DRBC Delay Costs Wayne County Landowners $187.5M, Hess Pulls Out

thanks for nothingThank you Carol Collier (Executive Director) and the other members of Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC): You’ve just cost Wayne County, PA landowners a collective $187.5 million by your continued inaction to allow drilling in Wayne County. Newfield Appalachia PA and Hess Corp. started sending notices last week to Wayne County landowners that they’ve decided to terminate the leases they made with them in 2009–on more than 100,000 acres.

Not wanting to tick off the DRBC and the member states of NY, NJ, PA and DE, the drillers blamed the lease terminations on a change in strategy–they want to drill in oily shale plays. But we know the real reason…
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Newfield Plugs 3 Exploratory Wells in Wayne County, PA

Newfield Exploration is plugging three exploratory wells they drilled in Wayne County, PA in 2010. Why? They won’t comment on what they found in the wells, but the fact is, the Delaware River Basin Commission controls drilling in most of Wayne County and the DRBC has so far not allowed drilling in the Marcellus Shale. They currently have an ongoing review process for new rules to allow drilling, but the sitting members of the Commission have not voted to release the rules.

So to comply with PA Dept. of Environmental Protection rules, Newfield is plugging the wells—at least for now.

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Hess Net Marcellus Shale Acreage 80K, Mostly in Wayne County, PA – Will Drill 5-10 Test Wells in Second Half of 2010

An update from Greg Hill, President, Worldwide Exploration and Production with Hess Corporation, about their activities in the Marcellus (from a recent earnings call):

“We’re continuing to build our position in the Marcellus. We’re at about 80,000 net acres now in the Marcellus, primarily in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. About 50,000 of that is Hess operated and the balance is part of this joint venture we have with Newfield. Our plan this year are to drill five to 10 wells during the second half of 2010 in order to evaluate the resource potential on the acreage.”*

*Seeking Alpha (Apr 29) – Hess Corp. Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Newfield Exploration Set to Drill 10 Wells in Wayne County, PA This Summer

Drilling is coming to Wayne County, Pennsylvania this summer according to officials with Newfield Exploration. They are waiting for approvals from regulators to begin drilling up to 10 exploration wells. If those wells show promising results, they will likely be turned into full production wells.

A Houston-based natural gas production company is laying the groundwork to fulfill its promise to drill up to 10 exploration wells in northern Wayne County this summer, with permits now trickling into the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Newfield Exploration Co., which partnered with international oil and gas production firm Hess Corp. to develop a 140,000-acre leasehold in Wayne and Susquehanna counties, recently filed for its first four natural gas drilling permits in Damascus and Manchester Twps.

The company has three pending drilling permits in Damascus Twp. [Wayne County] and one pending permit in Manchester Twp. [York County], according to state environmental regulator records. These permits, filed in late February and March, are on track to be approved by late April or May.*

*The Scranton Times Tribune (Mar 24) – Gas driller seeks permits for Wayne County wells