Ohio Clinton Sandstone Horiz Wells on the Increase – Utica-Lite?

Bud LiteThere’s once again renewed interest in Ohio’s Clinton sandstone. This time the interest is in drilling horizontal wells–“baby” wells compared to a Utica well. Over a dozen horizontal wells either have been or are now being drilled in the Clinton. One company, traditionally a conventional (vertical-only) driller, says drilling a horizontal well in the Clinton is 3 times more expensive than a vertical-only well, but it’s 7-8 times more productive. Another driller puts the cost at 10 times more than conventional drilling but 20 times more productive. Any way you slice it, it seems that small and large firms alike are taking a close look at the Clinton, drilling for “leftover natural gas and oil.” Here’s details of who’s doing the drilling and where…
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Topeka Capital List of 7 O&G Takeover Targets Includes 3 in NE

eyes popping outInvestment firm Topeka Capital Markets recently issued a report (for their clients) of the “most likely” companies in the oil and gas space that will be takeover targets, presumably this year. Unfortunately we don’t have a copy of the report, but we do have a list of the names they say are likely targets. The list has seven companies on it–three of which are focused on the Marcellus/Utica. Two of them are some of the biggest in the Marcellus/Utica. One of them has our eyes popping out, frankly with disbelief…
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Hall of Shame: Republicans Cancel Fracking Under OH State Parks

Whew–that’s a relief! Ohio state parks are “safe” from that filthy, evil villain “fracking.” It would just be beyond the pale to allow fracking under (not on) state parks which could bring millions of dollars into the coffers of Ohio for RINO Gov. John Kasich to redistribute–say in property tax reductions (like he wants to do with revenue from a super-high severance tax). No no. That goes just too far. We can’t have the state making money from a safe activity like fracking under state parks. And so, once again, Republicans in Ohio have caved. They’ve backed down from a plan that would allow safe drilling under state parks–drilling that towns and cities and numerous municipalities in eastern Ohio allow–because…because they’re spineless? Well, yes! Newly elected House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville is one of the spineless wonders. House Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Al Landis, R-Dover, is another. RINO in chief Gov. Kasich was also opposed to safe drilling under state parks, that is, he was for it before he was against it…
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Shell #2 to Receive Sustainable Shale Development Certification

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) announced yesterday that a second company has achieved the organization’s vaunted seal of approval: Shell. You may recall last September Chevron became the first Marcellus driller to receive CSSD certification (see CSSD Bestows First Certification for Sustainable Drilling: Chevron). Both Chevron and Shell, along with EQT and CONSOL Energy, are founding members of the organization. The CSSD is a partnership between the Marcellus industry and environmental groups to boost the standards–and the image–of shale drilling. It got its start two years (see Important: Drillers & Enviros Form New Group, Launch Cert Program). MDN was initially critical of the organization, with concerns about the expense of a certification for smaller companies–and because CSSD may be setting artificially high requirements that won’t “protect” the environment any more than existing state standards–why spend money and jump through hoops when there’s no real gain in environmental protection? (It also didn’t help that their early attitude was our way or the highway.) However, we’ve spoken to both Andrew Place of EQT, the original acting executive director for the organization, and Susan LeGros, current executive director. In speaking with them, many of our concerns were addressed. We’re not yet full-blown fans, but we’re also not taking pot shots at the organization. Their objective is a worthy one. Will it catch on? That remains to be seen. Here’s the announcement that Shell is now CSSD certified…
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PA DEP Nixes Previously Permitted Wastewater Injection Well

The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection under Acting Sec. John Quigley (formerly from the anti-drilling organization PennFuture) has reversed a decision made by the DEP just last October to permit a rare/new wastewater injection well in Indiana County. Most Pennsylvania wastewater that gets injected travels out of state–to either Ohio or West Virginia–for disposal in their injection wells. It would be nice if PA handled a little more of its own wastewater. The DEP under previous Gov. Tom Corbett fully vetted a well Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) planned to use as an injection well in Grant Township. The DEP issued a permit for the well. Now they’ve welshed on their decision and rescinded the permit they issued last October. The only thing that seems to have changed in the past five months is leadership at the top of the DEP. Ergo, Quigley didn’t want this injection well…
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NFG Building Compressor Station in NY to Pump More PA Marcellus Gas

In an effort to pump more cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania into frackless (and feckless) New York State, National Fuel Gas Company has announced they’re building a $42.5 million compressor station in Cattaraugus County, NY in the Town of Hinsdale (western part of the state). Amazingly the county wants it! And the county industrial development agency (IDA) has approved it. While construction is going on, some 100 workers will be employed earning close to $7 million…
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Federal Court Tosses Out Lawsuit by Dr. in PA Act 13 Law – Again

