Shale Oil, Gas Finds Put Mon Valley On Path To Renaissance, Leaders Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lue Ann Pawlick never envisioned companies connected with oil and gas beating a path to Alta Vista Business Park when it broke ground in tiny Fallowfield, Washington County, in 2001.

Today, three of the five companies in Alta Vista work in the industry. An energy company is set to start construction in the spring, and at least one more is close to signing a deal to locate there.

“We’re trying to keep it a mixed-use business park, but we have to recognize the oil and gas industry is the biggest game in town right now,” said Pawlick, executive director of the Middle Monongahela Industrial Development Association. “They are the ones driving demand.”

Ten years ago, Fort Worth-based Range Resources Corp. drilled the first Marcellus shale well in Washington County. Now the county — which dubs itself “Energy Capital of the East” — is home to about 1,000 wells, the most in Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/6815491-74/county-mon-valley#ixzz3GhruaosZ
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Southwestern Energy Snaps Up Assets In Marcellus, Utica From Chesapeake

Chesapeake Energy continued its sell-off of gas drilling operations in the Marcellus and Utica shales Thursday with its biggest withdrawal from Appalachia.

Pennsylvania’s biggest shale gas producer agreed to sell 435 shale wells, 1,100 conventional wells and the rights to drill in more than 400,000 acres to Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. for $5.375 billion.

“I certainly think this is consistent with what we’ve seen from Chesapeake,” said Scott Hanold, an energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6974705-74/energy-southwestern-marcellus#ixzz3GPXRKihi
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Range Resources To Pay $4.15M Fine, Close Old Gas Drilling Impoundments

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Range Resources Corp. will pay the largest state fine levied against a Pennsylvania shale gas driller and close five drilling wastewater impoundments in Washington County because of leaks into soil and groundwater, officials said on Thursday.

The Fort Worth-based company signed an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection that requires paying a $4.15 million fine, closing the troubled facilities and rebuilding two impoundments using what regulators call “next generation” technology.

“There are two messages we are sending today. One is we take these kinds of situations very seriously and there are going to be consequences even when a company is a good corporate neighbor,” department Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo told the Tribune-Review. “And to the citizens, the message is we’re going to handle these matters.”

Davitt Woodwell, president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council said, “I commend Range for coming forward. And it appears DEP has taken this as an opportunity to leverage better standards.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6819985-74/range-impoundments-department#ixzz3DmCmQVOQ
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Shell Touts Utica Gas Wells In Northern Pa.

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Tioga County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Tioga County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Energy companies might have another sweet spot for gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

Royal Dutch Shell on Wednesday said two wells it drilled in the Utica shale below Tioga County are producing at levels comparable to the most successful wells in Southeastern Ohio.

“This opens a new potential for other drillers to follow Shell’s act,” said Tom Gellrich, founder of TopLine Analytics, a manufacturing consultant specializing in shale gas plays.

The energy giant drilled the wells in one of the top-producing Marcellus shale counties, north of Williamsport. But Shell’s Gee and Neal wells are tapping a formation several thousand feet below the better-known Marcellus and were drilled about 100 miles northeast of the closest producing Utica well.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6727554-74/wells-shell-producing#ixzz3CMn9NtUh
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Gas Production From Marcellus Shale Sets Record Despite Fewer New Wells Going Online

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania drillers are pulling record amounts of natural gas from the Marcellus shale even as they bring fewer new wells online, according to state data released on Monday.

About 5,400 shale wells produced nearly 2 trillion cubic feet of gas during the first six months of the year, a 14 percent increase in production over the past six months of 2013, the data from the state Department of Environmental Protection show.

Energy companies accomplished the record despite connecting fewer than 500 new wells during the period. Previous semiannual reports showed an average of 675 new wells every six months.

“We’re seeing the results of technical developments that allow much greater efficiency,” said Kent Moors, executive chair of the global energy symposium at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6636073-74/wells-gas-production#ixzz3ArYHVfvS
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Pennsylvania Boasts Progressive Movement To Preserve Farmland

Picture 487Before Bill Iams began raising beef cattle and planting acres of hay on a farm in southern Washington County, five generations worked the soil and raised livestock there.

