctor “gag rule”…
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Delaware Riverkeeper Wins Right to Get Half-Baked Radiation Data

In January 2013 the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced they would study the issue of radiation levels in shale oil and gas waste (see PA DEP Announces New Study of Radiation in Shale Drilling). The study would take an estimated 12-14 months. That time has come and gone. The DEP is finished with its data collection–but not quite done with analyzing, verifying and (eventually) publishing the results. Not good enough for the Delaware Riverkeeper (the eccentric Maya van Rossum, see Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) Gets a French Kiss from Phila. Inquirer). The litigious van Rossum via her DRN filed an appeal to get her hands on the preliminary/unsubstantiated/unvetted data collected by the DEP–and she won…
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SGICC Grant Funds PA Study on Converting Marcellus Gas to Methanol

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC) earlier this week announced they have made a grant (amount undisclosed) to “boutique consulting firm” ADI Analytics to study whether or not it’s economically feasible for PA to convert natural gas to methanol using a small or medium size plant. The findings of the study, due later this year, could have a big impact in PA–both by using more of the abundant Marcellus Shale gas supply, and in supplying jobs and economic benefits from a methanol plant. What, you may ask, is methanol used for?…
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Defining Our Terms: Different Types of O&G Reserves

From time to time MDN mentions a driller’s “proved reserves” and sometimes their “unproven reserves.” Like this story from earlier this week: Magnum Hunter Proved Reserves Up 10.7%, Marcellus/Utica Tops; or this story from February: CONSOL Proved Reserves Up 44%, Marcellus the Key. Sometimes we define those terms and sometimes not. There’s always new MDN readers who may not be all that familiar with industry inside lingo. Yesterday our favorite federal government agency–the U.S. Energy Information Administration–published a helpful guide to define just what proved/unproved and other types of reserves mean. It’s a sort of “Oil & Gas Reserves 101” kind of article, a very helpful article we thought you would find useful…
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Fisherman: Marcellus Isn’t Causing Fish Kill in Cross Creek Lake

Apparently in the anti-drilling zeal to stop drilling in places like Washington County, PA, some people have made reckless claims that Marcellus Shale drilling has led to fish kills in places like Cross Creek Lake, a 258 acre lake owned by Washington County that sits inside a 3,300-acre county park off Route 50 between Hickory and Avella. One fisherman who’s been fishing the lake for the past four years (and fishing in general for the past 40 years) says he thinks inexperienced or careless anglers are the source of dead fish turning up in the lake, not Marcellus drilling…
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Methane Detection Company – Sensitive Enough to Detect Cow Farts

Yet another example of a company in a far-flung industry that’s finding success by selling a service to the Marcellus drilling industry. Cherokee Helicopter Service in Washington County, PA is working with drillers and midstream companies to detect pipelines and drilling operations that leak methane. The equipment used by Cherokee is so sensitive, it can detect a single cow farting…
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Attack of the Drones: Using UAVs to Make Marcellus Safer?

Drones–model airplanes and model helicopters with cameras (or bombs) strapped onto them are all the rage. Even in shale-land! A small start-up company in Pittsburgh is manufacturing quadcopters (a model helicopter with four rotors) that can be used to fly along pipeline routes, carrying equipment to sniff out potential methane leaks. According the the inventor, it’s a lot less expensive than flying a real helicopter along a pipeline or sending people by foot…
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