New Western Study IDs Drill Site Equipment that Pollutes Most

Identifying the CulpritAn ongoing issue for shale drilling is the seeming conundrum that although we’re burning more natural gas and therefore the air, on average, is cleaner–the air is not cleaner in heavily drilled counties. We’ve seen studies in Pennsylvania (see PA DEP Report: Counties with Fracking Have More Air Pollution), West Virginia (see Did WVDEP Ignore It’s Own Research on Shale Well Air Pollution?) and now Ohio (see UC Hints Air Problems Near Drill Sites in Carroll County Research) that tell us where there’s drilling, there’s far more air pollution. This is an important issue that isn’t going away. Two days ago researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say they’ve identified what, precisely, is doing the polluting at drilling sites…
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New Law: PA Monthly Production Reports Starting in 2015

On Tuesday MDN told you about two new bills passed in the Pennsylvania legislature–one that will move oil and gas reporting from every six months to every month, the other that requires drillers who have leases expire to issue a “surrender document” as proof the lease has ended (see 2 Bills on PA Gov’s Desk: Monthly Production #s, Lease Termination). Both bills where authored and sponsored by Rep. Tina Pickett (Republican, Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna). Good news for landowners–Gov. Tom Corbett signed both bills into law yesterday. Beginning next year (March 31, 2015), PA will move from semi-annual to monthly production reports…
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EPA Inspector General’s Response to Sen. Inhofe: Screw You

As MDN has previously pointed out, the Inspector General of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Arthur A. Elkins, is a man who marches to the beat of his own drum (see EPA Inspector General: Bring Out the Jackboots on Methane). Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) sent Elkins a letter on Oct. 2 asking that the IG’s office to not proceed with a review of the EPA and the individual states and their ability to manage threats to water resources from hydraulic fracturing. That is, don’t open the can of worms that the feds should begin regulating oil and gas drilling by abusing laws like the federal Clean Water Act. Elkins just responded back three weeks later (see his letter below). He politely said to Inhofe, screw you…
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More Details on Magnum Hunter Super Utica Well Pad in WV

We now have more details on the ginormous Utica Shale well drilled by Magnum Hunter Resources in Tyler County, WV. MH confirms that the Stewart Winland 1300U (Utica well) tested at a peak rate of 46.5 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d). The entire 4-well pad together has a combined flow test of 97.4 Mmcf/d. The Winland 1300U is the single most productive Utica Shale well every drilled–at least so far! Here’s more details on all four Stewart Winland wells…
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Both Mass. Senators Oppose TGP Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline

Looks like Kinder Morgan will continue to have an uphill battle to get permission to build an extension to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline that crosses the state of Massachusetts to bring cheap Marcellus gas to New England. When the $6 billion project that would upgrade TGP in many states and build 177 miles of new pipe across Massachusetts was announced earlier this year, we were mystified that the response was muted to mildly positive (see Reaction to TGP’s Planned Pipeline Across Massachusetts). It took a few months, but the anti-drillers eventually crawled out of the woodwork to begin bashing away at the project (see NIMBYism Becomes NOMEism in MA Over Kinder Gas Pipeline). Now, both U.S. Senators from Massachusetts, along with other leading state Democrat politicians, are lining up against what is now called the TGP Northeast Energy Direct project…
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NRDC Says Efficiency, Not Fracking, Reason for Energy Security

The U.S. has drastically reduced its dependence on foreign oil in the just the past 3-4 years. Electricity prices keep going down for many Americans too. The price of natural gas keeps falling. The air is getting cleaner. Why? Because of shale drilling, of course. But if you shake the snow globe real hard, tap your heals together three times and enter into the alternate universe of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the reason for all of that good news not because of nasty, filthy shale–it’s because of (wait for it)…….energy efficiency. Instead of acknowledging that the miracle of fracking is the cause of this good news, the NRDC is attempting to simply rewrite history in an attempt to make cutting back–energy efficiency–the prime reason why things are looking up. Nice try NRDC, but no cigar…
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Stop That (Bakken Oil) Train!

The wackos at Earthjustice, along with the nutty Sierra Clubbers and a few other anti-fossil fuel groups have sent a petition to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation essentially calling crude oil trains carrying Bakken light crude over tracks in New York rolling bombs. The so-called environmental groups are calling on Cuomo to stop shipments of Bakken crude that traverse the state on the way to the Port of Albany where the oil is loaded onto ships and moved to refineries in the Gulf. Here’s the latest diatribe sent to Gov. Can’t-Make-a-Decision:
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French Supermajor Total CEO Killed in Freak Runway Accident

Tragedy has struck Total, a French multinational integrated oil and gas company and one of the six “Supermajor” oil companies in the world. Total has a small presence in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Late Monday night, Total’s colorful CEO, Christophe de Margerie, was killed in a tragic airplane accident in Moscow, Russia. The plane that de Margerie was traveling in was taking off and a drunk snowplow driver cut across the path of the plane. The plane hit the snowplow and burst into flames. Everyone aboard (four people in all) were killed. The drunk idiot driving the snowplow wasn’t hurt–go figure…
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Abioitic (Non-Organic) Methane Not as Rare as Once Thought

Everything you thought you knew about methane (or natural gas) is about to change. Until know you (and we) thought methane is solely a byproduct of organic things that have died (or living things that smell like they’ve died!). Methane coming from rocks like shale? That shale rock is full of what was once living things that died long ago–that’s where the methane in shale comes from. Except, there are times, albeit rare, that methane in nature comes from non-organic (non-dead) sources. It comes from a chemical reaction. It’s called abiotic methane and some recent finds by an Italian geophysicist may give anti-fossil fuelers heartburn…
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