Sunday, June 24, 2018

Report: US Oil Drillers Cut Rigs For First Time In 12 Weeks

U.S. energy companies this week cut one oil rig, the first reduction in 12 weeks, after drillers started to slow down the rate of additions this month as pipeline constraints put a damper on future production. The total oil rig count dipped to 862 in the week to June 22, Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHGE), the energy services firm of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), said in its closely followed report on June 22. That put the rig count on track for its smallest monthly gain since declining by two rigs in March with just three rigs added so far in June.

Times Up, Governor Cuomo: You Said You’d Revisit Fracking After Studies

VicFurman-423x512.jpgVictor Furman
Upstate New York Landowner Shale Gas Activist


Governor Cuomo, in 2014, said he’d revisit his fracking decision if the data later showed fracking was safe. There are now several such studies. It’s time.

Governor Cuomo, on December 17,  2014, following a second-term election victory, made his infamous fracking decision with a view to burnishing his radical credentials. Being Governor Cuomo, though, he wanted a way out later if needed. He promised, therefore, to revisit the fracking issue on behalf of New York should science come out in support of the safety of fracking for purposes of developing our state’s natural gas resources. Well, Governor Gumby, that time has come and is past due.

Let us not forget that crazy day in 2014 when Governor Cuomo’s new Commissioner of Health (the previous one having been too honest), Dr. Howard Zucker, gave his infamous “I wouldn’t want my children…” speech. You can watch it here:

Zucker, of course, has no wife or children and his sickening attempt to suggest he did shows how far he was willing to go to please his new boss.

The decision was a purely political one not based on science, but, rather on junk science and on propaganda bought and paid for by anti-gas activists. It was based on fake peer reviewed papers submitted and reviewed by the likes of anti-gas activist Sandra Steingraber. It was decided through lobbying by rich elites, Hollywood showboat activists, and a Governor Cuomo whose economic insight vision is something on the order of a blind bat. It was made by an administration that knew full well, as they made it, that other states allowing the use of fracking would not only grow, but also be called upon to supply natural gas to New York.

But that was then and now we have even more data showing fracking is safe, starting with the EPA study:

The study requested by Congress found that while fracking has not led to “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources,” there are potential dangers to some people’s drinking water.

Note that “potential dangers” referred to the possibilities of accidents such as spills and not the process of hydraulic fracturing itself. That just doesn’t happen and when the EPA talked about fracking it broadened the definition to include methane migration incidents that are not only associated with drilling rather than fracking but also happen in drilling geothermal and water wells. Remember the fire at Owego?


The EPA study was, in fact, offers major support for the conclusion fracking is safe, which is why anti-gas activists never cite it. Learn more by going here.

And, here’s what Townhall said about a recent peer reviewed Duke University study about groundwater impacts:

We have another study from Duke University that shows groundwater isn’t being polluted by fracking, despite the cries from the environmentalists that the process, which is used to tap into natural gas resources. It’s been the crux of their narrative against this sector of the economy that’s rapidly growing throughout the country. The study was three years in the making, peer reviewed, and was recently published in the European journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

There’s still more good news from the USGS:

A new U.S. Geological Survey study shows that unconventional oil and gas production in some areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas is not currently a significant source of methane or benzene to drinking water wells. These production areas include the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, and Haynesville shale formations, which are some of the largest sources of natural gas in the country and have trillions of cubic feet of gas.

This is the first study of these areas to systematically determine the presence of benzene and methane in drinking water wells near unconventional oil and gas production areas in relation to the age of the groundwater. Methane and benzene, produced by many unconventional oil and gas wells, have various human health implications when present in high concentrations in drinking water.

The USGS has pioneered the ability to determine the age of groundwater. “Understanding the occurrence of methane and benzene in groundwater in the context of groundwater age is useful because it allows us to assess whether the hydrocarbons were from surface or subsurface sources. The ages indicate groundwater moves relatively slowly in these aquifers. Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production activities on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water,” said Peter McMahon, USGS hydrologist and study lead.

