5 Key Insights from MDN’s 2015 Databook Vol. 3 – Just Released

db2015_all3vol_cover_smallMDN recently published Volume 3 of the 2015 Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook. In 103 jam-packed pages you will get the latest information on what’s happening (or not happening) with drilling in the Marcellus/Utica region. Much of the Databook is a series of county maps–one map for each county where there’s permit activity for Marcellus or Utica drilling. Each county map shows a dot for where a permit was issued–along with the name of the driller next to it. The maps also show major natural gas pipelines and compressor stations. Each map offers you a quick, visual way of understanding where drilling is happening, and who’s doing the drilling.

For this new edition, MDN editor Jim Willis spent several weeks compiling and completely revising a directory of frack waste facilities, including the addition of hundreds of injection wells. The 3-volume series is just $350 (single volumes are $225). All three volumes are meant to work together. This is the PERFECT resource for drillers, pipeline companies, law firms, landmen and many others. Below we’ve included sample pages along with 5 key insights from this latest edition of the Databook
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“Dramatic” Scale Back in Marcellus/Utica Drilling – Rigs Idled

Over the past several weeks we’ve seen a flurry of quarterly updates for Marcellus and Utica Shale drillers. While the news hasn’t been all bad, a lot of it has been bad–and a lot of the news is about how these companies are spending less to drill in 2016 than they did in 2015. We’ve also seen the continuing downward trend in the number of active drilling rigs–both here in the northeast and across the country. All of that combines to a “dramatic” scale back for drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, according to a Sunday article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In fact, some of what had been (until recently) the biggest drillers in our region have zero rigs operating right now. Which ones?…
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OH’s Injection Wells See All-Time High Frack Disposal in 2015

Even with rigs being idled and the coming “dramatic” slowdown in drilling in the Marcellus/Utica (see today’s companion story), there’s one thing that is predictable–wastewater will increase. How can that be? Long after a well is drilled, water from deep below the earth (below what we think of as the aquifer or drinking water table) continues to pour out of a drilled hole. This super-salty water is often referred to as brine. Sometimes called produced water. And it comes out of the hole for years after the hole is drilled. Until now, most active drillers recycled the brine coming from their wells to reuse as a source for fracking new wells. But now, with companies idling most–even all of their rigs–what do they do with all of that water? It must be disposed–and the most likely candidate is an injection well. Most of the injection wells used by Marcellus/Utica drillers are located in Ohio. So it was no surprise to learn that the volume of brine disposal in Ohio jumped 27% in 2015–to a new all-time record of 28.8 million barrels…
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Open Season for New Marcellus/Utica LPG Rail & Export Terminal

Forget the pipelines. Artemis Liquids plans to build an export terminal along the shore of the Delaware River in New Jersey to export LPG (liquefied petroleum gas, or propane) to both domestic and international markets. The new export facility, which will be located directly across the river from the Philadelphia International Airport, is aimed at providing Marcellus and Utica drillers with an alternative to shipping their LPG all the way to the Gulf Coast. New Jersey (that is, the Philadelphia area) is a whole lot closer than the Gulf–meaning it’s a whole lot cheaper to ship to it. But what’s that? How on earth will drillers get their LPG to the Philly area without using pipelines like the Mariner East? By using railroads! Artemis Liquids has launched a non-binding “open season” (same concept as used in reserving capacity in pipelines) to gauge interest in the proposed LPG export terminal in Paulsboro, NJ, and in the necessary railroad capacity to get the LPG to the terminal. According to the open season documents, Artemis plans to offer capacity of 50,000 to 75,000 barrels per day, transported to the terminal via unit trains of 80 to 100 cars…
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Super Secret Study Details Plan to Transform NEPA Using NatGas

Shhhh. It’s a secret. A super secret. Well, sort-of a secret. The Institute of Public Policy and Economic Development, a cooperative between a bunch of colleges located in northeastern PA, researched and compiled a new study–more than a year ago–for how northeastern PA can make the most out of the abundant, cheap and clean-burning natural gas that sits beneath them. The Institute tapped local drillers for $50,000 to research the project–and the findings are being kept secret. Why? Think of it as an NFL playbook. You don’t share your plays with the opposing team. In this case, opposing teams are other economic development agencies in other regions–like southwestern PA, eastern OH and WV. The secret study is very specific in naming names for how the region can attract new businesses that use cheap Marcellus Shale gas. The Institute doesn’t want to give away their best thinking so other regions can use the same strategies and target the same companies. Want to know what we think?…
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Dimock Trial: Lighting Tap Water on Fire Decades Before Drilling

