NY’s Anti-Drillers Fail to Make a Difference in Elections

reading tea leavesWhat can we divine by reading the tea leaves from the recent election outcome in New York State vis-à-vis the relative strength of the anti-drilling agenda in the Empire State? A casual reference to media reports gives one the impression that those opposed to drilling–particularly in the Southern Tier area of New York–are on the rise. Yet in head-to-head contests (at least in the Southern Tier) pro-drilling candidates have now beaten anti-drilling candidates over the span of two election cycles. We can’t find a single race of consequence (anything bigger than town board level) where a pro-drilling candidate lost! Does that portend good things for New York State and the future of drilling?…
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Chevron Scaling Back in the Marcellus/Utica? Maybe

What a difference just a year or two makes–at least in the plans of a major oil and gas company like Chevron. It wasn’t so long ago that Chevron (2011) that Chevron bought out Atlas Energy and along with it 622,000 acres of Marcellus Shale leases. Chevron then picked up another 228,000 acres of Marcellus leases from Chief Oil & Gas. A little over a year ago Chevron got an initial approval to build a massive new 350,000 square foot headquarters in Moon Twp, PA, near Pittsburgh. Then the first red flag–Chevron put that project on hold in July of this year (see Chevron Puts Moon Twp, PA Office Building Project on Hold). Now a second, big red flag: Chevron is “restructuring” its northeast business unit. When a company throws around words like “become more efficient” and “long-term growth” that, frankly, does not foreshadow good things for some of the 700+ people who work in the Appalachia unit…
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Shale Saves the Family Farm in Carroll County, OH

Here’s a happy story that gets repeated again and again across the northeast: Shale drilling has saved the family farm. This particular story comes from the Utica Shale in Carroll County, OH where a farmer received an initial offer of $100 per acre–an offer that eventually went to $3,500 per acre signing bonus and 20% royalties. It was, according to the farmer, a fairy tale come true. Indeed, for a 233-acre farm, you do the math…
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Will Shale Drilling Come to…Juniata County, PA?

Having tracked Marcellus (and Utica) drilling since 2009, MDN is familiar with all of the counties in the northeast that have had or are seeing active shale drilling. Some counties have had just a few wells, but many counties have had a lot of wells. So it’s always interesting when we run across a county that hasn’t had any active drilling but believes, for some reason, they may see it soon. Such is the case with Juniata County, PA. We had to look it up on a map–where the heck is that county?! Juniata is in central PA, more or less. Not too far from Centre County (where Penn State is headquartered). Juniata has to rank as one of (perhaps THE) most rural counties in all of PA, with a population of under 25,000 people. Recently a landowner from Tioga County, PA–where they’ve seen a LOT of Marcellus drilling–was a guest speaker at the Juniata County Association of Township Officials. He had some good advice for Juniata residents with respect to what to expect if shale drilling comes to the county…
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Researchers: Frack Wastewater “Not quite as bad as we thought”

What do you know–some real science has once again popped up with respect to shale drilling. A pair of researchers from Rice University published the results of their analysis of frack wastewater from the PA Marcellus Shale, the TX Eagle Ford Shale, and the NM Barnett Shale. The study, titled “Organic compounds in produced waters from shale gas wells” (full copy below) was just published in the October issue of the journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts. The study is a detailed breakdown of the chemical components found in shale wastewater. And what did the study find? According to one of the researchers, the results show the frack water “was not quite as bad as we thought”…
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PA AG Kane Tries to Derail Counter Lawsuit in Minuteman Bankruptcy

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is once again trying to manipulate the court system to support her ongoing witch hunts into the Marcellus Shale industry. You may recall she previously abused her office in filing criminal charges against XTO Energy for an accidental spill that occurred two years before she took office (see PA AG Abuses Her Authority, Files Criminal Charges Against XTO). She’s also brought criminal charges against EQT (see PA Attorney Gen. Kane Abuses Office Again, Arrest Warrant for EQT). But it’s not only the big boys she has a vendetta against. She also shut down a small company that does environmental remediation and wastewater disposal (see Minuteman Enviro Says PA AG Office “Terrorized” Family Members, Filing Lawsuit). The company had the audacity to fight back, filing their own lawsuit against Kane because she’s forced the company into bankruptcy by her abusive actions (see Minuteman Sues AG Kane’s Office for $20M + Punitive Damages). Kane now wants to keep the bankruptcy court judge from making a ruling in that lawsuit, furthering her abuse of power…
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Seneca: Volume Up 44%, Drilling Utica Well in Tioga County, PA

National Fuel Gas and its wholly-owned drilling subsidiary, Seneca Resources, filed their fiscal year fourth quarter (everyone else’s third quarter) update late last week. National Fuel Gas is not only a Marcellus/Utica E&P but also a midstream company (pipelines) and a utility in western NY and northwestern PA. Among the pickings from this latest update: Seneca’s drilling program continues to generate success–natural gas volumes were up 43.8% in the northeast compared to a year ago. Seneca is operating two rigs in the Marcellus and a third rig is currently drilling a Utica Shale well in Tioga County, PA…
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New Target for Lebanon, PA Antis: Mariner East Pipeline

Even when we’re joking–we’re often right! Case in point: A week and a half ago we noted that Sunoco Logistics had begun testing the Mariner East pipeline in Lebanon County, PA (see Mariner East NGL Pipeline Begins Tests in Lebanon, PA). Sunoco is repurposing the pipeline to flow natural gas liquids. In referencing the small but dedicated band of anti-drillers in the county who oppose the Williams Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project, we said at the time, “Wait til they wake up and realize a pipeline already in the ground (has been for decades) is about to be reactivated!” Indeed. Three residents from West Cornwall Township in Lebanon County have filed a zoning appeal against the county for issuing permits to Sunoco Logistics allowing a pump station in the township…
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