Soon, Iams hopes to ensure the 155 acres in Amwell, which the king of England granted to his ancestors before the American Revolution, remain farmland forever.

“Look around at the changes in this area over the last 50 years, especially in the Washington area. North on Route 19 was all farms,” said Iams, 57, owner of Log Cabin Fence Co., a farming supply business off Interstate 79 in Amity. “Now you’ve got malls and everything else going on but farming.”

Iams awaits approval by a state committee to sell development rights to his farm to Washington County through the county’s Farmland Preservation Program, part of a statewide initiative to make certain that fertile land is used for agriculture.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/washington/6506932-74/farms-county-iams#ixzz39RSdt66P
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Survey Of Washington, Greene Elected Officials Shows Positive Views Of Gas Industry

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A survey of elected leaders in Washington and Greene counties found generally positive experiences with the gas exploration industry that has changed the face of their communities.

“They’re starting to see a lot of vitality. There’s physical activity in the communities and new wealth among some property owners. New employees. That’s all very positive,” said Diana Stares, the director of the Center of Energy Policy and Management at Washington & Jefferson College, who oversaw the survey. “Now they’re anxious to draw from that development some long-term results. And some don’t know how to go about that.”

Interactions between drilling companies and local officials are improving as both sides get to know each other, and as money and jobs flow into the region, several people said.

“It was a growing experience, I think, by some of these companies coming in here,” said Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, a Democrat. “But they saw that if you treat people fairly, they’ll respond in a positive way.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6383333-74/industry-officials-percent#ixzz36tbYQPSg
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Census: Texas Has 3 Of 5 Fast-Growing Cities

Map of Texas highlighting Ector County

Map of Texas highlighting Ector County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 — Oil equals boom — especially in population right now. And Texas, in the midst of a significant energy rush, is seeing its towns and cities burst at the seams.

Three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities — and seven of the top 15 — are in the Lone Star State, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, part of a trend across the West largely fueled by an oil boom. Most of the cities are West of the Mississippi.

Now these cities need to have enough roads, schools, water and infrastructure to keep up — the growing pains of a surging population. And while it is viewed as opportunity, city planners are frazzled.

Odessa, Texas, smack-dab in the middle of the oil-rich Permian Basin, is No. 11 on the Census Bureau list. People are flooding the oil fields, booming thanks to new hydraulic fracturing technologies that allow drillers access to once out-of-reach resources.

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Report: Pennsylvania Forests Impacted By Drilling

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

The 268-page Department of Conservation and Natural Resources report issued this week concluded that “shale-gas production on state forest lands is neither benign nor catastrophic” and that there are clearly impacts and trade-offs.

“The question is what trade-offs are acceptable,” the report said.

The report found that about 1,486 acres of forest have been converted to various types of drilling-related development since 2008, including roads, well pads, and pipelines, out of about 2.2 million acres in the state forest system. That gas development resulted in 191 infrastructure pads and 104 miles of pipelines.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/pennsylvania/report-pennsylvania-forests-impacted-by-drilling/article_c98b8d73-66b5-52b5-b9f0-149d8d97c8a0.html

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Pennsylvania Gas Well Blaze Extinguishes Itself

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Greene County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Greene County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fire that burned for four days at a gas well in rural Greene County went out by itself, but officials said on Sunday they will approach the site very cautiously to stop the gas leaking from two damaged well heads.

For reasons that were still unclear, the methane gas that was pouring from one of the three wells on the pad decreased in volume and the fire extinguished itself about 3 p.m. Saturday, said Bill Zempolich, manager for asset development out of the Moon office of Chevron, which owns the well in Dunkard.

The fire had been going out intermittently, but the gas kept hitting a superheated crane left on the pad and reigniting. Crews at the site used a laser Saturday to determine the crane cooled and shouldn’t re-ignite the gas, said Scott Perry, deputy secretary for the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas Management.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1199417/Pa.-gas-well-blaze-extinguishes-itself

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Gas Field Politics Affect Leadership In Western Pennsylvania Communities

Map of Washington County higlighting Robinson ...