The USGS examined 116 domestic and public-supply wells in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas that were located as close as 360 feet to unconventional oil and gas wells. Methane was detected in 91 percent of the wells and, of those, 90 percent had methane concentrations lower than the threshold of 10 milligrams per liter. The Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement proposed this threshold for the purposes of protection from explosive risk. Most of the methane detected in groundwater was from naturally occurring microbial sources at shallow depths rather than deep shale gas.

Still more recently, yet additional studies saying fracking does not harm drinking water have come from Penn State University and Yale University. The former looked at Bradford County and the latter concentrated its efforts on Susquehanna County, both right there on the New York State border. The Penn State researchers had this to say:

“Unlike previous studies, our findings show that groundwater quality might even be improving in an area heavily exploited for shale gas — northeastern Bradford,” said Tao Wen, a post-doctoral scholar in Penn State’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute and lead author on the paper.

Energy In Depth summarized the Yale University study here and found this:

A new peer-reviewed study from Yale University concludes that fracking is not a major threat to groundwater. This is the third study in five weeks based on water analyses in the Appalachian Basin to reach such conclusions, and is the latest of more than two dozen studies with similar results across America’s major shale plays. As the Associated Pressreported Monday,

“The results suggest that, as a whole, groundwater supplies appear to have held their own against the energy industry’s exploitation of the Marcellus Shale, a rock layer more than a mile underground that holds the nation’s largest reservoir of natural gas.”

The Yale study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, analyzed eight monitoring wells located in a 25-km area in Susquehanna County, Pa., over a two-year period before, during and after seven shale gas wells were drilled, hydraulically fractured, and brought into production. The researchers concluded, “Collectively, our observations suggest that  was an unlikely source of methane in our valley wells.” (emphasis added)

IPPA sums it nicely:

Is fracking a threat to public health?

No. In fact, there is ample evidence that increased natural gas use — made possible by fracking — has improved public health by dramatically improving air quality in recent years. This is not to say there are no risks, but the full body of research on this issue shows that those risks are manageable.

Several state departments of environmental protection have also installed air monitors at well sites and found that emissions during oil and natural gas development do not exceed public health thresholds. For example, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment released a 2017 report that found a “low risk of harmful health effects from combined exposure to all substances during oil and gas development.” In contrast, many of the most headline-grabbing studies linking fracking to health issues have been plagued by questionable methodologies and contradictory results. Visit for more information.

Does fracking threaten groundwater?

No. And, you don’t have to take our word for it. No fewer than two dozen scientific studies have concluded that fracking does not pose a major threat to groundwater. Most notably, a landmark 2016 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study concluded that, “ydraulic fracturing operations are unlikely to generate sufficient pressure to drive fluids into shallow drinking water zones.” The EPA reached this conclusion even after expanding the definition of fracking to include a wide range of other oilfield activities, demonstrating the safety of the entire development process.

It was easy finding university and other governmental studies documenting the safety of fracking, but in the process of searching I came across many supposed studies from anti-gas organizations that, open a superficial basis, read impressively until I looked at the sources and the reviewers. They tend to all be the same people and quote and review each other.

One must understand the difference between activism and science to decipher the difference between the two. I recall, for instance, listening to an anti-gas activist tell Fenton Town Board members here in New York that he was a scientist in the study of natural gas when in fact he was just an another misinformed member of the fractivist movement who collected talking points but was so full of energy that if were electricity, he could power the world. Call it anti-energy. Unfortunately, the voices of such are the only ones Governor Cuomo wanted to hear in 2014. But, that was then, and now the evidence is overwhelming that Governor Cuomo was wrong, Zucker was suckered and Joe Martens was simply a short-term assignment to implement the will of the NRDC.

Time’s up, Governor Cuomo. What are you going to do? When will real science and reason be allowed prevail over your politics?

