Air pollution from natural gas sites in Pennsylvania increased significantly in 2013, the state Department of Environmental Protection says.
Emissions from sulfur dioxide, a precursor of acid rain, was up 57 percent from 2012, DEP said. Volatile organic compounds increased 19 percent. Methane gas, a greenhouse gas, was up 13 percent. Particulate matter (also called soot) was up 12 percent and nitrogen oxides, which form soot, increased 8 percent.
The increased emissions were not unexpected as natural gas production and related processing operations were up in the state as compared to 2012, said John Quigley, DEP secretary.
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.
“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.
English: Consol Energy Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the world’s oldest coal companies is selling off the business that gave Consol Energy Inc. its name, giving up five West Virginia mines and its river transport arm in an effort to transform into a growth-oriented gas business.
After weeks of speculation, Cecil-based Consol confirmed it is selling its Consolidation Coal Co. subsidiary to an Ohio mining competitor in a deal that includes $850 million in cash. The company will keep five mines to help supply overseas demand and use the capital it’s freeing up to reinvest in exploration and production of shale gas.
“We’ve kept the jewels for our shareholders,” CEO J. Brett Harvey said. “It’s important for you to understand that.”
Harvey said Consol retained an advantage over drilling competitors by retaining what it considers its best coal assets. The five mines it will hold, including its Pennsylvania operations, can supply both electric and metals makers, allowing it to sell at the best price and get more money to keep growing gas production by 30 percent annually, Consol executives said.
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.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The amount of Marcellus Shale gas produced in Allegheny County more than doubled in the first half of 2012, with nine online wells concentrated in Frazer and Fawn producing more than 3.6 billion cubic feet of gas, according to new data released by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Even with the increase, the county still contributed a pittance to total statewide production figures.
Gas production across the state climbed from January to June, with 704 billion cubic feet of gas produced, up from the 630 billion cubic feet reported from July to December 2011.