Seneca No Longer Interested in Buying Sewer Water for Fracking

MDN told you 4 1/2 (!) years ago about a plan by the Kane Borough Sewer Authority in McKean County, PA to sell sewer effluent to Seneca Resources for drilling gas wells. Seneca is the oil and gas drilling division of National Fuel Gas Company (see Kane Borough Sewer Authority Making Money from Selling Effluent to Marcellus Shale Driller). Effluent is the treated water discharged from sewage treatment plants. In an update to that story, it seems Seneca and other drillers are no longer interested in Kane’s sewer water…
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Seneca Resources 3Q14: Drilling Moves Away from Lycoming County

Seneca Resources, the Marcellus Shale drilling division of midstream and utility company National Fuel Gas headquartered in Buffalo, NY, issued their fiscal third quarter (everyone else’s calendar second quarter) update yesterday. Among the interesting items: Seneca has shifted its focus on new drilling away from Lycoming County, PA (Williamsport area) westward to Elk, McKean and Cameron counties. The shift in focus will remain until Williams completes its recently announced Atlantic Sunrise Expansion pipeline project. Also of note was the increase in Seneca’s production and where it came from…
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Endeavour International’s Stock Tanks – Why?

In 2011, Endeavour International, an independent energy company from Houston, TX, cut a deal with SM Energy for 50,000 Marcellus Shale acres, three producing wells and a pipeline in McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania (see Endeavour International Buys Lease for Additional 50K Marcellus Acres & Local Pipeline in PA from SM Energy). At the time Endeavour had around 33,000 Marcellus Shale acres. However, by the end of 2011, Endeavour backed out of the deal (see Endeavour Leaves SM Energy at the Altar, SM Ready to Sue). After two and a half years of litigation, the two sides settled in April, costing Endeavour $19.25 million (see Endeavour & SM Energy Settle Lawsuit over PA Marcellus Properties). However, Endeavour’s stock price continues to bump along at the bottom of the barrel–something that has them mystified…
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Endeavour & SM Energy Settle Lawsuit over PA Marcellus Properties

In July 2011 MDN told you that independent energy company Endeavour International entered into a deal with SM Energy for 50,000 Marcellus Shale acres, three producing gas wells and a pipeline located in McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania. The deal was worth $110 million (see Endeavour International Buys Lease for Additional 50K Marcellus Acres & Local Pipeline in PA from SM Energy). Five months later Endeavour pulled out of the deal and SM Energy threatened to sue (see Endeavour Leaves SM Energy at the Altar, SM Ready to Sue).

SM Energy made good on its threat and for the past 2 1/2 years the deal has been tied up in court with both sides suing each other. Endeavour said there were problems with clear title to the property and that the pipeline was not up to scratch. SM said they didn’t misrepresent anything and Endeavour simply got cold feet. Lots of lawyers and legal fees ensued. Today Endeavour issued an announcement that all of the suing and counter-suing is over and both sides have now settled…
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Final Appeal? Court Says Drilling in Allegheny Natl Forest Legal

When the federal government digs in its heels and is intent on obstructing justice, it can take a long time to remedy via the courts. But (sometimes) justice does prevail in the end. We now have–hopefully–a final resolution in the ongoing series of cases known as Minard Run Oil v. United States Forest Service. We wrote about this case back in 2011, but it goes back much further, to 2009 (see Drillers Sue US Govt over Allegheny National Forest Delays). As a brief background, the federal government purchased a number of parcels of land in 1923 that became the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in northwestern Pennsylvania. However, the government did not purchase the mineral rights under most of the land–seems that back in 1923 the government didn’t just print the money it wanted (“quantitative easing” anyone?).

Even though they don’t own the mineral rights, in 2009 the U.S. Forest Service (federal agency managing the ANF) entered into what was an illegal out of court settlement with environmentalist groups stipulating that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will govern all oil and gas drilling in the ANF. It effectively shut down any new drilling in the forest, denying private citizens the ability to benefit from their private property (mineral) rights. The drilling industry sued and the case has now gone through three appeals. The most recent appeal was heard by the federal U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit. The court ruled, once again, in favor of private property rights…
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Second Seneca 100% LNG-Powered Drilling Rig Goes Online

MDN recently told you about Seneca Resources, the first Marcellus driller to convert a drilling rig to run on a 100% liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine, a rig they now use for drilling in Lycoming County, PA (see this MDN story). Seneca has just completed the conversion of a second 100% LNG-powered rig and uses it for drilling in Forest, Elk, Jefferson and McKean counties in PA.

Stands to reason the company that makes the engine would want to crow about it, and sure enough they now have. General Electric is the manufacturer of the Jenbacher J320 turbocharged natural gas engine, and they issued this press release yesterday about their innovative new engine being used by Seneca:

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Altela Set to Open 2 New Frack Wastewater Plants in PA

Two new fracking wastewater treatment plants will come online in Pennsylvania on August 1st—one in Clarion County, the other in McKean County. As MDN reported back in November, Altela Inc. will use a distillation process to purify fracking wastewater, a “green” alternative instead of chemically treating the water (see this MDN story).

The new news is that Altela is almost ready to open two new plants using their green technology.

