Tackling a Tough Issue: Compressor Stations Near Populated Areas

tough issuesThere’s no denying that compressor stations located in populated neighborhoods create problems. We have two examples to share–one from Lawrence County, PA, and one from Broome County, NY (MDN’s backyard). The usual complaint about compressor stations–required to compress natural gas and send it on its way through a pipeline system–is the noise. Noise seems to be the chief issue with a compressor station in Lawrence County, PA where landowners, many of them (most? all?) have signed leases with Hilcorp, the company that owns the compressor station in Mahoning Township, a township that borders Ohio. Although noise has also been an issue at the compressor station in the Town of Windsor, NY (Windsor borders Pennsylvania)–about five miles from the border of the City of Binghamton–noise at the Williams compressor station is now largely mitigated. In the case of the Williams compressor, the concerns by those who live closest to it are regular releases of mercaptan and constant truck traffic to and from the station…
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Rex Energy Marcellus vs Upper Devonian – Which Produces More?

An interesting update from Rex Energy yesterday on production results for two of their wells in Butler County, PA. Rex drilled four wells on the Renick well pad–three of them in the Marcellus layer, one of them in the Upper Devonian layer. The well results reported were for one of the Marcellus wells and the Upper Devonian well. What is fascinating to MDN is that the initial production rates for the two wells–one Marcellus and one Upper Devonian are quite different. Question: Which layer do you think produced more natural gas–the Marcellus or the Upper Devonian?…
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Harvard Study: Fracking is Safe, Profitable, Good for Environment!

Wow–who woulda thought Harvard University would publish a report that says fracking is a good thing (when done right) and that it will create 3.8 million new jobs by 2030 AND lower carbon emissions? The report, titled “America’s Unconventional Energy Opportunity” (full copy below) outlines “a strategic, fact-based approach to developing America’s new energy advantage to increase U.S. competitiveness and drive much-needed job and economic growth, to reducing environmental impacts, and to accelerating progress on climate change.” The authors say that with some tweaks to regulations and by using know best practices, hydraulic fracturing is safe–and an economic bonanza for America–AND good for the environment (reduces nasty carbon dioxide which causes mythical global warming)! It’s important to note the study was self-funded and published by the Harvard Business School. No outside money was involved from the likes of the Park Foundation or Heniz Endowments or William Penn Foundation–virulent anti-drilling Big Green organizations that routinely purchase “scientific” studies with pre-determined outcomes. This time is different. The authors were not beholden to big money benefactors. They are smart people tackling tough issues with an open mind–and the conclusion they come to is the same conclusion reached by millions of people who bother to research the issues: fracking is safe…
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Williams Transco Leidy Pipeline Ruptures in Lycoming County, PA

A Williams Transco Leidy pipeline ruptured in Lycoming County, PA around 9:30 pm Wednesday night. There was no fire–and no one was injured–but families within a 3-mile radius were evacuated as a safety precaution. By 11:45 pm they were allowed to return home. Williams is not yet sure what caused the rupture–they’ve sent off a section of the pipeline to a lab for analysis. No word (yet) on how long before the pipeline is repaired and flowing again…
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Bradford County, PA May Join Royalty Lawsuit Against Chesapeake

In 2013, a group of Bradford County, PA landowners joined a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy over Chessy’s apparent cheating them out of royalties using a ploy to pay high fees for pipelines in return for investments from that pipeline company later on (see Bradford County, PA Landowners Sue Chesapeake over Royalties). Some Bradford landowners were getting royalty checks from Chessy for a few dollars–literally. At issue is a state law that stipulates drillers must pay a minimum of 1/8 of revenue from gas and oil in royalties to the landowner. The controversy comes in that Chesapeake claims their contracts allow them to deduct reasonable expenses, like getting the gas to market, from the total. And with low prices–oh well–those royalty checks go far below 1/8. So what is at issue is how you define 1/8 for the purposes of paying royalties. Is it 1/8 of the gross? Or 1/8 of the net? And what would be allowed to be deducted for the net number? MDN previously told you about PA House Bill (HB) 1684 meant to clear up the confusion. HB 1684 went no where in the legislature last year (see Does PA Royalty Bill 1684 Still Have a Chance This Year?). Looks like the bill will come back around again this year–but before it does, the supervisors of Bradford County, which has land under lease with Chesapeake, are seriously considering joining the lawsuit against Chesapeake. They’re tired of waiting for 1684 to become law and tired of being shorted on their royalties…
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New Bill Allows Drillers to Use Acid Mine Water for Fracking in PA

An idea whose time has come–in fact is long overdue–is that of re-using acid mine water (AMW) for fracking. The Old Forge borehole was drilled years ago near Scranton, Pennsylvania to alleviate the problem of water seeping into abandoned coal mines in the area, contaminated mine water that was threatening the water table. Old Forge was drilled to channel that water out–and into the Susquehanna River. Some 60-100 million gallons of acid mine water comes out of that hole every single day! It is the largest single source of pollution for the Chesapeake Bay. In 2013 money was allocated to begin a pilot project to clean up the acid mine water at Old Forge, using money from the impact fee assessed on Marcellus drillers in the state (see Specifics on Marcellus $ Helping to Clean Chesapeake Bay Pollution. While that’s a great plan, what’s even better is that drillers are ready and willing to use AMW for fracking operations–except for liability laws. The current laws on the books say “if you touch it, you own it” and drillers are afraid if they begin using AMW, litigious lawyers for Big Green groups like Food & Water Watch will take them to court and try to bankrupt them–claiming the AMW, even if treated, is causing negative environmental and health issues…
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National Fuel Gas’ Appoints New Bd Member from Colorado – Why?

reading tea leavesOne of MDN’s favorite pastimes is reading the tea leaves. Connecting the dots. Warning: sometimes the dots we connect end up not connecting. 🙂 We don’t bring you every personnel announcement, especially new appointments to boards of directors, because, well, how does that affect the average landowner, driller or business that wants to profit from the Marcellus/Utica? We try to bring you relevant news–things that impact you. Today we have an observation–purely speculative–about a new board of directors appointment. National Fuel Gas Company, a Buffalo, NY-based utility that also has a big drilling division (Seneca Resources) and a large midstream (pipelines) operation, has just named Joseph N. Jaggers to its board of directors. Who is he and what does his appointment portend?…
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American Medical Assoc Votes for Full Disclosure of Frack Chemicals

The American Medical Association (AMA) is inhabited–some would say infested–with politically correct left-leaning liberals. At least that’s true of the leaders of the association. So it’s no surprise that in the name of “health” and “science” the AMA passed a policy at their annual meeting requesting something that already exists–full disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking. It makes no difference that full disclosure is already being done–the AMA is making a political statement–not a health or science statement…
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PA Rabbit Breeder Settles Lawsuit w/Land Co for 168 Dead Rabbits

It took more than a year, but a lawsuit filed by a rabbit breeder in Lycoming County, PA has reached an out of court settlement for the death of some of her rabbits. MDN first told you about this case in May 2014 (see Fracking Killed the Rabbits!). The rabbit breeder, Susan Knowlden and her husband Terry, claim they had an agreement with CGG Land to not fly helicopters near the rabbit farm. CGG was doing seismic testing in the area at the time. CGG was supposed to stay at least 1,000 feet away–a “no fly zone” over the rabbits. But they got too close and “boo!” there goes another rabbit, keeled over dead. Nobody is saying what the settlement is for (confidentiality agreement), but rest assured CGG paid out big money for 168 hasenpfeffers–rabbits they scared, literally, to death…
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