BLM Launches Auction to Lease Wayne National Forest for Fracking

auctionIt’s been 10 looooooong years, but finally the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just posted a lease sale auction for 33 parcels in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF). Although there are some 18,000 acres under consideration for leasing by the BLM in WNF, this first batch amounts to about 1,600 acres–most of it in Monroe County, OH. Monroe is a prime location for Utica Shale drilling. WNF is the only national forest in Ohio and portions of it are found in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Those mineral rights owners have been denied the use of their property rights for a decade. The BLM controls drilling on federally-protected lands like WNF. Last November the BLM held a series of hearings about finally beginning to drill in WNF. With this auction, it appears that not only will public land get leased, but drilling on private land in WNF can go forward as well…
Continue reading

Carnegie Mellon Study: Radon in Marcellus Gas Doesn’t Kill People

real-science.jpgAnti-fossil fuel zealots have long attempted to scare the masses with false claims about fracked shale gas in the Marcellus. Early on radical environmental organizations tried to scare people in New York City, telling them they’ll get lung cancer from radon in Marcellus gas if they use it (see The Latest Anti-Drilling Scare Tactic: Radon in Shale Gas). One of the early “scientists” who pimped himself out to Big Green, Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, made wild claims about radon levels in Marcellus gas. Resnikoff also made accusations that the U.S. Geological Survey was in the back pocket of Big Oil on this issue. The USGS responded with a major slapdown of Resnikoff (see Radon Debate: USGS Responds to Marvin Resnikoff Accusation). Finally, someone has done some real research to put this issue to rest. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have just published a paper titled, “Lung Cancer Risk from Radon in Marcellus Shale Gas in Northeast U.S. Homes” (draft copy below). The Carnegie research says “there is no support” to back up the wild claims that radon in Marcellus gas increases cancer risks. Period. In particular, they take aim at Dr. Resnikoff’s claims and say he “provided insufficient documentation of the methodology used” and “[a]t this time there is no support for the high mortality argument offered by Resnikoff.” Total repudiation of his earlier claims. For once and for all: whatever “extra” radon there may be in Marcellus (i.e. fracked) shale gas, it’s not in sufficient quantities that by standing near a burning stove all day long every day will it add to your risk of contracting lung cancer…
Continue reading

ICF Predicts Marcellus/Utica Gas Will Double by 2025!

doubleYou just can’t get away from the Marcellus/Utica–even at a conference supposedly focused on the Western U.S. Natural gas infrastructure was a key topic at the recent LDC Gas Forum Rockies & West conference held in Denver, CO. ICF International vice president Kevin Petak was one of the speakers. He dropped what is (to us) a bombshell when he said he believes the Marcellus and Utica combined will pump out 40 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) by 2025–just 10 short years from now. The two plays combined today are pumping around 21 Bcf/d–so Petak is predicting our output will double! If that’s so, there will need to be a whole lotta drillin’ goin’ on between now and then. In addition to Petak, Crystal Heter, vice president for commercial operations at the Rockies Express (REX) pipeline, had some VERY interesting things to say about the REX pipeline reversal which sends Marcellus/Utica gas to the Midwest. It looks like even more gas is about to go from our area westward…
Continue reading

Hilcorp Bringing its Magic to Columbiana County, OH – 11 Permits

hilcorp logoIn December MDN wrote that Hilcorp Energy is making some magic happen in Lawrence County, PA–in the northern Utica Shale region (see Hilcorp is to Northern Utica as Cabot is to Eastern Marcellus). At the time we noted, “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.” Good news for Columbiana County: Hilcorp recently filed for permits to drill 11 new wells in your county. Looks like Hilcorp wants to bring some of its Utica drilling magic across the border from PA to OH…
Continue reading

4 Marcellus Drillers Ramp Up Production in 2016

step-on-the-gasWe can’t say enough good things about Rusty Braziel and RBN Energy. Rusty was the co-founder of Bentek Energy, sold a few years ago to Platts. Rusty is the consummate industry professional who has forgotten more about the oil and gas industry than most of us will ever know. He recently wrote and published The Domino Effect: How the Shale Revolution is Transforming Energy Markets, Industries and Economies (buy it on Amazon). Rusty has collected a group of very smart industry analysts who write about the oil and gas industry. One of those analysts is Nick Cacchione, who wrote a post on the RBN Energy website yesterday about the top 10 gas-focused drillers in the country. It’s no coincidence that all of them have operations in the Marcellus/Utica, and most of them are totally focused on the northeast. We found it to be an enlightening and helpful article. One of the main points is how four of the top 10, while reducing their spending, have significantly increased their production numbers for 2016. Here’s a deep dive into the top 10 according to RBN, featuring the four who are “stepping on the gas”…
Continue reading

New NatGas-Fired Electric Plant Coming Near Philadelphia

birdsboro_paThis one somehow slipped by us. Sometime last year EmberClear filed an application to build a new 488-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Birdsboro (Berks County), PA–near Philadelphia. The new plant is called Birdsboro Power and requires various approvals before it can be built. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is involved. PJM Interconnection is involved. And the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection is involved. All three have issued various permits and edicts in connection with the project. What caught our attention is that DTE Midstream has just filed an application with FERC to build a 14-mile pipeline to feed the new plant. As part of that application, DTE says EmberClear plans to begin construction in 2018, with an in-service date of June 2019. Here’s what we’ve been able to scrounge up on the project…
Continue reading

NatGas-Fired Electric Plant Proposed for Chesapeake, VA Advances

macquarieIn September MDN wrote about a new natural gas-fired electric plant being planned for Chesapeake, Virginia (see New NatGas-Fired Electric Plant Proposed for Chesapeake, VA). Macquarie Infrastructure filed an application to build the new plant in Chesapeake, Virginia’s third most populous city (located near Norfolk). Even though Macquarie is funding it, they’re using a subsidiary called Matex Virginia Power to build the 1,400-megawatt plant. We spotted an update on the project. First thing we noticed–it now has a name: Great Bridge Energy Center. The project also received an important approval from the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Review Committee…
Continue reading

40 PA Housing Projects Funded in Marcellus Region w/Marcellus Money

phfaWhen drilling comes to town, it brings a lot of people with it. Some of them are roughnecks that do the dirty work on the rigs. Others are in associated jobs–like landmen, surveyors, welders, truckers. The list goes on. If those people are not from the local area and if they are staying for a while, they need a place to sleep. It tends to fill up hotels and B&Bs quickly. When they know they will be in an area for a while (months, even years) some of them rent apartments or houses. All of that renting activity tends to drive up the price of local apartment and house rentals, making renting hard for locals. It’s happened in a number of drilling areas in Pennsylvania. That’s why when the Act 13 law was passed, it contained funding from severance tax revenue to help. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency recently announced they have approved another $6.2 million for 40 housing projects in Marcellus areas…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Oct 19, 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: Hess sponsors Shale Safety Institute @ Belmont College; OH Supreme Court ruling affecting mineral rights across the state; new rig count high in PA; natgas prices will surge in New England this winter; antis try to block Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia; 2017 rig count forecast; and more!
Continue reading