Map of Washington County higlighting Robinson Township. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rodger Kendall says he never wanted to enter politics, but when he did, he waded into one of the biggest political conflicts in Pennsylvania.

Kendall became a supervisor in Robinson, Washington County, in January, less than three weeks since it won a landmark state Supreme Court ruling overturning part of new laws aimed at eliminating local obstacles to shale drilling.

Despite the win, he used his first night in office, Jan. 6, to lead a vote to remove Robinson from the case. Then he made his first official call as a township supervisor to Range Resources Corp.

In one election, voters dumped two of the township’s three supervisors and shifted the township’s position on drilling.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5502081-74/drilling-gas-robinson#ixzz2sw6KrTmz
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Elk County Well To Take Fracking Wastewater

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Elk County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Elk County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seneca Resources Corp. has received federal approval to operate a new drilling wastewater injection well in Elk County, and more of those deep injection wells for the disposal of Marcellus and Utica shale gas drilling wastewater are on tap for Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it had approved Seneca’s proposal to convert one of its existing vertical gas wells into an injection well that will pump up to 60,000 gallons a day of drilling wastewater and salty brine about 2,400 feet below the surface into the Elk 3 Sandstone formation.

That formation is about 1,700 feet below groundwater aquifers that supply residential water to residents of the area, said Karen Johnson, chief of the EPA Region III groundwater and enforcement branch.

The EPA has permitted 30,000 Class II injection wells for drilling brine and wastewater disposal nationally — about a third of those in Texas — but the Seneca disposal well is just the ninth such well approved in Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/marcellusshale/2014/02/03/Elk-County-well-to-take-fracking-wastewater/stories/201402030061#ixzz2sHhbe2yX

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Sunoco To Pipe Shale Gas Through Clay, West Cocalico Townships

English: Sunoco Logo

English: Sunoco Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A decommissioned underground pipeline that once carried gasoline across the state and through Lancaster County could see new life from the Marcellus shale gas boom.

Representatives of Sunoco Inc., of Philadelphia, have recently been in West Cocalico and Clay townships doing site surveys and scouting locations for a pumping station needed as part of a statewide retrofit of the pipeline so that it can transport natural gas to a facility in Delaware.

“Mariner East 1 is a project to transport natural gas liquids (NGLs), also called liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs) from the Marcellus and Utica shales in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Pennsylvania/Delaware border,” Sunoco representative Jeff Shields wrote in an email Nov. 20.

The Mariner East 1 project would stretch from a Sunoco facility just outside Houston, Pa., in Chartiers Township, Washington County, to its transportation hub in Marcus Hook, Delaware County, or a distance of about 300 miles.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/921971_Sunoco-to-pipe-shale-gas-through-Clay–West-Cocalico.html#ixzz2lJHodFsv

PA Marcellus Topped 2 Trillion Cubic Feet Of Gas In 2012

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s Marcellus and other shale wells produced more than 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2012, continuing a trend of production growth despite fewer drilling rigs in the field.

New production data reported by natural gas drilling companies and released by the state Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday showed that 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas flowed from unconventional wells in the state during the second half of 2012.

The wells produced an average of 6.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day between July and December, or enough to fulfill about 9 percent of the nation’s daily natural gas demand.  The U.S. consumed about 70 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/pa-marcellus-topped-2-trillion-cubic-feet-of-gas-in-2012-1.1447325

Geisinger Study To Examine Health Effects Of Gas Drilling

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DANVILLE – A Pennsylvania health company said it has gotten a $1 million grant to study possible health impacts of natural gas drilling on the Marcellus Shale.

Geisinger Health System said Monday that the Degenstein Foundation had awarded the money to help underwrite what it called a “large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment” of the drilling.

Most of the money will be used for data-gathering, and some will go toward developing studies of the data. Officials said they expect other funders to come forward.

