SWPA Landowners Allege Range Withheld Info in Water Well Case

withhold informationMDN has been highlighting stories and writing about potential water well contamination by Range Resources at their Yeager well and wastewater impoundment site in Amwell Township (Washington County), PA since 2012 (see MDN’s list of Range/Yeager stories here). Residents living nearby have claimed their wells were contaminated, and their health affected. Range finally closed the wastewater impoundment at the site last year (see Range Resources to Begin Closing Yeager Impoundment on Monday). A judge ordered Range to produce a list of all chemicals used at the site since it was first drilled. One of the things Range didn’t disclose, according to the residents living nearby, was that the company used “tracer” chemicals when they originally drilled the well in 2009. Tracers are used to track the presence of fracking fluids. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) eventually ruled the water wells near the Yeager site were not contaminated by Range’s activities. The landowners are now appealing that decision based on this “new” evidence that Range used tracers, but never disclosed the use of tracers that investigators could have used in looking for evidence of contamination. The neighbors are alleging that Range engaged in a cover-up to keep what might have been damning evidence from the plaintiffs…
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PennEast Pipeline May Use Eminent Domain on Holdout Landowners

eminent domainIf landowners along the route of the PennEast Pipeline don’t sign a lease with the company, PennEast says they will be forced to (and will) use eminent domain to gain lease rights. The PennEast, as a reminder, is a proposed pipeline costing $1 billion that will run from Luzerne County, PA (near Wilkes-Barre) all the way to Mercer County, NJ (just outside of Trenton), flowing 1 billion cubic feet of clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas each and every day. Landowners along the pipeline’s route will still own the land, but there will be restrictions–you can’t erect a building over top of a pipeline, for example. PennEast looks at eminent domain as an absolute last resort. However, according to the radicals at the PA Sierra Club who are opposing the pipeline, around two-thirds of the landowners along the pipeline’s route have not yet signed a lease to allow the pipeline across their land. PennEast recently filed their official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see PennEast Pipeline Files Official Application with FERC, Antis Mad). Here’s an update on the eminent domain issue and the rank hypocrisy of the Sierra Clubbers on the pipeline issue…
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PA DEP Says 2010 EQT Spill Polluted Water Spring, EQT Appeals

appealThe Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) seems to have a grudge against EQT. Last October the DEP levied a $4.5 million fine against EQT over a leaky wastewater impoundment in Tioga County, PA (see PA DEP Levies Biggest Fine Ever, $4.5M Against EQT). At the time it was the biggest-ever fine by the DEP, since surpassed by an even bigger fine against Marcellus driller Range Resources. Right after the DEP levied its fine, the now-indicted-on-felony charges Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, issued an arrest warrant against EQT for the same thing (see PA Attorney Gen. Kane Abuses Office Again, Arrest Warrant for EQT). These days Kane is doing all she can to stay out of jail herself. In September, the DEP issued a new order/finding that says EQT spilled drilling fluid on the ground at a drill site that seeped into a local fresh water spring, polluting it to the point it’s no longer usable. Thing is, the accidental spill happened in 2010–more than five years ago! How and why in the world did it take five years to investigate something like that? EQT is pushing back. Earlier this week they filed an appeal…
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Carrizo Floats 6.3M Shares of New Stock, Hopes to Raise $212M

upsize meFor the past few months MDN has noted several large sales of Carrizo Oil & Gas stock by company CEO Chip Johnson, totaling nearly $2 million of stock sold since June (see Carrizo O&G CEO Chip Johnson Continues to Sell His Company Stock). Carrizo has drilling operations in both the Marcellus and Utica Shales. Yesterday Carrizo announced they are issuing up to 6.1 million new shares of company stock. Not long after the original announcement, Carrizo issued a second announcement “upsizing” the stock offering to 6.3 million shares. They hope to get $212 million, which works out to be an average of $33.49 per share. As of this morning shares of Carrizo on NASDAQ sold for $40.96. The company says they will use the proceeds to pay off debt. What we wonder is, will Chip Johnson be among the buyers of the new stock–selling high and buying low?…
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Gulfport Drops Lawsuit Against Barnesville, OH Over Water Sale

kumbayaIn 2012, Barnesville (Belmont County), OH signed a contract with Gulfport Energy to sell Gulfport water from the Slope Creek Reservoir for 1 penny per gallon. Earlier this year Gulfport wanted to begin drilling in the area, following a joint venture agreement with Antero Resources. But Barnesville said the water level in the reservoir is too low and wouldn’t sell any to Gulfport, so Gulfport sued and in March the whole matter ended up in federal court (see Gulfport Energy Sues Barnesville, OH for Access to Water in Reservoir). In May Barnesville hired high-priced lawyers from Columbus to help them defend themselves–lawyers they hired using money from selling water to another driller (see Barnesville, OH Hires Costly Columbus Lawyers in Gulfport Lawsuit). We hadn’t heard anything further since that time–the wheels of justice turn very slooooowly. Gulfport still hasn’t given up on wanting to buy the water, but on Saturday they did drop the lawsuit under an agreement with Barnesville (and Antero) to sit down and work out their differences, outside of a courtroom…
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Schlumberger 3Q15: Revenue Down 33% Worldwide, Down 47% in N.A.

