EIA July DPR: Utica Only Play with Increased NatGas Production

EIAEarlier this week MDN’s favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), issued our favorite monthly report–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. The EIA projects natural gas production cumulatively across all shale plays will once again fall in August–the sixth consecutive month it will have fallen. However, unlike the July projection (see EIA June DPR: The Worm Turns for Utica NatGas Production), natgas production in the Utica will go up by a fraction. The projection last month was that July’s Utica production would, for the first time, go down. So it’s good to see a reversal in the Utica. The Marcellus, on the other hand, continues to bleed off production, although at a slower rate than it had been (down 51 million cubic feet per day–or MMcf/d–in last month’s report, down only 26 MMcf/d in this month’s report). Shale oil production is also forecast to drop once again in the next month. Here’s the lowdown from the EIA…
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Sham “Study” from Johns Hopkins Says Fracking Makes Athsma Worse

junk-science.jpgThe anti-frackers at the Johns Hopkins-Bloomberg School of Public Health are out with another bought-and-paid-for (by anti-drillers) “study” that implies the presence of fracking in Pennsylvania leads to causing or making worse asthma attacks. You may recall the same group of antis pushed out a study last October that supposedly shows fracking leads to premature births (see New Junk Science Claims PA Fracking Leads to Premature Births). That study was quickly debunked (see EID’s Devastating Critique of PA Premature Birth “Study” and Another Devastating Critique of Fracking/Premature Birth “Study”). This newest study, “Association Between Unconventional Natural Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale and Asthma Exacerbations,” evaluates thousands of health records from the Geisinger Clinic in PA, looking for patterns between people showing up with asthmatic symptoms and correlating it to how close they live to shale wells being drilled. The incredible thing about this latest run at smearing the miracle of fracking is this: the authors (most of them students) admit in their own study they only have theories, no proof that ties fracking to asthma. You read that right–there is no proof, no smoking gun. Only wild theories that are unsupported by the data. Yet fawning (and frankly stupid) reporters at places like the AP, PBS StateImpact Pennsylvania and USA Today are trumpeting this “study” as scientific proof of a link that fracking kills ya. It seems the Johns Hopkins-Bloomberg School of Public Health doesn’t produce science–it produces politics dressed up as science…
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Which 5 Companies Dominate Production in the SW Marcellus?

DOMINATOR LOGO7/21/16 Update: Please see our note below updating production numbers to include Antero Resources in the top tier of Marcellus producers.

Which companies “dominate” the Marcellus Shale in southwestern Pennsylvania? It depends on how you define “dominate.” Typically that means “which companies produce the most natural gas and/or oil from the Marcellus play.” That makes sense. We spotted an article on The Motley Fool investors’ website on that very topic. However, the Fool article was titled “The 5 Companies Dominating the Marcellus Shale Play.” In reading it, we immediately knew this was tilted to the SWPA area and not all of the PA Marcellus because the three most productive drillers in the entire Marcellus–Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, and Southwestern Energy–weren’t in the Fool’s Top 5 list! Below we have a portion of the Fool article because it’s still interesting to see which companies are dominate in the SWPA area. We also have a list of the top 20 Marcellus producers for the entire state of PA–including those located and operating mainly in the NE portion of the play…
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Which 3 Marc. Drillers Best Able to Ride Price Roller Coaster?

HH Spot Price
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The price of natural gas at the benchmark Henry Hub trading point has slow risen through the spring and summer–in particular since June (see the chart at left). A collective sigh of relief has come from investors, traders, drillers and just about everyone. But don’t break out the party hats just yet. Analysts are warning that “the party is already coming to an end.” The stark reality is this: the price of natural gas is and will gyrate up and down. That is, the price of natgas is highly volatile and remain so for the foreseeable future. Why? Lots of reasons. Weather is always a big factor. When it’s real hot or real cold, natgas is used to heat or cool, drawing down reserves and boosting the price. When storage levels get high (too much supply, not enough demand), the price goes down. New markets appear to soak up some of the supply, like more electric plants converting to natgas or being built to use natgas, less supply, price goes higher. Hey, it’s complicated. The question is, which Marcellus drillers (i.e. “producers”) are best positioned to ride out these gyrating up and down cycles when it comes to the price natgas will fetch? An analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence believes he has the answer to that question…
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Spectra’s Access Northeast Pipe Wins Important Approval in Maine

MAP-Access-Northeast-V1-02-11-2015
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In July 2014 Spectra Energy unveiled plans to deliver an extra 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England and beyond by expanding the existing Algonquin and Maritimes pipeline systems (see Spectra Energy to the Rescue! New England Pipeline Expansion). That project was eventually named the Access Northeast Project, a direct competitor to Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project. In February of 2015 we observed and asked the question, is Spectra’s project pulling ahead of Kinder Morgan’s project (see Access Northeast Pipeline — Pulling Ahead of Kinder’s NED Project?). It was our observation at the time that Kinder Morgan’s project is mostly “greenfield”–meaning they have to dig new trenches and lay new pipe in places where no pipeline currently exists–was vehemently opposed by antis, while Spectra’s project which lays new loops of pipe next to existing pipes in existing trenches was opposed, but with less vehemence. It seems our observation was prescient, as Kinder later canceled its project (see NED is Dead – Kinder Morgan Suspends $3.3B New England Pipeline). Make no mistake, Spectra Energy still faces a steep uphill battle–but they are making progress. Evidence of that came yesterday when regulators in the state of Maine approved Spectra’s plan in their state. Or more accurately, they approved passing along some of the cost of Spectra’s proposed expansion to Maine electric rate payers, who would see far lower electric rates if the pipeline gets built (it will feed natgas-fired electric generating plants in the state)…
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PA DEP’s Updated Online Oil and Gas Well Mapping Tool

PA DEPYesterday the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released an updated version of an online GIS (i.e. mapping) application that allows users to learn information and download reports about oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania. The DEP also released a new video tutorial (embedded below) that explains how to use the PA Oil and Gas Well Mapping application and what information is available to retrieve. Be sure to check out this cool tool from the DEP…
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Rabid Anti-Fossil Fuelers Object to Duke-Piedmont Merger

Global-Warming-HoaxWhen will anti-fossil fuel madness that seems to spread like the Zika virus begin to subside? Anti-fossil fuel madness is just as destructive as Zika for those it infects. Take the case of the proposed merger/buyout of Piedmont Natural Gas by utility powerhouse Duke Energy for $6.7 billion (see Duke Energy Buys Piedmont NatGas for $6.7B, Marcellus Connection). Rabid anti-fossil fuelers object to the deal because, well, because they’re idiots and they don’t want a single molecule more of natgas used to power electric plants–even though it’s cleaner than coal and even though without electricity these ignoramuses wouldn’t be able to exist. Why? Because natgas is a hated fossil fuel and burning fossil fuels, according to the nuttiest of the nutters, is catastrophically heating up ol’ Mom Earth. Therefore Duke shouldn’t buy Piedmont. That’s the twisted thinking process going on in their heads…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Jul 20, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Ohio State U breaks ground on $3M CNG fueling station; Mark Cuban invests in o&g tech; energy security should be a bipartisan issue (but isn’t); Energy Transfer’s midstream & liquids business; US LNG first through expanded Panama Canal.
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