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

USGS Report Shows Oil, Gas Richness Of Eagle Ford

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has deemed the Eagle Ford abundant in both oil and gas, estimating undiscovered, technically recoverable resources in the region at about 8.5 billion barrels (Bbbl) of oil, 66 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas and 1.9 Bbbl of NGL. In a report released June 22, the USGS said the Eagle Ford contains one of the most prolific continuous accumulations of oil and gas in the U.S. The USGS described the Eagle Ford’s composition as mostly mudstone and calcareous mudstone (marl) with organic-rich intervals, deposited in outer shelf and upper slope environments during the Cenomanian–Turonian ages. “This assessment is a bit different than previous ones because it ranks in the top five of assessments we’ve done of continuous resources for both oil and gas,” USGS scientist Kate Whidden, lead author for the assessment, said in a statement about the report. “Usually, formations produce primarily oil or gas, but the Eagle Ford is rich in both.”

Natural Gas NOW Picks of the Week – June 23, 2018

Tom.jpg?resize=75%2C95Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Natural Gas NOW readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy. As usual, emphasis is added.

How Is It “The Only State with No Severance Tax” Generates $1.5 Billion?

Pennsylvania State Rep. Jonathan Fritz just announced more than $16,058,972 in impact fees from the natural gas industry will be disbursed to his district’s counties. He also points out Susquehanna County will the bulk of the money and Wayne County, “because of the prohibition on natural gas drilling, will receive a much smaller amount.” That is the key point, but there’s also the direct contradiction of Gov. Tom Wolf’s false claim the Commonwealth is the only gas-producing state without a severance tax.

Under Act 13 of 2012, impact fees are generated by the extraction of natural gas with a portion of those fees being directed back to the communities that host natural gas development.

For 2017, total impact fee collections topped $209 million, which will be disbursed across the Commonwealth. Since 2012, impact fee revenues have totaled $1.5 billion, and the statewide figures for 2017 represent a 21 percent increase over the previous year’s distribution dollars.


“Susquehanna County is the second-largest county producer of natural gas in the state, with 1,386 wells,” said Fritz. “Because the county has such high production, it receives substantial revenue in the way of impact fees. Wayne County, comparatively, receives a very small amount of restricted-use funds.

Impact fee revenues for 2017 resulted in Susquehanna County and its eligible municipalities receiving over $16 million dollars while Wayne County received $45,162

“The $209 million in impact fees collected statewide in Pennsylvania for 2017 is more than the drilling taxes collected by West Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas and Colorado combined” said Fritz. “This clearly highlights why Pennsylvania does not need to place an additional severance tax on the industry. The economy is improving and impact fee collections are up; we need to help, not hinder, business growth in our state. Additional taxes are not the way to economic prosperity.”


A “Bridge” Too Far For Anti-Pipeline Movement In New Hampshire?

Renewables are chosen by consumers over oil and gas when they suppose someone else is paying the extra costs involved, but when those extra costs can’t be shielded and must be paid by consumers from their own wallets, it’s a different story. That story is told very nicely in this new must-read piece from the NH Journal by Michael Graham. Here are a few excerpts that will, I hope, tease you into reading the whole thing, because it’s worth it:

In May, all but two members of the New Hampshire state Senate—including all 10 Democrats–endorsed Liberty Utilities’ “Granite Bridge” pipeline project…

Though it’s years away from final approval, the broad, bipartisan support for Granite Bridge stands in stark contrast to the reaction to most of the energy infrastructure projects in the past few months…

It is also a cautionary tale for Green-action groups, showing how they can find themselves fighting alone out on the political fringe

“During the two weeks of Arctic cold , New England generators burned through about 2 million barrels of oil. That’s about 84 million gallons. That’s more than twice as much as all the oil used by New England power plants during the entire year of 2016,” according to ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie. Even worse, during that cold snap, energy from coal or oil shot up from about 2 percent of New England’s grid total to 33 percent.