Last Thursday and Friday in the trial brought by two Dimock, PA families against Cabot Oil & Gas for supposedly contaminating their water wells with methane, Cabot launched into its defense since the plantiffs had rested their case. One of the first witnesses was Dr. Tarek Saba, a real scientist who actually has practical experience with oil and gas drilling and knows the details of the Dimock wells (unlike the plantiffs’ expert witness, Tony Ingraffea, who was destroyed under cross examination, see Dimock Trial: Ingraffea Day 2 – Hides Behind a Woman’s Coat). Dr. Saba’s testimony further debunked the fluff and BS (Barbara Streisand) coming from Tony Ingraffea. Not only that, but at the end of the day on Friday, Cabot called a local Dimock resident who spoke about lighting her water on fire just like they did in Gasland–decades before there was any natural gas drilling in the area. What a great witness!…
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Chorus Grows Louder for U of Cinci to Release Fracking Study

The chorus is getting louder for the University of Cincinnati to release the results from a detailed study of water wells in Carroll County, OH undertaken by researchers at the university. We previously told you that the lead researcher shared some high level results from the study, and those results show that fracking in areas where there are water wells doesn’t affect those wells (see Antis Not Happy with Results of OH Fracking Study They Funded). Two anti-drilling groups were the primary funders of the study–Deer Creek Foundation in St. Louis and the Alice Weston foundation from Cincinnati. The two groups immediately cut their funding when they heard results they believe they didn’t pay for (see Anti Groups Abruptly Cut Funding for OH Fracking Study). But here’s the thing: They were not the only funders. The researchers also accepted public money–an $85,714 grant from the Ohio Board or Regents and the use of a spectrometer purchased through a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. That’s public money–and the research is public research that should be released immediately. U.S. Andy Thompson, R-Marrietta, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are now calling on the university to release the study. Below we have their calls for the university to cough up the research, along with comments from a researcher involved with the study…
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Insanity: Ohio Dems Seek 7.5% Severance Tax in Severe Downturn

Ever wonder why the Democrat refrain is always to raise taxes–never to cut spending. What is that? Perhaps they’re born with a “taxing” gene. The innocent-sounding but rabidly partisan group Policy Matters Ohio (founded by, led by, populated by, run by Dems) is once again making the case that because local governments get less revenue in this current downturn, with production in the Utica Shale continuing to expand, Ohio should tax the @#$% out of drillers by increasing the severance tax–as if the money earned by drillers/private businesses (at great risk and hard work) somehow belongs to politicians in Columbus with sticky fingers…
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Rex Energy Offers to Refinance Outstanding IOUs

As MDN reported last week, Rex Energy is doing everything it can to stay alive during this severe downturn in natural gas prices (see Stayin’ Alive: Rex Energy $175M JV to Keep Drilling in PA & OH). Last week Rex announced a joint venture cash infusion of $175 million to keep drilling in both PA and OH. On Friday the company announced another strategy to help it keep going: refinancing notes (we call them IOUs) so the notes expire later, meaning they don’t have to cough up cash sooner to pay off the debt. It pushes repayment out further, after (presumably) the market has turned and Rex is once again making a profit. Here was Rex’s Friday announcement about “exchanging notes”…
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Maryland Continues to Shoot Itself in the Head re Shale Drilling

Even the Republicans in Maryland are Democrats. That’s the only conclusion we can come to, to explain why politicians in Maryland keep shooting themselves in the head with respect to shale drilling. First, the state, under former governor Martin O’Malley (who tried to run for the Democrat nomination for president and washed out) studied fracking for four long, bloody years. There’s only drillable shale deposits under 1.5 counties in the entire state–in the far western corner (Garrett County and Allegany County). As he was leaving office, O’Malley–to his credit–teed up new fracking regulations that would allow the state to begin fracking THIS YEAR. Then the new Republican governor, Larry Hogan, took office as a supporter of natural gas. He promptly wimped out after the legislature voted on a new two-year moratorium. The legislators from Garrett & Allegany counties voted FOR the moratorium! Insane. And now, the Garrett County Commissioners are considering a frack ban around one of the lakes in the county. Hello! There ain’t that many places to drill in the first place in Maryland!…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Mar 7, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Where is the media for the Dimock trial?; Shell keeps working on the PA cracker; yet another lawsuit against Chesapeake from leaseholders, this one in Oklahoma; DOJ drops indictment against dead Aubrey McClendon; rig counts near record low; LNG export terminals grow; wind turbines killing Willy the whale; and more!
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