PA Natural Gas Production Hits Another All-Time High in 2Q18

Last Thursday the PA Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released their latest quarterly Natural Gas Production Report for Apr-Jun 2018 (full copy below). It shows natgas production rose 9.9% compared to the same period last year–same as the increase in 1Q18 (see PA Natural Gas Production Hits New All-Time High in 1Q18). The report also shows the number of producing wells is up 10.4% from last year. Total natural gas production volume was 1,455.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf), and the number of producing wells in 2Q18 was 8,672 (of which 8,194 were shale wells). The biggest news is that once again 2Q18 saw the highest quarterly production of natural gas in the state–ever. This is the seventh quarter in a row there has been an increase in production. Two-thirds of the state’s natural gas production consistently comes from four counties: Susquehanna, Washington, Bradford and Greene. The #1 county for natgas production in 2Q18 was, as it was in each quarter of 2017 and in 1Q18, Susquehanna County, in the northeastern corner of the state. The #1 producing driller in Susquehanna County is Cabot Oil & Gas. Here’s the full 2Q18 natural gas production report from the IFO…
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List of 16 Major Pipeline Projects Planned for the Northeast

Did you know there are 16 major, announced pipeline projects in the northeast?! We recently happened across a handy list of those projects, a list published by the Northeast Gas Association less than a month ago. The list includes a description of what will get built, who’s doing the building, and the target in-service date. A few of the projects are in limbo (Constitution, Access Northeast), but most are either under construction or soon will be. We dig this kind of list–well laid-out, concise, and useful. And we think you will too. Here’s the name of the pipelines in the list: Access Northeast, Atlantic Bridge, Atlantic Sunrise, Constitution, Eastern System Upgrade, Empire North Expansion, Northeast Gateway, Northeast Supply Enhancement, Northern Access, PennEast, Portland XPress, Rivervale South to Market, Station 261, Wright Interconnect, Valley Lateral Project. Click to view the list, with full details…
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Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 2Q18

Top 25 word isolated on white background three-dimensional rendering

Somebody must have lit a fire under the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR). The ODNR issued first quarter 2018 production numbers for shale oil and gas production a little over a month ago, in July (see Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 1Q18). Which does seem a bit late. Yesterday ODNR made up for it by issuing production numbers for 2Q18. Natural gas production was up an astounding 42% over the same period last year (after being up 43% in 1Q18). Utica natgas production broke record, hitting a new all-time high of 554.3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2Q18. Unlike 1Q18 when Utica oil production was down 3.6%, in 2Q18 Utica oil production was up, a big 11%! Ohio’s oil production has seesawed up and down over the past few years. Once again Ascent Resources, founded by the late Aubrey McClendon, dominated the top 25 highest-producing gas wells, with 18 of the top 25. Eclipse Resources grabbed a majority of the top 25 most-producing oil wells, with 12 of 25 wells on the list. The top 6 oil wells were all Eclipse wells, all located in Guernsey County. Below we have the ODNR’s high level overview of the numbers, along with MDN’s own exclusive analysis showing: the top 25 producing gas wells, the top 25 producing oil wells, and then the top 25 gas and oil wells as ranked by average production per day. There is a difference. We show you which wells are not just producing the most quantity overall, but which wells are producing at the fastest (most productive) rates–even if those wells haven’t yet been online a full three months. We also include a link to the complete list (Google spreadsheet) of 2,035 wells included in the 2Q18 ODNR report, in a more useful format than that provided by ODNR…
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Fake Study Recommends Quarter-Mile Setbacks for PA Shale Drilling

More fake “research” on drilling, courtesy the anti-drilling Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (EHP). This is the same group of antis who brought us the so-called list of the harmed (in 2013) and last year launched a faux health registry that attempts to link everything from the sniffles to “performance issues” to nearby fracking (see Fake Science: SWPA Enviro Health Registry for Those Near Fracking). Here’s the latest laughable “research” published (yes published) in a pay-for-play journal: Setback distances for unconventional oil and gas development: Delphi study results. The so-called researchers from EHP asked 18 of their anti-drilling friends, who are supposedly experts, for an opinion on how far away a building should be located from a shale well. The current standard in PA is 500 feet. That is, a well being drilled must be at least 500 feet away from an “occupied building.” EHP’s anti-drilling friends (16 of the 18) said that number should be 1,320 feet–a quarter mile. EHP wrote it all up, presenting it as fact, and got it published in the very low-standard PLOS One journal–a journal where you pay them and they’ll publish anything. Totally made-up research. PLOS One is “peer reviewed” so voila, there’s now a “peer reviewed study” that says setbacks in PA should be at least a quarter of a mile away when it comes to shale drilling. Which would eliminate about 90% of all shale drilling in the state (which is the purpose of this “study”). We really don’t know how those from EHP can show their faces in public, pedaling this kind of junk science. More to the point, how can any honest, self-respecting organization spend good money to fund EHP?…
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Duke Study Can’t Hide Fact Water Use for M-U Fracking is Small

