Plan to Frack Shale Well in New York State Using LPG Still Alive

Whatever happened to the idea of fracking a shale well in Tioga County, NY using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, or propane)? We sometimes get asked that question. In July 2015 a group of landowners flying under the name of The Snyder Farm Group (five families make up the group) contracted with Tioga Energy Partners (based in Texas) to drill a fracked Utica Shale well, and follow it up with drilling a fracked Marcellus Shale well, using LPG and sand (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech and NY Heroes: More Details on NY Propane Fracking Proposal). The wells would not use water for fracking–and therefore, according to the landowners, avoid New York’s ban on high volume fracking imposed by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo. NY’s corrupt Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) does not disagree with the Tioga landowners. It certainly *may* be possible to use LPG fracking and avoid the prohibition on water-based fracking. Yet the DEC continues its standard operating procedure of delay by declaring they don’t have enough information (we’ve seen this movie before). The last time we reported anything about the Tioga project was May 2016, when the DEC began its latest round of death-by-delay tactics (see NY DEC Calls Propane Fracking “Unique Technology”; Wants More Info). So where does the Tioga project stand now? Same. The DEC says they still don’t have all the answers they want about LPG fracking, leaving the project in limbo. But that’s better than declaring it dead–maybe. The good news is that after 2 1/2 years, the Tioga project is still alive because the farming families involved are still pushing for it have not given up. Neither should we…
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NY DEC Calls Propane Fracking “Unique Technology”; Wants More Info

LPG Fracturing
LPG Fracturing – Click for larger version

It only took nine months, but the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which moves like a glacier, has finally responded to a request by a group of farmers in Tioga County, NY to use propane fracking technology (also known as LPG fracturing or “liquefied petroleum gas”) on a shale well. Last July a group of landowners flying under the name of The Snyder Farm Group (five families make up the group) contracted with Tioga Energy Partners (based in Texas) to drill a fracked Utica Shale well, and follow it up with drilling a fracked Marcellus Shale well, using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) and sand (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech and NY Heroes: More Details on NY Propane Fracking Proposal). The wells will not use water for fracking–and therefore, according to the landowners, avoid the ban on high volume fracking recently imposed by Andrew Cuomo. It’s just coming to light that last month the DEC issued a “notice of incomplete application” for the proposal (see a copy below) and requested more information on things as truck traffic, how long it will take to frack, the type of storage tanks that will be used, etc. This is more Cuomo tried and true delay as long as you can, then delay some more. It’s always worked so well for the corrupt Cuomo, why not keep doing it? Here’s the details…
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NY Town Supports, Antis Fundraise Against, Waterless Fracking

MDN editor Jim Willis is often asked, when people learn of his occupation of writing about shale drilling, “What’s up with New York? Will there ever be any drilling in the state?” Jim’s answer is always the same: some day. But likely not until we excrete out of office our current man-child governor, Andy Cuomo. The one potential bright spot for fracking in the Empire State is a plan by a small group of farmers in Tioga County, NY to use waterless fracking technology to drill a test shale well (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech). The Snyder Farm Group, as it’s called, has filed an application with the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC)–owned and controlled by Cuomo–so that’s where the application now sits, with nothing happening so far as we can tell. Sooner or later the Snyder Group will have to sue the DEC to move things along. In the meantime, we have two bits of news to share with respect to the Town of Barton waterless fracking proposal. One bit of news is about support for the plan in Tioga County, and the other is about opposition to the plan from the usual suspects who oppose ANYTHING to do with fossil energy, not because it’s somehow inherently dangerous to extract natural gas, but because it IS natural gas. An irrational hatred of carbon molecules (the stuff you breathe out with every breath)…
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NY Landowners Plan to Use Bankrupt GASFRAC’s Waterless Frack Tech

giving up not an optionIn September MDN brought you the news that the buyer of the bankrupt Canadian waterless fracking company, GASFRAC, is shelving the waterless propane fracking product the company was known for (see New Owner “Mothballs” GASFRAC’s Waterless LPG Technology). Our comment at the time was: “The mothballing of the GASFRAC technology raises and interesting question for the effort to frack a well in Tioga County, NY, where a group of farmers had planned to use LPG fracking technology on a test well (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech). We sure hope they weren’t pinning their hopes on GASFRAC.” An article in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin tells us that yes, the Tioga County landowners who want to frack New York’s first Marcellus well were–and still are–planning to use the GASFRAC technology. According to a rep from the Tioga landowner group, they have access to the equipment and technology from GASFRAC to do an LPG frack should they get a green light from the state…
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US Circuit Court: NY Landowners Released from Marcellus Leases

court gavelThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, located in New York State, released a decision yesterday in a case known as Beardslee v. Inflection Energy, LLC (copy of the decision is embedded below) that may create problems for future shale drilling in New York State–should the existing statewide ban ever be lifted. Yesterday’s decision is good news for landowners in one sense–it officially upholds the right of Tioga County, NY landowners party to the lawsuit to be released from old leases made in pre-Marcellus days when landowners signed leases for $3 per acre. Those leases were signed before the words “Marcellus” or “Utica” meant anything other than municipalities in New York State. (Interesting factoid: both shale plays are named after the NY towns where they were first identified. Further interesting factoid: both Marcellus, NY and Utica, NY banned fracking before the statewide ban was official.) The Second Circuit upheld a previous decision which we first wrote about in 2012 (see Judge Rules Against Chesapeake, Inflection in NY Lease Case), a decision appealed to NY’s highest court that upheld it (see NY High Court Decision Creates Toxic Environment for O&G Companies). The energy companies then appealed the decision to U.S. District Court, where they have now lost. The ultimate issue at the core of this case is whether or not New York’s government action in disallowing fracking of shale wells should be considered a “force majeure” event that extends a lease beyond the initial term. It is the one issue the none of the courts ever directly answered, including the Second Circuit…
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NY Antis Now Want LPG Fracking Banned Too, Letter to DEC

At the risk of sounding pedantic and endlessly repeating what we’ve said many times before–the frack ban in New York is not about water quality concerns or any of the other myriad so-called “problems” that come from using water to hydraulically fracture an oil or gas well. This is how we know. If you remove water from the equation, which is the major concern and why the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has decided to ban fracking (supposedly), anti-drillers still object to fracking. A group of virulent, hardened, and frankly nutty anti-drillers from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Earthjustice and Frack Action have just sent a letter to the NY DEC asking the DEC to ban ALL fracking, including LPG (propane) fracking that a group of landowners in Tioga County, NY plan to use (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech). What has anti-drillers so terrified of LPG fracking? If LPG fracking is used in NY, it will prove that fracking can be done safely in NY–and once that happens, it’s game over for those who object to fracking. Anti-drillers’ call to ban LPG fracking points out what we’ve said for years: these people object to fracking because they irrationally, psychotically, hate fossil fuels–not because fracking pollutes water supplies, because it doesn’t…
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Update on LPG Fracking in New York – What Comes Next?

It's Your MoveAs MDN noted last Thursday, taking a break from being on break in breathtakingly beautiful Ogunquit, Maine, a group of Tioga County, NY landowners have painted Andrew Cuomo and his Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in a corner with respect to fracking in the Empire State (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech). Much of the case against fracking for the DEC is that it uses large amounts of water. The Tioga landowners aim to test LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas, fracking–which uses no water. According to the recently adopted Final Supplemental Environmental Generic Impact Statement (FSGEIS) in New York, “Well applications that specify and propose the use of LPG as the primary carrier fluid will be reviewed and permitted pursuant to the 1992 GEIS and Findings Statement”(FSGEIS 2015, pages 9-10). The Tioga landowners mean to use that exception to drill a small well–covering just 53 acres–to prove that fracking is safe. It’s a brilliant move…
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NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech

Stop Press!Wouldn’t you know? The very day that MDN goes on vacation, a HUGE story–at least for New York State–happens. So we’re back with a single posting today. Yesterday a press conference was held in the Town of Barton (Tioga County), NY to announce that a group of landowners flying under the name of The Snyder Farm Group (five families make up the group) have contracted with Tioga Energy Partners to drill a fracked Utica Shale well, and follow it up with drilling a fracked Marcellus Shale well, using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) and sand. The wells will not use water for fracking–and therefore, according to the landowners, avoid the ban on high volume fracking recently imposed by Andrew Cuomo and his underling Joe Martens at the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). There is no doubt this is huge news throughout the state–and is giving heartburn to Cuomo and Martens. What cockamamie grounds can the DEC possibly use to refuse it? It’s a brilliant move by the landowners in Tioga County…
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NY High Court Decision Creates Toxic Environment for O&G Companies

court gavelA court case decided earlier this week by New York’s Court of Appeals (NY’s highest court), will, in our opinion, have a profoundly negative effect on oil and gas development in the state, forever. Or until another court case overturns it (which seems very unlikely). The case, as its core, is about the question of whether or not state action or inaction constitutes an extraordinary action, in essence an Act of God outside of the control of parties who sign a contract. Years ago landowners signed leases to allow oil and gas drilling, often for a few bucks and acre, long before Marcellus and fracking were common, household words. Then came delay after delay in New York–from the governor–and eventually a more or less semi-permanent ban on fracking. Energy companies argued that the leases they had signed could be extended until the day they are allowed to drill in the Marcellus because of “force majeure”–the concept that due to circumstances beyond our control we could not drill as we intended during the original term of the lease, usually five years. The NY Court of Appeals on Tuesday decided that the state preventing drilling does not qualify as force majeure after the original five-year period of a lease (full copy of the decision below). If the original lease was extended for some reason and then the driller was prevented from drilling during the extended time due to state laws preventing it, it’s not force majeure in the eyes of the “wise” justices in Albany…
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Remembering NY Pro-Gas Fighter Nick Schoonover

