New Gastar Utica Well in West Virginia Hits Peak of 36.8 Mmcf/d

Gas-Well-Decline-Curve-300x232Yesterday Gastar Exploration announced production rates for their second Utica well–drilled in Marshall County, WV. The Blake U-7H well production initially spiked at a high of 36.8 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) early in its first 30 days of being online. The overall average production rate during the first 30 days of going online was 20.2 MMcf/d. Following the first 30 days, the average production over the most recent 5 days was 14.8 MMcf/d. Which kind of gives you an idea of just how quickly well production tappers off…
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With Frack Ban Mission Accomplished, Joe Martens Leaves NY DEC

Joe MartensA day after issuing the final nail in the coffin of fracking in NY (see It’s Official: Cuomo Bans Economic Opportunity & Prosperity in NY), the guy doing the nailing is leaving. Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens is leaving the DEC to go back to the anti-drilling Open Spaces Institute–the organization where he was employed before coming to the DEC. It certainly appears like the main purpose in hiring Martens was to slow down, and then stop the momentum to allow fracking in NY. Now that Martens’ mission has been accomplished, he’s ready to make more money again, working for an organization dedicated to stopping any kind of development on land–including and particularly oil and gas development. MDN has been around long enough to have seen Martens come, and now go. We’re proud to say from his very first day on the job we questioned his appointment and commitment to seeing that fracking happens in the Empire State (see our article from February 2011: Gov. Cuomo’s Nomination to Head the NY DEC: Will the Real Joe Martens Please Stand Up?). We’ve always suspected, and shared with you our suspicions, that Martens is anti-drilling. We were right–not that being right feels any better because Martens has royally screwed every landowner in our beloved home state…
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Kinder Morgan Scores Important Victory in NH to Build NED Pipeline

The first domino has fallen. Kinder Morgan won an important victory in New Hampshire with respect to building the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project–an extension of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline from New York through Massachusetts into New Hampshire and back into Massachusetts. On Friday the staff of the NH Public Utilities Commission (PUC) signed off on a request by the state’s largest utility company, Liberty Utilities, to buy capacity from the new NED pipeline as it passes through the state. Because Liberty’s action will potentially affect ratepayers (some of the cost may be passed to utility customers), the PUC must approve it. Full approval for Liberty to contract for capacity on NED will happen later in July–but full approval is almost certainly a foregone conclusion because of this initial approval…
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PA’s Partisan Gov Wolf Vetoes No-Severance-Tax State Budget

Proving just how partisan (and mean spirited) the Democrats in Pennsylvania have become, every single Democrat senator voted against a Republican balanced budget bill yesterday (highly partisan, those Dems) and when the bill went to Gov. Tom “in over his head” Wolf, Wolf immediately vetoed the budget bill–the first time a sitting governor has vetoed an entire budget bill in 40 years. Tell us again, John Hanger, whose philosophy is “my way or the highway”? It’s certainly not the Republicans’ philosophy. Wolf and the Dems are playing a high stakes game of “chicken.” They are in the minority in PA and they want to see if they can bully, pressure, and otherwise force Republicans to tax the Marcellus Shale industry out of existence in the state. The Republicans, to their credit, are hanging tough. Unfortunately the Republicans don’t have enough of a majority to simply override Wolf’s childish veto–but give it time. Sooner or later, if they hang tough, some Democrats will cave and vote to override the veto…
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Columbia Pipeline Does it Right Way: $10K Gift to WV Fire Academy

Finally a case of what appears to us as not pipeline payola (buying support for a new pipeline project before it’s built or approved), but in fact a case of true community support for community support’s sake. Being a good neighbor. Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG), which operates a many hundreds of miles of pipelines in the northeast already, made a $10,000 donation to the West Virginia University Fire Service Extension/State Fire Training Academy in Weston, WV on Monday. Weston is located in Lewis County, WV, sort of in the center of the state. No new pipeline projects anywhere close. Congratulations to CPG for a selfless donation–perhaps the first true case we’ve seen!…
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New EIA Monthly Report Breaks Out Natgas Production by PA/OH/WV

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), has just replaced a previous monthly report with a new report that will be of keen interest to MDN readers. It used to be that the EIA produced the Monthly Natural Gas Gross Production Report. That report is no more. Instead, it has been replaced by the Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production report. The old report tracked and reported natgas production by state/region for LA, NM, OK, TX, WY and the Federal Gulf of Mexico. Those locations were, traditionally, where the vast majority of natural gas was produced in the U.S. But with the shale revolution, that’s now changed–dramatically. In addition to reporting monthly natgas production by state for the traditional locations, the EIA is adding 10 new states to the monthly report: AR, CA, CO, KS, MT, ND, OH, PA, UT and WV. Yep–where the super producing shale plays are located, including PA, OH and WV where the Marcellus/Utica is located. What’s the difference between this new report (which we’ve included below) and the monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) produced by the EIA?…
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NY Landowners, Drilling Industry React to Cuomo’s Frack Ban

Yesterday MDN brought you the news that the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) had finally issued a “Findings Statement” that provides the official rational, twisted as it is, for why New York is temporarily banning high volume fracking in the Empire State (see It’s Official: Cuomo Bans Economic Opportunity & Prosperity in NY). Organziations for both landowners (the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York) and the oil and gas industry (American Petroleum Institute New York) provided their reaction to this profoundly sad news…
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USGS: Marcellus/Utica Among Biggest Water Users in US Shale Plays

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is out with a new study on how much water is used to drill and frack shale wells across the United States. The report is titled “Hydraulic fracturing water use variability in the United States and potential environmental implications” and has been accepted for publication in the journal Water Resources Research. Sorry, we don’t have a full copy of the report, but we do have a summary of the report below which says that the heaviest water use is in shale plays like the Marcellus/Utica, which sits in an area with abundant water supplies (good for us). What the report fails to do is provide perspective–that the volume of water used in drilling and fracking shale wells is minuscule compared to the volumes used in electric power generation and agriculture. More water is used for golf courses than it is to drill shale wells! So while the study is no doubt interesting, it has (in our opinion) limited value…
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MDN Interprets NEPA Editorial on Coal, Natgas, Electric Generation

Sometimes you need a plain language guide to help you decipher the gobbledygook editorials issued by liberal newspapers. It’s like, what do they really mean? What are they trying to say? Why don’t they just use plain English to say what they mean? We spotted such an editorial in the Scranton Times-Tribune with respect to coal, natural gas, electric generation and so-called alternative energy sources, like wind. Below we’ve interpreted what the editorial writers really wanted to say in their otherwise indecipherable editorial…
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