We find the latest “bash fracking” so-called study just published by Duke University to be, well, rather amusing. This is not Duke “researcher” Avner Vengosh’s first bash fracking study (see Duke Hit Piece on Shale Water Usage from Same Park-Sponsored Prof and Latest Case of Duke U Bought & Paid “Research” by Park Foundation). This newest “research” study is amusing because the findings appear to be solid and positive news for the industry, but the researchers and mainstream media are going out of their way to spin the findings into something negative. In “The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing” (full copy below), researchers imply and infer that fracking is using too much water, and producing too much wastewater (brine and flowback). Yet here in the Marcellus/Utica region, fracking’s use of our regional (very abundant) water supplies is minimal, only growing 20% from 2011 to 2016. Although they do their best to spin it negatively, you can’t ignore the facts. Fracking isn’t a drain on freshwater supplies, using a small fraction compared to other uses, including golf courses. The amount of wastewater that must be disposed is not a burden either. Most brine (i.e. produced water) and flowback is recycled and reused, with a small amount disposed via injection wells…
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EIA Aug ’18 Drilling Report: Gas Prod. Jumps 1 Bcf/d, Again!

Records continue to be shattered. On Monday our 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 Marcellus/Utica region (called Appalachia in the report) continues to see production go through the roof. As has been happening for the past 6 months or so, production in the Marcellus/Utica region will grow another roughly 1/3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the coming month. If you add up new gas production for all seven major plays, the U.S. will produce an additional 1 Bcf/d in September, same as was added in August. That’s 1 Bcf more in September than we produced in August, or 2 Bcf/d more in September than what we produced in July. Mind blowing! No less impressive is U.S. oil production from shale. This month oil production will grow another 93,000 barrels per day, hitting a new all-time high of 7.5 million barrels per day of production–just from shale (not from offshore). Once again, new records for gas (and oil) will be shattered in September…
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MSC Calls PA 250% Hike in Shale Permit Fees “Excessive”

Industry trade associations are not impressed with a proposed 250% hike in shale permit fees in Pennsylvania and they’re saying so. PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency charged with overseeing oil and gas drilling in the state, blindsided the shale industry in February with a proposal to hike the fee required when submitting an application to drill a new shale well (see PA DEP Plans to Raise Marcellus Well Permit Fee by 250%). The current fee is $5,000. The proposed new fee is $12,500–or 2.5 times (250%) higher. Yes, the DEP has fewer people working there than it once did, and needs to hire more help. However, the DEP wants to slap this insanely high fee on shale drillers to (in part) cover the expenses associated with non-shale activities! The shale permit fees will, “fund the broad scope of the [DEP] office’s operations, including its oversight of traditional [i.e. conventional] oil and gas wells, gas storage wells, abandoned wells and earthmoving activities.” How is it, in any sense, fair to hike the fees of shale drillers so DEP agents can better keep an eye on non-shale wells? The DEP is trying to steamroller the increase through. DEP’s own Environmental Quality Board has already approved the increase and published an official notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin (see PA Seeks Comments on Boosting Shale Permit Fees 250%). Publication in the Bulletin triggered a 30-day public comment period which just ended. Among those commenting on the plan were the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA). Neither had good things to say about the dramatic increase. MSC’s David Spigelmyer called it “excessive and not proportional to the costs incurred by the oil and gas program to oversee the unconventional natural gas industry.” Making the same point we’ve made: It’s not fair for shale drillers to fund the whole darned program that includes conventional and other aspects of the oil and gas program not related to shale…
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Which Skills do M-U Employers Most Need in New Employees?