chart going downHouston-based Schlumberger (pronounced Shlum-Bur-Zhay), the largest oilfield services company in the world, reported its third quarter 2015 financial results yesterday. Schlumberger has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica, as well as 85+ other countries around the world. BIG company–employing over 100,000 people. Schlumberger is a good proxy for how the entire oil and gas industry is doing, given its size. And how is the mighty Schlumberger doing? Worldwide revenue for the company is down 33% from the same quarter last year. If you look only at North America, Schlumberger’s revenue is down 47% year over year–nearly half! Revenue from outside of North America performed slightly better–down “just” 27% year over year. The reason for the massive drop in revenue, according to CEO Paal Kibsgaard: fewer rigs operating and for those rigs that are operating, drillers are hammering the company to lower prices. Was there any good news in the update? Schlumberger has taken advantage of the low price environment to hoover up a number of associated and/or quasi-competitive companies, including Cameron International, Novatek Inc., and T&T Engineering Services. Below are select extracts of yesterday’s update, followed by a PDF of the full update (for those into that sort of thing)…
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What’s Next for NY/NJ Port Ambrose Floating LNG Terminal?

who caresTwo days ago MDN told you that the U.S. Coast Guard has approved of a project off the coast of New York and New Jersey that would import natural gas from Trinidad (see Coast Guard Approves Port Ambrose LNG Import Terminal Near NYC/NJ). The USCG’s approval is an important step–but not the only step before Liberty Natural Gas begins construction of the Port Ambrose floating LNG facility. The project must be approved by the United States Maritime Administration too. And, either governor, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo or NJ Gov. Chris Christie, can veto the project and prevent it–a lot of power for a governor to wield. We’re not all that excited about the Port Ambrose project ourselves–we think it’s not necessary with all of the gas we have in the Marcellus/Utica. We also don’t like how Liberty bashes “fracked gas” like the molecules in Marcellus gas are somehow different from natural gas imported from Trinidad. That’s just a marketing ploy. What’s really hilarious is how anti-fossil fuelers are reacting. Once again, as they did with the fracking issue, antis are stalking Gov. Cuomo at public events to pressure him to veto this project. A group of made complete asses of themselves Wednesday night by dressing up in Revolutionary War-era costumes and singing environmental versions of songs from the musical “Hamilton” that Cuomo attended. Will Cuomo cave to these nutjobs yet again as he did with fracking? Will Liberty get to build their off-shore import terminal? Do we even care?…
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French Company Expands LPG Testing Service in Marcellus

good newsIt seems like almost every day we read the “bad news” that more rigs are being laid down in the Marcellus/Utica, and jobs are being lost. We’re in the midst of a vicious down cycle right now in the industry, waiting for light to appear at the end of this long tunnel. So when we spot a story, or press release (in this case) about a company selling to the industry that’s actually expanding rather than contracting, we like to highlight that good news. A company we’d not previously heard of, Inspectorate (aka Bureau Veritas, a French company), announced yesterday they have expanded their offices and laboratories in Linden (NJ), Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Inspectorate is a testing and inspection service for the oil and gas industry. The reason for their expansion in the northeast (and elsewhere in North America) is an uptick in demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) testing. Shale gas production drives increased market demand for propane, butane, and ethane, and along with it, the need to test it to ensure and verify quality…
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10 Sell-Out Big Oil Companies Support Paris Global Warming Treaty

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Eight CEOs from the Gang of 10

In a repugnant and self-serving public relations stunt, the CEOs for 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are pushing for “an effective climate change agreement to be reached at next month’s 21st session of the United Nations (UN) Conference of Parties to the UN Framework on Climate Change (COP21)” at the meeting being held in Paris in early December. That is, they’re pretending they believe in the total hoax that mankind is causing global warming and therefore all of the nations of the earth, including the United States, should give up their sovereignty to achieve something they have no control over–whether or not global average temps go up more than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Conveniently, most of us won’t be alive to see whether or not that ever happens. Fortunately none of the big oil companies signing this asinine statement are U.S.-based companies, although they all have serious (and large) operations in the U.S. Who are the Gang of 10?…
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Winter Safety Seminar Features NIOSH Marcellus/Utica Field Research

shaledirectoryAttention Marcellus and Utica drillers (and those companies working in and for the industry): A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) expert will present the findings of his field research in the Marcellus/Utica at the Winter Safety Seminar being held in Williamsport, PA on November 4th. OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), two federal agencies, are powerful forces when it comes to regulating companies across the country–including oil and gas companies. The NIOSH research will include a heads-up on what drillers and others in the industry can expect in the way of rules and the enforcement of those rules by OSHA and the EPA. Ignore this information at your own peril!…
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