New Study Finds Well Casings, Not Fracking, Cause Methane Migration

researchAnother new “study” and already the headlines are blaring. A research team led by Ohio State University and composed of researchers at Duke, Stanford, Dartmouth, and the University of Rochester have just published their findings that methane migrates from some shale wells into local water wells. It certainly doesn’t sound like earth-shattering news, but the headlines across the country range from “Bad fracking wells taint water, scientists find” (Sacramento Bee) to “Weak wells not fracking caused US gas leaks into water” (BBC). The media has picked up on this latest study and, depending on the view of the reporter, has spun it to either say fracking is the culprit, or fracking isn’t the culprit–and just about everything in between. Once again MDN will break it down for you and tell you what the study really says. And, we have a copy of the published findings (embedded below) so you can read it for yourself and make up your own mind…
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Norse Energy Appeals Town Ban Case Back to NY High Court

In April MDN reported on the rumors that Norse Energy, the ill-fated company that bet big on New York State with 180,000 acres of leased land in NY, had been sold at bankruptcy court (see Highest Bid for Norse Energy $2.65M – Was it Sold & Who Bid?). As we pointed out in the story, we don’t know if the company was actually sold, and if it was, who the actual buyer was. We still don’t know. What we do know is that the only thing left to sell were Norse’s leases, since they had already sold off all of the hard assets (see Lights Turned Off, Door Closed – Good Night, Norse Energy). However, the Norse trustee retained at least some of the leases assets so the company could continue their lawsuit against New York for bankrupting them. Try to get back at least some of that money. Then the double-whammy: The New York Court of Appeals (our highest court) ruled against Norse and said local towns can ban fracking (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). The new news, just coming to light for us, is that Norse appealed that decision back to the Court of Appeals for a second time, based on a recent decision in a Colorado court…
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Rex Energy: Utica Wells Pump Liquids; New Rig in PA; LOC +$100M

Rex Energy yesterday issued an interim third quarter 2014 update on results for their recently drilled and completed Utica Shale wells in Ohio, and on operations in Butler County, PA. Rex’s OH Utica wells coming online in Carroll County, OH showed low daily output for methane–2.1 million cubic feet per day–but more than made up for it with big output for condensate (“natural gasoline”) and natural gas liquids: one set of Rex’s Utica wells averaged 454 barrels per day of condensate and 433 barrels per day of NGLs. Rex also announced they are adding a third drilling rig in their Butler, PA area starting in early 2015 after picking up 208,000 acres from Shell (see Rex Energy Takes Shell to the Cleaners – Picks up 208K Acres). And, the company got a $100 million increase in their line of credit…
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Vantage Energy IPO Target Goes from $400M to $601M

In July, Colorado-based Vantage Energy, with a major operation in the Marcellus Shale, filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering (IPO) in which they said they want raise $400 million (see Marcellus Driller Vantage Energy Files for $400M IPO). That’s out the door. Yesterday, Vantage announced it is moving forward with an IPO later this month and they now hope to sell up to 23,550,000 shares of common stock and raise $601 million–a pretty healthy jump. Vantage owns 48,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale–in Greene County, PA. They also have a sizable stake in the Barnett Shale (in Texas). Vantage is a relatively young company, founded in 2006 by the former president of EnCana, Roger Biemans…
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Athens, OH Anti-Frackers Demand Army Corps Count Each Form Letter

The silly (and vacuous) “protesters” who don’t want GreenHunter to build a barge facility on the Ohio River (where there are what, dozens, hundreds of such facilities?) think that if they can convince enough like-minded (we use the term “minded” loosely) anti-fossil fuelers to sign their John Hancock on form letters that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should count each form letter individually instead of lumping them together. So instead of a “massive” 4,000 form letters received, the Corps records getting “fewer than 1,000” so-called protest letters against the wastewater barge facility. Appearances and raw numbers are all that matter to the carbon energy-allergic members of the Athens County Fracking Action Network (ACFAN). What’s the answer for this small group of people whose lives have no meaning apart from being against something? According to ACFAN and their odious backers at Food & Water Watch–sign more form letters to demand the Corps count their previous form letters!…
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Kasich to Laser Focus on Hiking Utica Severance Tax

Apparently Ohio’s RINO Gov. John Kasich–he who calls skilled gas field workers from Texas and Oklahoma “foreigners” (although he loves the money and jobs provided by companies headquartered there)–hasn’t been “focusing” on the issue of soaking Utica drillers with high taxes and apparently that’s why it hasn’t yet happened. So Gov. Kasich will center himself, hum a mantra and focus really hard on screwing the Utica Shale industry in the coming year and that, he hopes, will do the trick to raise the severance tax rate in his state…
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