The study is to look at detailed health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live near wells and other facilities that are producing natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation thousands of feet underground.

Read more:  http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/568967/Geisinger-study-to-examine-health-effects-of-gas-drilling.html?nav=742

Area Counties Share Marcellus Shale Impact Fees

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Staff and wire reports Chester County will receive the lowest amount of money among suburban Philadelphia counties from the state as part of the Marcellus Shale Impact fee distribution announced recently by the Corbett administration.

The county is in line to receive $423,255.23 from the state, far less than the $1.29 million that Philadelphia will receive. The highest amount of the four Philadelphia suburbs is the $678,613.66 that Montgomery County will receive.

Berks County will receive $349,067, Bucks County will receive $530,461.69 and Delaware County will receive $474.238.17.  Distribution for the southeastern Pennsylvania counties is based on population.

State law restricts how the money can be spent, allowing for such uses as fixing roads and building or repairing water and sewer infrastructure.  County officials could not answer Wednesday where the funds here would go, but said they would be in line with the state’s restrictions.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121017/NEWS01/121019427/area-counties-share-marcellus-shale-impact-fees

Officials: CO2 Emissions In US Drop Because Of Plentiful Natural Gas

PITTSBURGH (AP) — In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for “cautious optimism” about potential ways to deal with climate change.  He said it demonstrates that “ultimately people follow their wallets” on global warming.

“There’s a very clear lesson here.  What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/officials-co2-emissions-in-us-drop-because-of-plentiful-natural-gas-1.1359789

Marcellus Shale Becoming Top US Natural Gas Field

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSBURGH, PA (AP) — The Marcellus Shale is about to become the most productive natural gas field in the United States, according to new data from energy industry analysts and the federal government.

Though serious drilling only began five years ago, the sheer volume of Marcellus production suggests that in some ways there’s no going back, even as New York debates whether to allow drilling in its portion of the shale, which also lies under large parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

The top spot for the Marcellus “doesn’t surprise me,” said Jay Apt, a professor of technology at Carnegie Mellon University. “But will it lead to industries that spring up to use that gas?” he asked, adding that much of the bounty could also end up being shipped to Canada, the Gulf Coast or overseas.

In 2008, Marcellus production barely registered on national energy reports. In July, the combined output from Pennsylvania and West Virginia wells was about 7.4 billion cubic feet per day, according to Kyle Martinez, an analyst at Bentek Energy. That’s more than double the 3.6 billion cubic feet from last April, and represents over 25 percent of national shale gas production.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/marcellus-shale-becoming-top-us-natural-gas-field-1.1355101

Pennsylvania Counties Cashing In On Marcellus Shale Drilling Revenues

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the state Legislature passed Act 13 in February, county and local officials across the state expressed some excitement and more than a little trepidation over whether impact fees for Marcellus Shale gas well drilling would go far enough to compensate for the disruptions and damage blamed on drilling for the valuable resource over the past five or so years.

But now, county officials are finding themselves scrambling to figure out how they will maintain human services, such as those aimed at children, the poor and elderly, in the face of a 10 to 20 percent cut in the state budget.

The impact fee?

No longer the big deal that it was a year ago in the discussion stages, many county officials say.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-south/local-counties-cashing-in-on-marcellus-shale-drilling-revenues-639308/#ixzz1xDrwMu3a

Marcellus Shale Gas Boom Has A Downside – Crime

In a modern-day echo of the raucous Old West, small towns enjoying a boom in oil and gas drilling are seeing a sharp increase in drunken driving, bar fights and other hell-raising, blamed largely on an influx of young men who find themselves with lots of money in their pockets and nothing to do after they get off work.

Authorities in Pennsylvania and other states are quick to point out that the vast majority of workers streaming in are law-abiding. But they also say the drilling industry has brought with it a hard-working, hard-drinking, rough-and-tumble element that, in some places, threatens to overwhelm law enforcement.

Read more: http://www.stargazette.com/article/20111029/NEWS01/110290358/Pa-towns-see-crime-surge-amid-gas-boom?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE