PIOGA Turns Up the Heat on Wolf/Quigley Over TAB/Chapter 78

turn up the heatThe Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association turned up the heat on newly-elected Gov. Tom Wolf and Acting Dept. of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley. In fact, the temperature is downright hot. The issue is Wolf and Quigley’s possibly illegal maneuver in firing the members of the previous DEP Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Committee (TAB) and appointing all new members, PLUS appointing so-called non-voting members who are largely from environmentalist organizations–there to gum up what until now has been a well-oiled machine. In a letter addressed to current TAB members (minus the extra non-voting members), with copies going to Wolf, Quigley and a host of others, PIOGA tells TAB they should reject Quigley’s last minute reworking of Chapter 78 and 78a rulemaking (i.e. new regulations, see PA DEP Gives Public 45 Days to Comment on O&G Rule Changes). According to PIOGA, Quigley has clearly overstepped his authority as granted by the legislature and although it’s uncomfortable politically, the new TAB members need to “do the right thing” (our words) and reject Quigley’s changes…
Continue reading

Cabot Drills Test Well in WV Rogersville Shale, More on the Way?

A fascinating story in Sunday’s Charleston Gazette shines a light on the Rogersville Shale formation in southwestern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. We’ve mentioned the Rogersville a few times on MDN–a shale layer that is older and much deeper than the Marcellus. The Marcellus is about a mile down. The Rogersville is between 9,000-14,000 feet down, or 2-3 times the depth of the Marcellus. Until now we’ve heard about potential Rogersville activity in Kentucky (see Fracking on the Way in the Bluegrass State? Quite Possibly and Kentucky Fracking One Step Closer: Commission Considers 1st Permit). Two exploratory wells have already been drilled in the Rogersville in Kentucky. But the new news, the thing that interests us, is that Cabot Oil & Gas has now drilled a test well in the Rogersville in West Virginia…

Continue reading

First Time Ever: US Shale Produces Less Oil/Gas Month Over Month

As MDN pointed out a month ago, the U.S. has seen a turning point in the production of shale oil and gas (see Turning Point: EIA Drilling Report Shows Slow Down in Production). Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is fresh out with its monthly Drilling Productivity Report for April/May. It shows a couple of firsts. Last month the major shale plays in the U.S. produced about as much oil as they did the month before (April estimates vs March estimates). But the major shale plays produced 221 million cubic feet per day (mmcf/d) more of natural gas in April than in March. This month that’s all changed. For the first time, the major shale plays, in May, will have produced 5,700 barrels of oil per day less than the month before, and 23 mmcf/d less of natural gas. However, the Marcellus and Utica shales will both produce more oil and gas in May than in April–although the rate of production in both has greatly slowed…
Continue reading

Wolf Appoints Energy “Advisor”; Says Natgas Should Stay in PA

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf must have a fetish for staffers who can advise him on energy issues. Maybe he feels less-than-adequate following in the footsteps of Tom Corbett–someone who really understood the energy industry? Wolf has two former secretaries of the Dept. of Environment Protection (DEP) on his staff–Katie McGinty, his chief of staff, and John Hanger, his Secretary of Planning and Policy (i.e. Secretary of High Taxes). Wolf also appointed the former Secretary of the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resouces, John Quigley, to become his current Secretary of the DEP. He had loads of experts on the environment and energy, but apparently they aren’t enough to advise him on what he should think about energy in the Keystone State. So Wolf has appointed someone to be his “top” energy advisor, who happens to be (surprise!) a lawyer…
Continue reading

Trumbull Injection Wells NOT the Source of Wetland Contamination

Last week MDN told you about 5 injection wells in Trumbull County, OH that had been shut down by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) following a finding that some of the frack wastewater intended for the wells had been found in a local wetland and nearby pond (see ODNR Shuts Down 5 Injection Wells in Vienna, OH After Spill). Yesterday MDN told you that no nearby water wells were affected by the spill (see Trumbull County Injection Well Spill Didn’t Affect Water Wells). Here is “the rest of the story.” The five injection wells, owned by Kleese Development Associates of Warren, OH, were NOT the source of contamination of the wetland and pond…
Continue reading

OSHA Puts Shale Industry Under the Compliance Microscope

Listen up Marcellus and Utica Shale industry and beyond–anyone whose company has a NAICS classification code of 211111, 213111 and 213112 (Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; Drilling oil and gas wells; Support activities for oil and gas operations). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has its eye on you. The legal beagles at the Vorys law firm–with offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania, DC and Texas–have issued a “client alert” to let shale industry companies know that OSHA is about to put you under a microscope. If you get tagged as a “severe violator,” which only takes “two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices,” you can expect all of your operations to undergo an OSHA anal exam…
Continue reading

Medina County, OH Anti Group Targets Pipeline with “Bill of Rights”

Wacko fossil-fuel hating anti-drillers know the best way to strangle future drilling is to stop pipelines–so that’s where they now spend their time and effort. A new group of that ilk has sprung up in Medina County, OH. Calling themselves Sustainable Medina County, this small group of people is hoping to hoodwink 4,900 people in the county to sign a petition to get a measure on the ballot in November that would create a new county charter with a so-called bill of rights. It’s all hocus pocus aimed at giving elected county leaders the “right” to refuse pipelines from being built–something not in their Constitutional power to do. If the measure gets on the ballot and passes, county residents can expect their taxes to go up to pay big legal fees to defend such an action…
Continue reading

US Fish & Wildlife Fixes Wrong Problem for Northern Long-Eared Bat

Recently the Obama administration’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) did a disservice to not only the drilling industry, but the wind industry, farmers and the construction industry. USFWS listed the northern long-eared bat as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). USFWS says a fungus is spreading through the bat population, killing it. The northern long-eared bat is found in pretty much the eastern two-thirds of the country, minus Florida (see the map below). The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) points out USFWS has admitted the the bat is threatened because of something called white nose syndrome–which has nothing to do with habitat destruction. Yet drillers and midstreamers will now be hamstrung with new regulations to “save the bats” even though they are not the ones causing harm to the bats. It’s a typical Washington solution–“fix” the wrong problem…
Continue reading

Zombie Alert! Hilcorp Wants to Drill Under OH Cemetery

zombiesThis is truly brazen. We’ve previously written about callous drillers like Hess who drilled next door to a cemetery (see Hess Has Gall to Drill Utica Well Next Door to a Cemetery in OH). We mean, the gall! But never in our wildest dreams did we think somebody would drill UNDER a cemetery. You know, where the souls of the dead roam around? Yes indeed. Hilcorp Energy has asked Fairfield Township Trustees (in Columbiana County, OH) to sign a lease for a quarter of an acre of cemetery property. Signing bonus would be $500 along with a 15% royalty on anything produced. Bring on the zombies!…
Continue reading