The answer to the question posed in our headline for which skills are most valued (and missing) in new employees looking to work at companies involved in the Marcellus/Utica industry may surprise you. Would the answer be, detailed industry knowledge, like knowing what mud logging, wire lines and Christmas tree (wellheads) are? Nope. Employers can teach those things on the job. How about subject-specific skills, like knowing how to weld (if you work in the field), or the difference between debits and credits (if you work in the accounting department)? Obviously if you apply for a welding job, or an accounting job, you’ll need to know something about those specific areas. But no, we’re talking about what kinds of skills ALL new employees should have, regardless of which area they work (in the field or in the office)–skills that so often are missing in new hires. Would you believe those skills are: writing, speaking and time management? Yep, according to a study done by RAND Corporation looking at how employers and colleges in the Marcellus/Utica region are preparing workers for the shale workforce, they found a skills gap in workers who don’t know how to properly write, speak and manage their time effectively…
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Berkeley/Johns Hopkins Publish Junk Study on Fracking & Depression

The usual suspects from Johns Hopkins University, working with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have completely soiled themselves this time. It’s really kind of embarrassing. In a “study” just published in Nature, researchers claim they have found a link between living near fracking sites in Pennsylvania and an increased incidence of being *mildly* depressed. We get mildly depressed just reading this drivel. Maybe there’s a link between junk science and mild depression? Launch a study! The research team this time around includes a fellow from the Post Carbon Institute, a rabidly anti-fossil fuel organization that has called fracking a “virus.” You can tell just how biased and false this study truly is just based on the wackos who published it. The “study” is titled, “Associations of unconventional natural gas development with depression symptoms and disordered sleep in Pennsylvania” (full copy below). It’s not even real research. They used a bunch of medical records from a local hospital network (Geisinger) and didn’t actually interview anyone themselves. Totally made up. Total fiction. That’s what you need to know about the latest attack on Marcellus drilling…
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DCNR Report: Less Shale Drilling in PA State Forests Due to Ban

It’s probably self-evident to most people that if you slap a ban on new leasing of state land for shale drilling, as was first done by liberal Democrat Ed Rendell, and later solidified by liberal Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf, it will result in (tada!) less drilling on state land. That’s the conclusion of an updated report just issued by the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The “Shale Gas Monitoring Report” (full copy below) was first published in 2014. An updated second edition of the report was just issued by DCNR. It shows: gas development on state forest lands has “slowed considerably” since 2014; even though roads to interior parts of forests have been improved (paid for by shale drillers), some folks would rather have “pristine” dirt roads full of potholes instead; there has been a growth of “invasive” plants, perhaps carried into forests by hitching a ride on drilling equipment; drilling hasn’t affected the quality of nearby creeks and rivers. Here’s an overview of the report, followed by a copy of the full 202-page report…
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WV Driller Northeast Natural Energy Grows – Fracking Petri Dish

Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) is a small-to-midsized driller headquartered in Morgantown, WV. It’s a young company, drilling its first shale well in 2013. In April 2017 MDN reported that NNE had obtained $300 million of investment from two investment firms (see WV Driller Northeast Natural Energy Gets $300M Investment). They’ve put the money to good use. NNE owns 56,000 acres of leases “in the heart of the Marcellus Fairway,” with 44,000 acres in WV and 12,000 acres in southwestern PA. The company has drilled and brought online 57 shale wells. By this time next year the company expects that number to be nearly 100. One of the most interesting things about NNE is its involvement with government and university researchers. NNE drilled several test shale wells near Morgantown. The wells are part of an ongoing laboratory experiment that measures and pokes and prods everything, in an effort to learn more about shale drilling and its impacts. NNE’s test wells are a sort of living fracking petri dish. Reams of data pour in and get analyzed. Our friends at Kallanish Energy have done a deep dive into NNE. Here is a portion of their insightful report on this young and growing driller…
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PA DEP Quietly Releases Air Quality Study, No Impacts from Fracking

In July 2012, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a one-year study that will look at impacts on air quality from Marcellus drilling and the infrastructure (pipelines and compressor plants) that comes with shale gas drilling (see PA DEP Announces 1 Year Study on Air Quality in Marcellus). The study focued on Washington County in western PA, primarily in and around Chartiers Township, home of a gas processing plant. Exactly six years later the results of that “one-year” study were released by the DEP–with no comment or fanfare. With no nothing. A reporter with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noticed the unannounced release on the DEP website. We have a copy of the study/results below. What did it find? In a word–nothing. According to the Post-Gazette, the study found “limited impacts to the air quality around the sites it examined and little risk of healthy residents getting sick from breathing the air nearby.” Which explains why there’s been no fanfare, no calling attention to it. You would think the DEP would want to blow the trumpet about the results of an activity that thousands of state residents are located near. But it’s an election year, and Tom Wolf doesn’t want to rile up his fruitcake environmental base. Here’s more on the report nobody is talking about…
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Philly Antis Commission Faux “Risk Study” Targeting ME2 Pipeline

