EPA Draft Report Says Fracking Doesn’t Pollute Groundwater Supplies

researchYesterday the federal Environmental Protection Agency, at the request of Congress, released a draft assessment (executive summary below) on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities on drinking water resources in the United States. The EPA studied other studies, leaving no stone unturned (950 “sources” in all). What did they find? “Hydraulic fracturing activities in the U.S. are carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.” That is, fracking doesn’t pollute water supplies. They did point out certain “vulnerabilities” that can arise from fracking: drawing down water supplies in areas where water is in short supply; fracking in a formation that has a water supply in it (which we’ve never heard of happening before); poorly cased and cemented wells (yes, we know about it and have improved it over the years); discharging “inadequately treated” wastewater into public drinking water supplies; and spills on top of the ground. In other words, the study doesn’t tell us a darned thing we don’t already know–and concludes fracking doesn’t pollute water supplies. How much more plain and clear can it get?…
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PA DCNR May Go After Drillers for River/Creek Royalties Prev Paid

Once again we ask the question: Is the state of Pennsylvania robbing landowners of royalties by claiming to “own” certain streams and rivers in the state? We’ve raised this issue a few times, the most recent in May (see PA DCNR Publishes Lease Agreements for Deals Under Rivers/Creeks). The state of PA says they own any creek or river and consequently the mineral rights beneath it if the creek or river is, or ever has been, used for commercial trade or travel. So if a river or big creek ever had a barge floating along it 150 years ago (yesteryear’s version of interstate highways) PA claims it now as theirs–and denies landowners who own the land on either side of it royalties and lease payments for the land under it. Now the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), headed up by the PennFuture Secretary of the DCNR Cindy Dunn, aims to collect. And just like the IRS, DCNR is “exploring” ways they can collect for gas already extracted and paid for. Will that come from the landowner’s pocket? Will the driller have to pay twice for the same gas? You see how things work in the PennFuture-controlled Wolf administration…
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Mariner East 2 Giving Birth to Twin Pipelines

twin babiesIn November 2014 Sunoco Logistics committed to building the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline to increase capacity in moving natural gas liquids like ethane, propane and butane from western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery in Philadelphia (see Sunoco Logistics Will Build $2.5B Mariner East 2 Pipeline). Yesterday Sunoco said instead of building one Mariner East 2 pipeline, they’re going to build two of them–at the same time, side by side. Sunoco says the plan to add two more Mariner 2s is still tentative–they need to conduct an open season to be sure they can sell contracts for the pipeline before they will fully commit. But as of right now, they’re planning to give birth to “twin” pipelines…
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NY Biz Group, Congressman Ask Cuomo to Lift NY Frack Ban

In light of the federal EPA study released yesterday stating fracking doesn’t pollute groundwater supplies (see our lead story today), the Business Council of New York State and NY Congressman Chris Collins have publicly asked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to lift the fracking ban he has put in place in the Empire State. Since Cuomo’s decision had nothing whatsoever to do with actual science, don’t look for him to suddenly change his mind…
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MSC Devastating Critique of “Low Birth Weight Near Fracking” Study

Yesterday MDN told you about a new anti-drilling-backed so-called “study” by students at the University of Pittsburgh making wild claims about babies born near Marcellus Shale fracking sites having lower birth weights than those not born near frack sites (see Study Tries to Link Marcellus Fracking to Low Birth Weight Babies). We outlined the link between bought-and-paid for “science” that gets amplified by mainstream media. The Marcellus Shale Coalition also published their own criticism, saying, “A new non-peer reviewed paper – funded by the Heinz Endowments and posted on a pay-for-play website – fails by virtually every measure to demonstrate basic and sound research principles. Below are several of the many factors that skew the advocacy paper’s so-called findings.” The MSC goes on to critique the “research” and completely shredding and exposing it for the fraud it is…
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Penn East Pipeline to File Formal Application with FERC in Next 2 Mos

Where do things stand with the much-needed Penn East Pipeline from the Scanton, PA area to the Trenton, NJ area? According to a Penn East spokesman who met with a Wilkes-Barre newspaper’s editorial board yesterday, the company will likely file a formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the next two months, and if all goes well, construction will begin in late 2017. Along the way look for the Delaware River(keeper) Basin Commission to try and screw it up. The DRBC is increasingly controlled (and emasculated) by the whims and fancies of THE Delaware Riverkeeper, a virulently anti-drilling group. Penn East faced down one objection head-on in yesterday’s meeting: this gas will not be exported–it will all be used domestically (most of it in PA and NJ)…
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Babst Calland Releases Report on Legal Challenges in Marcellus/Utica

Ace energy law firm Babst Calland announced yesterday they have released their fifth annual energy industry report. Called “The 2015 Babst Calland Report – Appalachian Basin Oil and Gas Industry: Rising to the Challenge; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producers and Midstream Operators,” the annual review of energy and natural resources development activity acknowledges the continuing evolution of the drilling industry in the face of economic, regulatory, legal and local government challenges. Here’s an overview of the report…
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IEA 2015 Global 5-Year Gas Market Report, U.S. LNG in Trouble?

Yesterday the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its “Medium-Term Gas Market Report” covering the next five years. The somewhat troubling forecast is that the overall demand for natural gas will grow at a slower pace–just 2% per year–rather than their previous prediction from last year–2.3% per year–for the next five years. Normally with low low gas prices demand would pick up. But the IEA says Asia’s demand for natural gas over the next five years will *decrease* instead of increase, which more than offsets low prices stimulating demand. The IEA says this has big implications for the flurry of LNG export facilities being planned in the U.S. According to the IEA, several U.S. LNG export facilities will “likely to be delayed or even cancelled”…
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US Natgas Production Slides Backward in May; 1st Time Since Jan

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) won’t publish official domestic production estimates for natural gas until June 30th, but Bentek Energy, the analytics and forecasting unit at Platts, is already predicting what the numbers will show. Bentek says May natgas production in the lower 48 averaged 72.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in May, which is down 0.35 Bcf/d (less than 1%) from the April average. That will be the first time since January that overall production numbers has slide backward. One of the big factors in the numbers is production in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Cleveland Fed Says Banks Not Concerned About Bad Loans to O&G Industry

The Federal Reserve Bank did a survey of banks in April asking them about loans made to companies in the oil and gas industry. The results of that survey are interesting. In broad terms, most banks say they aren’t over-exposed to loans to oil and gas companies; that they know some of those loans will go south; and that they aren’t all that phased by the current tough times for the O&G industry. In the words of the Fed, banks aren’t “sounding the alarm” about loans to drillers and midstreamers…
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