SWPA Farmer Claims Shale Damaged Cattle Health, Reproduction

A farmer who raises Angus beef cattle in East Millsboro (Fayette County), PA, in the southwestern corner of the state, claims that a shale well drilled on his property in 2010 by Atlas Energy (now owned by Chevron) created a “seep” that is affecting the health of his cattle. A seep is a place where water/liquids leak out of the ground. Soon after the well was drilled the farmer began to have trouble with his yearling heifers not getting pregnant. For those grazing near the well, only half got pregnant. The farmer then kept his herd from grazing near the well and noticed the pregnancy rate went from half to 100%–except for those who had previously grazed near the well. They continue to struggle with no pregnancies and miscarriages. All of which sounds like conclusive evidence that there is a problem with the well leaking something into the environment. However, both Chevron and the state Dept. of Environmental Protection have investigated and have not found any evidence that the well is impacting the health of the farmer’s herd. What do you do in a case like that?…
Continue reading

San Francisco Play Exposes $18B Environmental Fraud

A shocking and at times farcical tale of how an environmental lawsuit turned into the world’s biggest fraud is revealed in a new play. The world premiere of “The $18-Billion Prize,” based on the true story of rainforest natives and their New York lawyer “fighting for justice” against one of the world’s biggest oil companies, opens May 19 at San Francisco’s Phoenix Theatre. Performances continue through June 3. Written, or perhaps a better word is assembled, by Phelim McAleer and Jonathan Leaf, the play uses exact words from transcripts of court documents. In 1993, Steven Donziger, a Harvard-educated American lawyer, represented indigenous groups from Ecuador’s rainforest in a class action lawsuit against Chevron–a shakedown. The case received an enormous amount of media attention, including major coverage by Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and 60 Minutes to name a few, and it drew the support of international celebrities. Chevron, to their credit, fought back. An American court found evidence of fraud and ordered Donziger to hand over his files and diaries, which exposed a massive bribery and corruption scheme. The play will make you laugh, and cry, and make you angry that such a long-running fraud could be perpetrated here in the United States…
Continue reading

NatGas, Oil Industry Partnership to Accelerate Methane Reductions

Yesterday America’s natural gas and oil industry announced “a landmark partnership”–called the Environmental Partnership–to “accelerate improvements to environmental performance in operations across the country.” How will they do that? The first area of focus will be to reduce methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. The Environmental Partnership includes 26 natural gas and oil producers, including several major Marcellus/Utica drillers (Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, Chevron and Southwestern Energy). The list of 26 produce a “significant portion” of American energy resources–we’d peg it at around 80% of all production. The participating companies (full list below) will begin implementing the voluntary program starting January 1, 2018. Did you get that? It’s VOLUNTARY. Yet they will do it and they will voluntarily hold themselves and each other accountable–because they are good corporate citizens and (gasp) actually care about the environment. They don’t need the jackboot of government to force them to do it. Here’s how profoundly biased mainstream media reports it: Oil Firms Pledge to Plug Methane Leaks in Bid to Burnish Image (Bloomberg News). Yep, according to the anti-everything people, these companies are only doing it to “burnish” their image. They don’t really care about the environment. They’re evil, nasty fossil fuel companies (icky). MDN readers know differently. These companies are respectable, providing jobs and investment in local communities AND protecting the environment in those same communities–where they live. The other side? Groups like the Sierra Club destroy jobs in the name of “protecting” Mom Earth…
Continue reading

RAND Report: Fracking Creates Jobs for STEM Workers in PA-OH-WV

In 2014, Chevron launched the Appalachia Partnership Initiative (API) with $20 million to fund education (for students) and training (for workers) in STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Math across 27 counties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio (see Chevron Launches Appalachia Partnership Initiative with $20M). Chevron’s partners in the effort are the Allegheny Conference and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. So how is the API doing in its mission? That was what RAND Corporation was hired to study. RAND has just published an analysis of the first two years of API’s efforts (see the study below). Among the key findings: “Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has created a need for workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.” Although the oil and gas industry is just now coming out of a several-year slump, RAND says in the future there will be a shortage of workers for the industry. API is hoping to fill that gap, and is (according to RAND) making progress. But more needs to be done…
Continue reading

Chevron & People’s Natural Gas Team Up to Map Out PA’s $60B Future

One of the big announcements coming from Shale Insight 2017 on the first day was the release of a new study tag-team researched by Chevron Appalachia and People’s Natural Gas. As People’s CEO Morgan O’Brien explained it–everyone assumes “someone else” has a master plan, a statewide strategy for how to develop this phenomenal resource. But when you look around you come to the realization that no one has such a plan. So Chevron Appalachia CEO Stacey Olson approached People’s CEO O’Brien and asked for help to research and author a study that would provide such a plan–a plan to unlock what they believe is a $60 BILLION opportunity for Pennsylvania that will create 100,000 new jobs statewide. The result is a study called “Forge the Future: Pennsylvania’s Path To An Advanced, Energy-Enabled Economy” (full copy below), released yesterday. We now have, according to Chevron’s Olson and People’s O’Brien, the road map. What we need is for people in the industry to step up and seize the day and take action to create that amazing future…
Continue reading

Top 10 Drillers in SWPA, by Number of Permits Issued

Every now and again it’s fun to take a look at a “Top 10” list. Here’s one for you. How about a Top 10 List for drillers in southwestern PA, in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. This Top 10 list ranks drillers by how many shale well permits they’ve been granted. The list is extracted from a Top 40 list prepared by the (must read) Pittsburgh Business Times. Can you guess which 10 drillers are in the Top 10? How about the Top 1? It may come as no surprise that Range Resources, the very first company to drill a Marcellus Shale well (in 2004), has received the most permits to drill in SWPA. Here’s the full Top 10 list, with some interesting extra details…
Continue reading