All this is bad news for climate activists and energy customers. How can New Hampshire, which has committed to reducing its carbon footprint even as the state’s economy continues to grow, turn this around and still meet its energy needs? One potential solution is natural gas…

How did New England become America’s energy-grid basket case? “Political obstacles driven by environmental groups,”

The strategy is simple: Oppose any expansion of the carbon-energy infrastructure and force New Hampshire to expand renewable energy to meet future needs.

‘I oppose any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure,” Martin says. “If we want to transition away from fossil fuels, we need to stop expanding its usage as a first step. If you know there’s a stop sign coming up, do you step on the gas and then brake hard at the last moment?”

The reality is that New Hampshire businesses and homeowners aren’t going to sit in dark, unelectrified buildings and wait for wind and solar technology to catch up with current demand. The lights are going to come on, the stoves are going to be lit.  Opposing smart pipeline projects won’t stop that from happening. It just means the natural gas will get to New England in dumb ways…

Like tanker ships from Russia.

Wow! Graham puts it all together. His inclusion of the quotes from enviro groups only emphasizes the point; they don’t care a whit about the costs or the implications of their policies on others because they’re typically insulated from them by the fact they’re trust-funders or otherwise well off. They’re determined to impose their will regardless of impact because they’re true believers looking for the rewards of peer approval or perhaps investments in renewables. Meanwhile, reality is interceding and New Hampshire Governor Sununu has vetoed more solar subsidies. There’s hope for the Granite State!

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network Says It Doesn’t Lobby

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) is an incorporated 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity, the activities of which, and donations to, are both tax-exempt, in contrast to a 501(c)(4) political organizations where only the former is true. Lobbying, either of the direct type or the “grass-roots” sort, is strictly limited by law. Grass-roots lobbying is defined by the IRS as follows:

Grass roots lobbying refers to attempts to influence legislation by attempting to affect the opinion of the public with respect to the legislation and encouraging the audience to take action with respect to the legislation.

Here is an excerpt from DRN’s latest (2016) return filed with the IRS, where it indicates it’s doing zero grass-roots lobbying:


Yes, they claim to have spent absolutely nothing on grass-roots lobbying and only $89 on direct lobbying in 2016. Yet, here is one of DRN’s most recent Facebook posts asking the public to rise up and oppose Senator Lisa Baker’s legislation to require compensation for landowners if a DRBC fracking ban is enacted:


So, this Facebook post didn’t cost anything? Of course it did. It cost, at a minimum, time on the part of some staffer to put it up. It may also have been advertised. There’s no doubt the Delaware Riverkeeper is doing grass-roots lobbying. It’s time to write your Congressman and ask for an investigation.

The post Natural Gas NOW Picks of the Week – June 23, 2018 appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

Friday, June 22, 2018

FREE Audio: MDN Top 5 Stories for Week of June 18, 2018

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Marcellus Shale Coalition Puts DRBC on Notice the Evidence Is Against It

Tom.jpg?resize=75%2C95Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


The Marcellus Shale Coalition has twice told the DRBC its fracking ban is foolish but yesterday wrote a critical letter showing the evidence is against it.

Dave Spigelmyer is a stand-up guy and he’s on our side. His organization delivered a compelling sets of legal arguments against the DRBC’s proposed fracking ban in its written testimony. Dave then appeared at the House State Government Committee to support landowners and drive home the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s position. Now, he’s written to the DRBC to tell them the physical evidence is also stacked against their foolish political maneuver.


Two commissions with the same governing majority and no excuse for not knowing natural gas development and fracking is safe.

Here’s the text of the letter Dave just sent to the DRBC (emphasis added):

The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) was formed in 2008 and is comprised of approximately 220 natural gas producing, midstream, transmission, and supply chain members who are fully committed to working with local, county, state, and federal government officials and regulators, to facilitate the development of the natural gas resources in the Marcellus, Utica, and related geological formations. Our members represent many of the largest and most active companies in the natural gas industry, as well as the suppliers and contractors who work with the industry.

