New Study Claims Marcellus Drilling Causes Serious Health Issues

junk scienceA new research study appearing in an online “journal” with very low standards, PLOS ONE, claims that hydraulic fracturing leads to an increase in hospitalization rates in the Marcellus Shale region. The research study, titled “Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates” (full copy embedded below) on the surface appears to contain damning evidence. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University looked at hospitalization records for three northeastern Pennsylvania counties from 2007-2011–Bradford, Susquehanna and Wayne. Both Bradford and Susquehanna counties have seen a huge amount of shale drilling over that period. Wayne County, on the other hand, has seen no shale drilling because of the intransigence of the Delaware River Basin Commission and their ongoing frack ban. The researchers say that people in Bradford and Susquehanna counties go to the hospital for serious heart conditions at a rate 27% higher than those in Wayne County. Ergo, there is a connection between fracking and health issues. We are fully in favor of rigorous academic research into issues like this one. But a few things bother us about this latest “fracking kills” study…
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Antero Hits 1.5 Bcf/d in 2Q15, Drilling 1st WV Utica Well in 3Q15

Antero Resources released an operations update for the second quarter of 2015–and what a great update! Antero reports hitting a net daily production of 1,484 million cubic feet equivalent per day (or 1.5 billion cubic feet/day) in 2Q15–a 67% increase over 2Q14. During the last three months Antero drilled and completed 13 Marcellus Shale wells with an average lateral distance of 8,300 feet, and 10 Utica Shale wells with an average lateral of 10,600 feet. The company picked up another 4,400 acres of Marcellus/Utica Shale leases in 2Q15 in “liquids rich” Tyler County, WV, giving them another 67 Utica drilling locations–adding to the 1,900 Utica drilling locations they have on 181,000 acres of leases they own in WV and PA. Antero says they will spud (begin drilling) their very first WV Utica Shale well in Tyler County during the third quarter of this year. Below is the full update, followed by their latest PowerPoint presentation for July with lots of great charts, graphs and maps…
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KM Buys Shell’s Share in Elba LNG Export Plant, Marcellus Exports?

Kinder Morgan, the country’s largest midstream/pipeline company, announced yesterday they are buying out Shell’s share of a joint venture in building an LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facility at the existing LNG import facility on Elba Island, Georgia–near Savannah. Currently Kinder owns 51% of the Elba Island LNG export project and Shell owns 49%. Kinder will now own 100% of the project after they pay Shell $630 million. Depending on how fast the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acts, Kinder believes construction will begin by the end of this year an LNG exports will begin “in late 2017.” What does this have to do with Marcellus/Utica? Maybe nothing, but we suspect something. Kinder’s arch rival Williams owns the mighty Transco pipeline that connects, via the Elba Express pipeline, to the LNG facility. Currently Elba Island imports LNG. However, Williams has been on a mission to send Marcellus gas south–including to Georgia (see Marcellus Gas Heading to Georgia via Transco Pipeline). We don’t think it’s much of a stretch that Marcellus Shale gas, via the Transco, will be at least some of, if not the primary, source for gas exported from the Elba facility…
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RV Parks Pop Up in Ohio Valley for “Transient” Shale Workers

Although drilling activity has slowed in many locations in the Marcellus/Utica Shale region, in some places it just keeps booming. Like Belmont and Monroe counties in Ohio. How do we know? Just take a look at the rise of “Oil City” located right next to the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville (Belmont County), OH. Oil City has 120 RVs and campers–all of them workers in the Utica and Marcellus gas fields. They are “transients” in the sense that new workers come in as other workers leave. Some are even from (gasp) “foreign” locations like Texas and Oklahoma (see OH Gov. Kasich Continues Trash Talk Out-of-State Workers). The words transient and foreigner are used by some as a pejorative to denigrate hard-working oilfield workers, blaming them for rowdiness and even for spreading STDs (see Is There a Link Between Fracking & STDs in Ohio?). How are oilfield transients perceived by the locals in the Ohio Valley area? A Monroe County official said this about the 350 transient oilfield workers living in RV parks in his county: “We’ve received little to no negative feedback. Most of them seem to work long hours, so they aren’t around all that much. They fit in pretty well.” So much for those who object to “foreigners” and “transients”…
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Antis Ask PA Gov Wolf to Stop New Drilling in Loyalsock Forest

Representatives from a dozen far-left anti-fossil fuel groups sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday asking him to illegally prevent drilling in the Loyalsock State Forest–where the mineral rights are owned by private individuals and not the state. Groups like PennFuture (most of whose employees now work in the Wolf Administration), the Sierra Clubbers and the League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters are signatories to the letter urging Wolf to wave his magic wand and prevent drilling in the Loyalsock. Of course their pleas and demands ignore the fact that drilling is already happening in many state forests–INCLUDING Loyalsock. Their objection is to the addition of more drilling in the Clarence Moore Lands area of the Loyalsock…
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Penn Virginia Sells E TX Assets for $75M – Avoiding Soros?

Although headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia), Penn Virginia Corporation is an oil and gas driller with only a small presence in the Marcellus Shale: 21,700 net acres with no drilled wells. They concentrate on oil drilling the Texas Eagle Ford Shale play. MDN told you in March that Penn Virginia’s top stockholder, the vile corporate raider George Soros, forced them to put themselves up for sale so George can line his pockets with more cash (see George Soros Finally Bullies Penn Virginia into Selling Itself). The company got an offer from BP, but rejected it as too low, just last month (see BP Makes Offer to Buy Penn Virginia, Other Majors Interested Too). Another major investor, Lone Star Value Management, told Penn Virginia to take BP’s money, but so far they haven’t (see Major Investor Tells Penn Virginia to Take BP’s Money and Run). Amidst all of this turmoil Penn Virginia announced yesterday they’ve sold some of their East Texas “assets”–acreage and operating wells–to an “undisclosed buyer” for $75 million…
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Rumor Mill: Alpha Natural Res. to File for Bankruptcy Next Month

rumor-mill.jpgJust a few weeks ago MDN brought you the news that coal company Alpha Natural Resources is expanding their Marcellus Shale operation and would begin drilling within the next 30 days in the Marcellus Shale in Greene County, PA (see Alpha Natural Res. Expands in Marcellus, Drilling Begins in 30d). Was that bluster? Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Alpha is in talks to get financing for filing for bankruptcy next month…
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Blue Racer Midstream Looks to Raise Another $300M from IOUs

Last November Blue Racer Midstream–the pipeline and processing plant company formed in 2012 as a joint venture between Caiman Energy II and Dominion and focused totally on the Marcellus and Utica Shale region–floated IOUs (called senior notes) due and payable in 2022 for $550 million. Must be nice to write out an IOU and get big bucks. Blue Racer is back for more. The company announced yesterday they’re floating another round of IOUs due payable in 2022 in an effort to raise another $300 million…
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OH Releases Another 3,300 Geophysical Wells Logs

Pssst. Hey buddy. Wanna buy a well log? The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) has just published another 3,300 newly scanned geophysical logs for oil and gas wells in the Buckeye State. That brings the total number of well logs available for purchase up to ~130,000. What is a well log? Well logging, also known as borehole logging, is the practice of making a detailed record (a well log) of the geologic formations penetrated by a borehole. Essentially it’s data or information about a well. Drillers make physical measurements made by instruments lowered into the hole (called geophysical logs). Geophysical well logs can be done during any phase of a well’s history: drilling, completing, producing, or abandoning. Ohio offers up their geophysical well log data for $5 per log (on CD-ROM). Here’s the ODNR announcement…
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