Top 20 Marcellus Drillers in Southwest Pennsylvania

The sharp folks over at the Pittsburgh Business Times have been looking through data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and have compiled a list of 20 drillers who have at least a dozen shale wells in the southwest PA region. And they ranked them from lowest to highest. We’ve grabbed the list below. The interesting thing for MDN is that there is one name in the list not familiar to us, and we’ve been watching this space since 2009. Always fun to learn something new. Here’s the list of southwest PA’s “Top 20” Marcellus drillers…
Continue reading

Chevron Recertified as Safe Driller; CSSD Changes Name to CRSD

In March 2013, the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) burst onto the scene. It had been a closely guarded secret, the creation of a few hand-picked people from both industry and the environmental movement working together to see if there is any common ground on which both sides can agree that shale development would be safe, sustainable AND affordable. They worked hard for over a year and finally hammered out a set of 15 standards that if a driller (or midstream company or contractor) would meet, it would get a stamp of approval from both the industry and environmental groups as being a good goobie–a safe driller. In Sept. 2014 the CSSD announced they have certified their very first driller–one of their founding members–Chevron (see CSSD Bestows First Certification for Sustainable Drilling: Chevron). Apparently a cert lasts for a little over two years. Yesterday the CSSD announced Chevron has achieved recertification, a new milestone for the CSSD program. Except it’s no longer called the CSSD. Somewhere along the line (not sure when) the organization changed its name from the Center for Sustainable Shale Development to the Center for Responsible Shale Development (CRSD)…
Continue reading

World’s Top 10 Natural Gas Producers

top-10.jpgWe sometimes run Top 10 lists for the Marcellus/Utica, or even the U.S., but what about a Top 10 list of natural gas producers in the entire world? We spotted an article on the Forbes magazine website that lists the Top 10 natgas producers for the entire world. By our count, eight of the ten have major or minor operations in the Marcellus/Utica. Cool! Here’s the list…
Continue reading

Chevron Appalachia Names Nigel Hearne’s Replacement

Stacey Olson
Stacey Olson

In January, MDN was first to break the news that the head of Chevron Appalacia, Nigel Hearne, was leaving to run Chevron’s Australian operation (see Exclusive: Chevron Appalachia Head Nigel Hearne Going to Australia). It was one of the few times we get to break big news. At the time, we asked the question, “Who will replace Hearne in Pittsburgh?” It took a while, but we now have the answer. Stacey Olson, a senior vice president working at Chevron since 1989 (and someone who has served in a number of overseas postings), will take up the helm of Chevron Appalachia…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

Chevron Selling Site Bought for Regional Marcellus HQ in Moon Twp

ChevronIn May 2013 amidst much fanfare, Chevron purchased 61 acres to build a new regional Marcellus Shale headquarters in Moon Township, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh (see Chevron to Build New (Big) Regional HQ in Pittsburgh Suburb). The plan was to build a huge, 350,000 square foot office complex that will be home to 1,750 people. In September 2013 Chevron got the thumbs-up from Moon officials (see Chevron Wins 1st Approval for New Regional HQ Near Pittsburgh). But by July 2014, Chevron put the project on hold (see Chevron Puts Moon Twp, PA Office Building Project on Hold). In early 2015 Chevron announced major layoffs in the Marcellus (see Chevron Laying Off 23% of their Marcellus Workforce in Pittsburgh) and then proceeded to consolidate the remaining workforce under one existing roof (see Chevron Consolidates Reduced Marcellus Workforce Under One Roof). And now, a sad end: the Pittsburgh Business Times is reporting that Chevron has just listed the 61-acre property for sale…
Continue reading

Chevron CEO: Oil Markets will Balance Soon, LNG Entering “New Phase”

John_S._Watson,_June_2010In an interview on CNBC, Chevron chairman and CEO John Watson said some interesting things. Among them: Watson believes the oil markets will “balance out” (price/production-wise) in the “coming months.” He also spoke about the prospects for LNG, saying it’s “maturing” and we are entering “a new phase”…
Continue reading

Top 10 Marcellus/Utica Drillers in SWPA – Ranked by Production

top-10.jpgEverybody loves a list. We do too! We spotted a ranking in a recent issue of the Pittsburgh Business Times that lists the top 37 shale gas producers in southwestern Pennsylvania, based on the amount of gas they produced in 2015. We pulled the names of the top 10, listed in order from most to least…
Continue reading

Chevron Cuts 2017/2018 Budget by 34%; Scaling Back in Marcellus

Chevron is cutting its budget for 2017 and 2018. Chevron maintains an active drilling program in the Marcellus Shale–but it has been selling bits and pieces of its Marcellus assets (see Chevron Lists Another 6,630 Marcellus Acres for Sale in Central PA). Previously the company committed to a capital budget of $26.6 billion for 2016–down 24% from 2015. They’ve just announced preliminary estimates for spending in 2017 and 2018–a plan to spend $17-$18 billion in each of those years. Chevron says it will continue to cut spending in order to “preserve cash” in the low price environment. What about their Marcellus/Utica program? They plan to take a “measured pace”…
Continue reading

Top 20 Marcellus Drillers – Ranked by Environmental Impact

top 20Last Friday MDN brought you the news about a professor who devised a clever formula for evaluating the overall environmental impact of 20 Marcellus drillers (see Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Best Driller of Them All?). At the time we only knew who the top and bottom companies are in the list. CONSOL Energy took top honors, while ExxonMobil was last or “least” environmentally friendly as compared with the others. We now have the entire list (below). Where does your favorite driller fall in the list?…
Continue reading