The end of a loooong chapter in lawsuits over Pennsylvania’s Act 13 drilling law came earlier this week when a federal appeals court ruled that no, Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez, a nephrologist from Dallas in Luzerne County, PA does NOT have “standing” to claim Act 13 applies some sort of medical “gag rule” that doesn’t allow doctors access to information they need to treat their patients. Dr. Rodriguez, along with seven selfish towns, sued to overturn Act 13. The towns didn’t like being told they couldn’t zone drilling out of existence within their borders, and the doctor didn’t like being told he couldn’t blab drillers’ trade secrets all over the place. So it went to PA’s Supreme Court and they ruled in favor of the towns, but sent parts of the lawsuit back to a lower court, including the doctor’s portion (see Act 13 Goes Back to Lower Court, Disturbing Comments from Judge). The case has now been tossed out no less than three times in federal court. Hopefully this third time is the charm…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Leidy Lawsuit Costing Williams $125K per Day

The clock is ticking. As we told you on Monday, THE Delaware Riverkeeper–Maya van Rossum–is using her bags of money from the William Penn Foundation to try and stop the FERC-approved expansion of the Transco pipeline in northeastern Pennsylvania (see Dela. Riverkeeper Halts Transco Pipeline Upgrade with Lawsuit). The project, known as the Leidy Southeast expansion project, would add new pipeline next to existing pipeline–called looping. Williams (owner of the Transco) can only cut trees down along the path it needs to clear until April 1st. After that, they must wait until Nov. 1st to begin cutting again in order to avoid cutting down trees that may (or may not) become roosting spots for the endangered Indiana bat. van Rossum & company have gotten a sympathetic judge in D.C. to halt the tree cutting while he reviews her latest frivolous lawsuit. She’s trying to run the clock down. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was supposed to rule earlier this week. They didn’t. Every day they delay is costing Williams $125,000. We sincerely hope Williams sends that bill to van Rossum once the tree cutting begins again…
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Chutzpah: Dela. Riverkeeper Takes Credit for Pushing DRBC Around

As part of a story about THE Delaware Riverkeeper’s frivolous lawsuits to stop both the Leidy Southeast pipeline project and the PennEast pipeline project, an article quotes Maya van Rossum, head of Delaware Riverkeeper, claiming that SHE is the reason the Delaware River Basin Commission now puts all pipeline projects under a microscope. That’s real chutzpah. The DRBC quickly denounced van Rossum’s bunkum and said their standards for evaluating pipeline projects haven’t changed…
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Change in PA DEP Tone Toward Marcellus Industry Noticeable

The newly reconstituted Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection has taken on a decidedly more antagonist tone with the Marcellus drilling industry, unfortunately. You can detect this new tone, no doubt fostered by its new Acting Secretary, John Quigley (formerly from the anti-drilling PennFuture), in its press releases. Like the one below. The story is that there is a coal refuse site in Indiana County, PA used to process and store waste from coal mining. Close to that site is a wastewater impoundment where leachate (nasty water coming from the coal refuse site) was collected and stored, creating a somewhat toxic sludge under the impoundment. In addition, some shale drilling wastewater was stored in that same impoundment. It appears that most of the environment hazards come from the coal waste leachate, but notice how shale brine is intertwined, mixed in, subsumed and painted with the same toxic brush as the coal waste leachate–as if brine has the same (or worse) toxicity (which it doesn’t)…
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The Incoherence of WV’s Anti-Pipeline “Movement”

There are perhaps a dozen or less people in West Virginia who show up at meetings to protest against several much-needed pipeline projects in the state. One of them, Lauren Ragland, is a little known protester who started a group called West Virginia Wilderness Lovers, which seems to have changed names recently to WV MATTERS. Ragland sometimes appears at meetings toting around a hula hoop (see Hula Hoops & Tall Tales from WV Anti-Drillers Opposed to Pipeline). The membership of her group has magically grown to “95,000 members” according to the latest communication. Yeah, right. Anywho, Lauren, for whatever reason, includes MDN on her press release distribution list. The latest release is included below with no changes. If someone can please tell us what it’s about, we’d appreciate a heads up. From what we can tell, it’s absolutely incoherent, as is much of the anti-drilling movement…
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Grimm’s Fairy Tale: Big Tobacco + Big Oil Give Birth to….Solar?

Grimm's Fairy TalesHere’s one weird and twisted bedtime story: Once upon a time there was a filthy Big Tobacco company. Big Tobacco hooked up with a wealthy (and equally filthy) Big Oil company and they had a baby. And the baby was…….solar panels?? Yep. Philip Morris, one of the largest cigarette manufacturers in the world has contracted with Dominion, one of the biggest utility/midstream companies in the Marcellus/Utica region, to install 8,000 solar panels at the Philip Morris facility in Chesterfield County, VA so they can make more cigs. It will be the largest solar installation to date in the state of Virginia. The only problem here is that the “bad guys” (Big Tobacco and Big Oil) are the heroes by installing solar instead of using natural gas. This is a real dilemma for the anti-drilling/anti-pipeline gang in the Old Dominion State. It may cause a brain hemorrhage…
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