Nicholas J. “Nick” Schoonover, of Tioga Center, NY was a beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle and dedicated pro-driller. Nick passed away on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton after a courageous 26 month battle with chronic lyme disease. We are cross-posting an article from Tom Shepstone’s excellent Natural Gas Now website to commemorate Nick. We didn’t personally know Nick, but MDN friend Vic Furman did, and Vic writes a great post about a man who was instrumental in the fight to allow fracking in New York…
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Pro-Drilling Rally to Support NY Gov Candidate Tomorrow

Rob Astorino is running on the Republican ticket for governor, against Democrat Andy Cuomo. Astorino’s running mate, for Lt. Governor, is Chris Moss. Both are strongly pro-drilling and would move to immediately allow fracking in New York if elected. Of course, they don’t stand a prayer of a chance, much as we’d love to see them elected. (Sorry to be brutally honest, but you know us.) At any rate, pro-drilling landowner coalitions are urging their members to attend a rally where Astorino and Moss will speak–in Owego, NY–tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 14). The rally will be held at Hickories Park from 7:00-8:30 pm. Anti-drilling nutters are encouraging their protest brigade to turn up, so it’s important for pro-drillers to attend and and show your support for drilling in New York…
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Rig Fire – in Frackless New York!

This story is full of irony. Due to flooding a few years ago, the Owego Central School District (Tioga County, NY) lost some of their school buildings. The school district is in the process of building a new elementary school just outside of town. In preparation, a drilling rig was brought in to drill wells for a geothermal heating and cooling system for the soon-to-be-built school. Around 100 feet down the rig hit a pocket of methane gas and it ignited, burning the rig.

Now, what was about there not being enough recoverable gas in NY so we should just go ahead and ban fracking statewide (see Latest Laughable NY Anti Tactic – Not Enough Gas, Just Move Along)? You can’t tell us that if fracking were allowed in NY there wouldn’t be at least a few drillers willing to take the gamble on drilling some wells given the bumper crop of gas found a few miles across the border in PA. There’s gas everywhere along the Southern Tier border area–some of it (gasp) “contaminates” water supplies! And nary a fracked well around. Here’s the not-so-funny/funny story of the burning drill rig in frackless NY…
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Done Deal: Chesapeake Drops Leases on 13K Acres in NY

Last week MDN told you that Chesapeake was set to release 12,000 acres of leases in the Southern Tier of New York, abandoning a legal fight to extend those leases (some of which they paid $2-3 per acre for) by using a legal concept called force majeure (see Chesapeake to Release 12K Acres of NY Leases Next Week). Major media outlets from AP to Reuters are reporting Chesapeake, as of Monday, has officially dropped those leases.

One slight update: it was actually 13,000 acres, not 12,000 acres as originally reported…
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Chesapeake to Release 12K Acres of NY Leases Next Week

About a month ago, MDN told you that Chesapeake has decided to end their fight with New York landowners over extending their leases (see Chesapeake Energy Throws in the Towel on NY Shale Drilling). Although it’s taken the past month to iron out the paperwork, it seems that Chesapeake (and NY landowners) will finalize and sign an agreement “sometime next week” to release 12,000 acres of leases in Broome and Tioga counties.

Chesapeake walking away from these leases is bittersweet. Sweet because it releases landowners from old leases signed before fracking was even contemplated, allowing them to re-sign a new lease with better terms. Bitter because it indicates Chesapeake is unwilling to put up with Gov. Andrew “Ditherer” Cuomo any longer as he agonizes over whether he will or whether he won’t allow fracking…
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Cuomo & DiNapoli: Asleep at Sales Tax Switch in NY Southern Tier

MDN has long chronicled the sad situation for landowners in New York State with a moratorium that is, as of today, 5 years and 20 days old. It has had catastrophic economic consequences for New York, especially for those who live in the Southern Tier of the state–that area along the mid-state “southern” border with Pennsylvania (Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Steuben counties). Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spineless on the fracking issue–that much is clear. He won’t stand up to the shrill and unreasonable voices in his own party. No one will take him seriously on the national stage. Cuomo’s rising star has become a shooting star–straight down.

Thomas DiNapoli, NY State Comptroller, is clearly an avowed anti-driller. We’ve brought you a number of stories that illustrate his disdain for drilling (see MDN stories about DiNapoli here). We find it particularly offensive and hypocritical (although not surprising) that DiNapoli has just issued a report that shows sales tax revenue is up in most of the state’s counties, but down in Southern Tier counties–down a lot. DiNapoli bemoans the fact that the Southern Tier continues to take it in the neck–yet he makes no mention of how shale drilling could instantly reverse the economic misery of Southern Tier residents. Typical politician–identify the problem but offer no solutions…
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