PA DEP Admits No Radiation in Ten Mile Creek, Closes Investigation

rest of the storyHere’s a story most of the Democrat anti-drilling media won’t tell you–but we will. In 2014 Pennsylvania anti-drillers from a local chapter of the Izaak Walton League, a so-called conservation organization, attempted a smear job on the Marcellus Shale industry. They alleged that shale drillers were illegally dumping frack wastewater in an abandoned coal mine, the Clyde Mine, which sits near the Ten Mile Creek where the creek joins the Monongahela River. According to the smearmeisters, the illegally dumped wastewater was leaking out of the mine and into Ten Mile Creek (see Is Shale Wastewater Causing Radiation Spike in Ten Mile Creek?). They claimed testing they had done showed high levels of radioactivity that could not come from just acid mine drainage, that it is radioactivity typically seen in shale wastewater. Of course the allegations got a lot of media attention. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) investigated and echoed their concerns with initial tests also showing high radioactivity. Except the testing done by the DEP, and the testing done by the Izaak Walton League, WAS THE WRONG TYPE OF TEST. They blew it. Researchers from West Virginia University came in and tested using the appropriate type of test and found no elevated radioactivity (see PA DEP Screws Up Water Test at Ten Mile Creek – Egg on Face). The DEP has just concluded six months of their own tests–the right type of tests–and guess what? They’ve also found there IS NO elevated radioactivity in Ten Mile Creek nor anywhere else in the area…
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PA DEP Fines CNX Gas $450K for Drawing Too Much Water Too Often

Turns out drawing “free” water from a reservoir in Pennsylvania can cost you quite a bit. CNX Gas, the drilling division/subsidiary of CONSOL Energy, didn’t follow an agreed-upon plan for how much, and how often they withdrew water from a reservoir in North Franklin Township (Washington County), PA. The water withdrawal violations went on between 2011 and 2014 and because of it, CNX will now pay a whopping $450,750 fine. Three-fourths of the fine goes to the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the other one-fourth goes to the PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). Here’s the details from the DEP…
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Hilcorp is to Northern Utica as Cabot is to Eastern Marcellus

We’re always fascinated how some companies, like Cabot Oil & Gas, make money even in the lowest of low price environments with their Marcellus wells in Susquehanna County, PA (northeastern part of the state), while another driller right down the road, like WPX Energy, can’t make money and end up selling all of their wells and leases. What does Cabot do right that WPX doesn’t do? That’s the gajillion dollar question. We’ve observed a similar situation in the Utica Shale region of western PA/eastern OH. Hilcorp Energy is drilling Utica wells in Lawrence County, PA. In fact, Hilcorp is the “dominant active prospector” in the northern tier area of the Utica Shale–an area including Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in OH and Lawrence and Mercer counties in PA. Hilcorp is strong and steady–and they’re making money. They’re also producing gas–lots of it. Lawrence County, PA produces almost as much natural gas as the far-more-drilled Columbiana County (OH). And it’s nearly all Hilcorp gas in Lawrence County. So if Hilcorp is like the Cabot of the Utica, who’s the WPX of the Utica? That would be Halcon Resources, with 140,000 acres in the northern Utica. Back in 2013 Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson famously said he wouldn’t drill any more “crappy” wells in the Utica (see Halcon CEO Says No More S***** Wells in Northern OH Utica). Halcon is desperately trying to stay afloat, Hilcorp is flourishing. Here’s more about Hilcorp and their success in the northern Utica…
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2 Democrat Commissioners Ban Injection Wells in Fayette County, WV

In the end it was just two people who decided to outlaw a legally operating wastewater injection well in Fayette County, WV. Two county commissioners, Denise Scalph and Matt Wender (both Democrats), voted to end the right of Danny Webb Construction to operate an injection well in the county, as it has done for over a decade (perhaps longer, we’re not sure). Aided by a rabidly leftist group called the Mountain Party (left of Vlad Putin), the so-called county commission attorney, Larry Harrah, crafted the state’s first “screw ’em royally” ordinance that he believes is lawsuit-proof. We’ll see just how lawsuit-proof it is when it gets tested, as it surely will…
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Platts Says LNG Heading to Japan & Korea Fetching $7.40/Mcf

Platts Japan/Korea Marker (JKM) LNG service issued an update yesterday that caught our eye. The JKM service says that LNG (liquefied natural gas) for delivery to northeast Asia (Japan and Korea) will average $7.397 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) for January delivery. Converted, that’s $7.40/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). That number is down 26.5% year-over-year. But hey, if our drillers were getting $7.40/Mcf for their gas? We’d be singing, “We’re in the money…” The problem is, of course, we don’t (yet) export our natural gas via LNG to any other countries. That’s about to change in January when Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG facility begins shipping (see Genscape: Sabine Pass LNG Export Began Accepting Natgas on Dec 10). It’s not likely any gas will head to Asia from our shores until the Cove Point LNG export facility in Maryland is completed in the next few years. Until then, we can only watch and hope that some day our gas will be sold for $7+ per Mcf…
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Chesapeake Energy Faces Bankruptcy if Noteholders Don’t Cooperate