Unhappy that local and state political leaders refuse to shut down the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project, a small group of anti-fossil fuelers from the Philadelphia area are coughing up $50,000 of Big Green (likely Tom Steyer’s) money to fund a biased “study” that will say ME2 is too risky. Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety, working with East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates, has hired Quest Consultants–a company that sells itself to the highest bidder. The funny thing is, the same company (Quest Consultants) did virtually the same report for the same region last year, charging the Middletown Coalition $45,000 (see Report by Philly Antis Proves Mariner East 2 Pipeline is Safe). Why even bother with the pretense? The end result is already written (just look at last year’s report). You always get what you pay for, and this is paid for by antis. This new “report” is not about hard science but about political science. It’s about scientific hucksterism. It’s about paying $50K so you can wave a report around and make a baseless claim to new “facts” (that aren’t facts at all). It’s just more of the same from the same people…
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M-U Companies Collaborate with Eco Group on Pipeline Report

Over the years the Nature Conservancy, whose mission is “to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends,” has put its support behind restrictive, anti-drilling measures. However, they’re not typically one of the Big Green groups that actively goes out of its way to block all fossil fuel extraction. They’re not as bad as the Sierra Club, or NRDC, or Earthworks. In what is perhaps a new chapter in cooperation with the industry (sure to get them tossed off the Christmas card list by other Big Green groups), the Nature Conservancy worked with eight of the largest pipeline companies in the U.S. (all but one with operations in the Marcellus/Utica) to produce a report titled, “Improving Steep-Slope Pipeline Construction to Reduce Impacts to Natural Resources” (full copy below). The report’s aim is to provide a list of best practice aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of natural gas pipeline construction. Particularly in areas prone to landslides. Working with Nature Conservancy on the report was Dominion Energy, Enbridge, EQT Midstream Partners, Kinder Morgan, NiSource, Southern Company Gas, UGI Energy Services and Williams–all of which have committed to adopting the guidelines put forth in the report. Notice that Nature Conservancy’s approach is not “never build another pipeline again”–as it is for most Big Green groups (including the ones we listed above). Instead, Nature Conservancy worked with pipeline companies to develop standards and practices that will protect the environment, while still allowing for pipeline construction. That is, they are being reasonable. Hats off to the Nature Conservancy for their efforts and reasonableness. Unfortunately for them, they are now sure to be ostracized by their Big Green brethren…
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EIA July ’18 Drilling Report: Gas Prod. Jumps Another 1 Bcf/d

Yesterday our 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 Marcellus/Utica region (called Appalachia in the report) continues to see production go through the roof. As has been happening for the past 6 months or so, production in the Marcellus/Utica region will grow another 1/3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the coming month. It’s simply amazing! Our region adds another 1 Bcf/d every three months now. With no end in sight. If you add up new gas production for all seven major plays, the U.S. will produce an additional 1 Bcf/d in August. That’s 1 Bcf more in August than it produced in July. Mind blowing. No less impressive is U.S. oil production from shale. In last month’s report, EIA said oil production would grow 141,000 barrels. This month? Oil production will grow ANOTHER 143,000 barrels per day! Once again, new records for gas (and oil) will be shattered in August…
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Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 1Q18

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued production numbers yesterday for the first quarter of 2018. Natural gas production was up an astounding 43% over the same period last year. In fact, Utica natgas production hit a new all-time high of 531.3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 1Q18. However, Utica oil production was down 3.6% over the same period last year. Ohio’s oil production has seesawed over the past few years. It increased last quarter and the quarter before. But prior to 3Q17, oil production was mostly down. Once again Ascent Resources, founded by the late Aubrey McClendon, dominated the top 25 highest-producing gas wells (17 of the top 25). However, Eclipse Resources grabbed the top slot in 1Q18 with a well in Monroe County that produced an amazing 2.9 Bcf all by itself! Eclipse also (as in the previous quarterly report) grabbed a majority of the top 25 most-producing oil wells, with 13 of 25 wells on the list. The top 4 oil wells were Eclipse wells, all located in Guernsey County. Below we have the ODNR’s high level overview of the numbers, along with MDN’s own exclusive analysis showing: the top 25 producing gas wells, the top 25 producing oil wells, and then the top 25 gas and oil wells as ranked by average production per day. There is a difference. The longer an oil or gas well is online, the less it produces. Newer wells produce more. We show you which wells are not just producing the most quantity overall, but which wells are producing at the fastest (most productive) rates–even if those wells haven’t yet been online a full three months. We also include a link to the complete list (Google Spreadsheet) of 1,949 wells included in the 1Q18 ODNR report, in a more useful format than that provided by ODNR…
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