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Federal Judge Upholds Water Ban in Allegheny National Forest

In a lawsuit to allow active drilling in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in Pennsylvania, a federal judge ruled last Friday that the U.S. Forest Service does not have to end a ban they imposed on drillers who want to use surface water from the ANF for hydraulic fracturing. Drillers have argued that the Forest Service’s actions in banning water withdrawals from the ANF, and in delaying signoff on new drilling permits, have in essence stopped drilling in the ANF—a de facto ban. For a background on the long-running dispute, see this MDN story from last November.

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Drillers Sue US Govt over Allegheny National Forest Delays

According to a lawsuit filed on Monday, the U.S. government is obstructing legitimate and legal gas drilling in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in northwestern PA. A court in Eire, PA has been asked to find them in contempt and force them to allow drilling to proceed on a timely basis.

A brief background on the ANF and why the lawsuit was filed:

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New “Green” Fracking Wastewater Plant in McKean County, PA

A new Marcellus wastewater treatment facility is coming to McKean County, PA, and by using a local railroad spur, owners of the new facility hope to service a large area of Pennsylvania and eventually New York, reducing truck traffic. The facility will use methane from a local landfill for power instead of electricity. Low-grade heat (from the methane) is used to process the wastewater, making it an “environmentally friendly” alternative technology.

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Endeavour International Buys Lease for Additional 50K Marcellus Acres & Local Pipeline in PA from SM Energy

Endeavour International, an independent energy company, has just picked up an additional 50,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale along with three producing wells and a pipeline, all located in McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania, in a deal with SM Energy. From the Endeavour press release:

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Another Cool Idea from Kane, PA – Turn Old Schools into Marcellus Shale Training Centers

Must be something in the water in Kane, Pennsylvania. They just keep having great ideas! Not long ago we learned that the Kane Borough Sewer Authority is going sell (for money!) sewer water to drillers in the Marcellus, which will create a nice, new revenue stream for the township. Now they’re talking about possibly converting empty school buildings into training centers for those who will need job training to work in the Marcellus Shale.

With Kane located in the middle of a key Marcellus Shale gas location, could its vacant schools provide sites for training or other services for the well-drilling bonanza?

This question was explored Thursday by the Ad Hoc Committee that is looking at options for utilizing the vacant Mt. Jewett Elementary School and the soon-to-be vacant Chestnut Street Elementary School in Kane.

Dr. Maryann Anderson, superintendent of the Kane Area School District, said the companies involved in drilling Marcellus Shale gas wells “need to have a ready workforce.”

It was suggested that perhaps the vacant schools in Kane and Mt. Jewett could house training centers for the companies that need workers for various jobs associated with the Marcellus wells.*

The great ideas just keep coming—from Kane!

*The Kane Republican (Mar 26) – Could schools provide services for area drilling boom?

Kane Borough Sewer Authority Making Money from Selling Effluent to Marcellus Shale Driller

Kane Borough Sewer Authority in McKean County, Pennsylvania is planning to sell (sell!) sewer effluent to Seneca Resources for drilling gas wells. Seneca is the oil and gas drilling division of National Fuel Gas Company. Effluent is the treated water discharged from sewage treatment plants.

According to a report given by Phil Lingenfelter, the foreman for the [Kane Borough] sewage treatment plants, more than 700,000 gallons of effluent is discharged daily from the two plants in “dry weather.”

Jim Salvamoser, chairman of the five-member authority, endorses the plan to sell the effluent to Seneca Resources.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Salvamoser said Monday. “It may give us a good source of revenue.”

Lingenfelter said he still is talking with Seneca about the proposal. He said a price for the effluent has not been set. He said the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been made aware of the proposal and has not ruled against the effluent sale.

“DEP thinks it’s a great idea,” he told the authority.*

Seneca has already drilled one gas well in the area and is now drilling another, with plans to drill more wells in the near future.

There are many municipal sewage treatment facilities located throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic in the Marcellus Shale. Perhaps some other enterprising managers can tap this new revenue source for their cities and towns.

*Kane Republican (Mar 16) – Kane plans to sell sewer effluent for well drilling

Swamp Angel Energy Guilty of Illegally Dumping 200K Gallons of Brine in PA

Mother Nature Network (Feb 22)
Gas drillers plead guilty to felony dumping violations

Two people from Swamp Angel Energy pled guilty last week to dumping 200,000 gallons of brine in an abandoned oil well in McKean County, Pennsylvania.

According to the article:

[P]art-owner Michael Evans, 66, of La Quinta, Calif., and John Morgan, 54, of Sheffield, Penn., admitted dumping 200,000 gallons of brine – salty wastewater that’s created in the drilling process – down an abandoned oil well. The maximum penalty for both Evans and Morgan is three years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Sentencing will be June 24.

Swamp Angel Energy was (and is currently) drilling in the Allegheny National Forest, located in McKean County. Also according to the article:

Swamp Angel has 77 active, permitted wells in Pennsylvania, all of them in McKean County.

Fellow drillers and those in the drilling industry have swiftly and rightly condemned the illegal dumping. The article is anti-drilling with a smug “See, I told you so,” kind of tone, which is to be expected coming from MNN. However, the illegal actions of a few should not be used to paint all drilling companies with the same broad brush.