It appears that Chesapeake Energy is having trouble convincing its noteholders with notes due in 2017/2018 to exchange those notes (IOUs), which are unsecured (no guarantees they get paid if the company goes belly up) for new secured, second-lien notes due in 2022. We told you two weeks ago that Chesapeake had embarked on a program to swap out various classes of notes, a plan to delay repaying outstanding debt (see Chesapeake Energy Floats Plan to Exchange $1.5B Worth of IOUs). Somewhere between 10%-28% of the outstanding $1.7 billion in 2017/2018 notes–those notes closest to maturity–have signed on to the plan. It’s not enough. Chesapeake has a gun to the head of its noteholders, a “prisoners’ dilemma.” If a significant number don’t go for the plan, it’s a near-certainty the company will be forced to file for bankruptcy according to finance experts, and those noteholders will get nothing because their notes are unsecured. If noteholders do go for the plan, they get less than what they signed on for, but at least they get something, and the something they get is far more assured, even if the company files for bankruptcy. If the note exchange does happen, Chesapeake is still not out of the bankruptcy woods by a long shot, and that has all of its investors, who hold debt (notes and bonds) or equity (stocks), worried…
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NatGas Production in Lower 48 Slips in November by Less than 1%

Earlier this week Platts’ Bentek service issued their prediction for natural gas production in the lower 48 states for November. Platts says that total gas production averaged 71.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in November, which is down less than 1% from production levels in October. The slightly lower production seemed to have surprised Bentek analysts who blame lack of pipeline takeaway capacity in the northeast for the down number. In fact, Bentek says that it is the northeast that is the star performer when it comes to production and whether production goes up or down, it will be because of the northeast. Here’s more of their expert analysis…
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The Pretenders: Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative

Big Green groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Clean Air Council, just to name a couple, are the fractivist arms of big-money foundations that fund and control them, including the Heinz Endowments and the Park Foundation. It’s an incestuous game with behind the scenes collusion among these groups and the deep-pocket foundations that pay for their attorneys to continue filing frivolous lawsuits. Here’s one Big Green group you don’t hear about often, but also part of the enviro-cabal: the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, an official-sounding group which attempts to pass itself off as above-the-fray and populated with disinterested researchers focusing on the important issue of shale energy. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s a bunch of partisan hacks who lobby for high taxes on shale energy, and for limiting property rights for those who want to allow shale drilling. How do we know? Look at their so-called research. The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative says, among many other things, that fracking is responsible an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Yeah, lefty kooks. Oh, and they’re funded by the Heinz Endowments and the Park Foundation, plus a few other leftist groups. We’ve written about them before (see Marcellus/Utica Anti-Drilling Group Back with Impacts “Research”). Every now and again this group finds a willing accomplice to plant a story about their “research” hoping it gets picked up by mainstream media. The latest shill media accomplice–the Midwest Energy News (anti-drillers who want to end the use of all fossil fuels), is only too willing to accommodate….
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The ONLY Good Thing About Budget Deal: Lifts Oil Export Ban

It was truly disheartening to learn of the complete sell-out by House Speaker Paul Ryan (Republican) and the Republican-led House in the latest budget deal. They essentially bent over and grabbed their ankles and assumed the position while Barack Hussein Obama had his way with them. This budget deal is repulsive–as grossly corrupt as it gets. The Democrats are even more corrupt–but we expect that of them. The only good thing that came from the budget deal, as near as we can tell, is that it lifts the 40-year ban on crude oil exports. As a Bloomberg article headline puts it, “Shale Drillers Are Now Free to Export U.S. Oil Into Global Glut.” Yeah, that about sums it up. Hey, having the crude oil ban lifted is good, we’re happy about that. But in the larger pantheon of the budget deal, we could have lived without it if we had gotten a better deal on far more critical items. Here’s what the inimitable Heartland Institute, one of our favorites, said about this disastrous budget deal…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Dec 18, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: TETCO pipeline from Appalachia to the Gulf gets FERC approval; DRBC adopts “one process/one permit” policy; AEP switching some electric plants to burn natgas in OH; FERC asks TGP to change NED route; FERC approves Lake Charles LNG; oil export ban lifted; COP21 doesn’t change fossil fuel reality; England gets ready to frack; and more!
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