On March 29, 2018, the MSC submitted comprehensive comments to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) on the above-referenced proposed rulemaking. Since this submittal, two noteworthy academic studies have been released, each independently finding little-to-no impact on groundwater resulting from natural gas development. On May 22, 2018, researchers with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania released a study entitled, “Big Groundwater Data Sets Reveal Possible Rare Contamination Amid Otherwise Improved Water Quality for Some Analytes in a Region of Marcellus Shale Development.” This study examined naturally-occurring levels of methane in the Marcellus Shale area, reviewed over 11,000 groundwater samples throughout the Marcellus Shale region, and documented improved groundwater quality in rural areas that have seen significant unconventional shale gas activity. A copy of this study is enclosed.

Additionally, on June 13, 2018 researchers with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut released a study entitled, “Methane in groundwater before, during and after hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale.” This study sampled nearby water well supplies before, during and after unconventional natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and attributed any rising levels of methane to natural variability, not to shale-related activities. Researchers determined that natural variability is “potentially a lot greater than previously understood.” A copy of this study is enclosed.

The MSC and its member companies believe it is incumbent upon the DRBC to take note of these studies, their findings, and to consider this information in its deliberations and decision-making concerning the above-referenced proposed rulemaking.

Thank you for your attention in this matter. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The original letter, together with enclosed studies and footnotes, may be found here. The significance of this letter is that it comes from the Marcellus Shale Coalition and can’t be ignored. If it came from me or most others readers, it would be dismissed as late testimony, but the MSC is too big and too important to ignore. The Commission members will learn of it and realize it confirms exactly what the SRBC studies have shown with respect to surface water quality, namely, this:


What the SRBC water quality studies show and the DRBC has ignored, despite have the same governing majority of members.

What’s also interesting is that minority members of the House State Government Committee, when confronted with the SRBC reality, tried to dismiss it with a Delaware Riverkeeper talking point, arguing that a subsequent USGS study had somehow debunked this claim. What the USGS actually said, as all academic studies do, is that more study (and, not coincidentally, more money for academia) was needed, particularly of groundwater. Well, as Dave Spigelmyer says, now they have it.

The post Marcellus Shale Coalition Puts DRBC on Notice the Evidence Is Against It appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

OPEC Announces Agreement

OPEC announced this afternoon its members will target 100% compliance with its 1.2 million barrels per day (MMBPD) reduction agreement -- actually increasing daily production by 600,000 Bbls, since the cartel chopped an extra 600,000 BPD in May, Kallanish Energy reports. The 14-member group analyzed oil market developments since the organization's last meeting in Vienna at the end of November, and reviewed the outlook for the remainder of 2018, during its 174th OPEC conference, after a week of speculation a deal would be reached at all. “The oil market situation has further improved over the past six months, with the global economy remaining strong, oil demand relatively robust, albeit with some uncertainties, and with market rebalancing evidently continuing,” said OPEC President Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, at a Friday afternoon press conference. A collective agreement was indeed doubtful given Iran’s voiced opposition to OPEC’s proposal to boost oil output by 1 million barrels per day (MMBPD) beginning in July. After Iran softened its stance, a deal was reached, but the market is waiting on specifics. The secretive announcement doesn’t say how much production will be raised by, nor sets individual allocations to each member. Al Mazrouei said the issue of overcompliance has been resolved with this decision to continue the agreement till year-end, maintaining the compliance level at 100%. He avoided placing a number on the approved increase and told the press to make their own calculations, while giving them his assurance “there will be no negative surprises” and that each country will comply appropriately. The member countries went home without an official quota/allocation of how much they could produce, with Al Mazrouei suggesting it's “challenging” to work on individual basis The joint monitoring committee will continue to do its job and ensure production is capped at 1.2 MMBPD from OPEC. The non-OPEC participants will decide tomorrow how much of their 600,000 BPD cut will be maintained. The release of the barrels will be done by those members who have spare capacity such as Saudi Arabia, with 2 MMBPD of excess capacity. Production will also be met by OPEC's newest member, the Congo. Joseph F. Barone 610.764.1232