Monday, April 30, 2012

"Big Oil" tries a little responsibilty deflection...

Recently I was hit with a number of promotional tweets for Who Owns Big Oil, a marketing site that tells us that Big Oil is not owned primarily by executives and individual investors, but more by us regular Joes and Janes through pension plans, 401Ks etc. A little deflection going on here don’t you think? It’s no secret that many pension plans and other mutual funds invest in energy companies and they have a right to say so if they want. And any business has the right to promote itself. But what the marketers are doing is trying the implant in your mind that since you “own” oil companies through your pension plan, then any criticism against them and anything that limits their profits (such as taxes and subsidy rollbacks) is an attack on you personally and a threat to your retirement. It’s pretty disingenuous too to call you an owner, after all how much say in their operations do you think you have if you have if you’re one of these plans? And if you own a piece, why can’t you have a say through regulations passed by elected representatives? And do their lobbyists take your concerns into account when schmoozing our so-called elected reps?  Look, there’s a certain pizza place we frequent that has good food and service, that doesn’t mean I would demand that the township look the other way if they were dumping their garbage in the local park.

Penn. Marcellus News Update for 4/30/12

Anti-fracking group adds claims to surveillance suit
Opponents of hydraulic fracturing in Luzerne County can add defamation and conspiracy claims to their suit against the private surveillance company the government allegedly hired to watch them, a federal judge has ruled.
The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition filed suit in 2010 claiming the state's former director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency's Office of Homeland Security and the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response violated the First and 14th amendments when they watched the group.
Questions about Chesapeake Energy go beyond its chief executive’s dubious dealings. Aubrey McClendon’s personal stakes in oil and gas projects and the extent of related disclosure have put the $12 billion U.S. energy giant on the back foot and tied its board in knots. But investors should also be wary of the company’s monstrous complexity. It has convoluted off-balance sheet liabilities thanks to convoluted partnerships; hedging gains have dwarfed profit since 2006; and cash flow is consistently negative.
Residents, Area Leaders Battle to Protect Park Named for Army Vet
Sgt. Mark A. Rademacher Park, which is also known as Hunters Creek Park, was named in honor of U.S. Army Ranger Mark. Rademacher, who died in combat during the 1983 invasion of Grenada.
But now, at least according to some residents community leaders, that park named in his honor is in jeopardy due to a proposed National Fuel compressor station that slated to be build about one half mile from the park.
"This is not a problem just for Whales, this is an issue about disrespecting a memorial for a hero...for a combat veteran who served his country and gave his utmost," said fellow combat veteran and Republican candidate for the 27th Congressional District David Bellavia.
Opponents of the facility are afraid of the noise and air pollution that would result from the large engines that would power the station, poised to sit less than 3,000 feet from the wilderness park.
 Lawmaker wants to exempt Bucks County from Marcellus Shale law
State Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, hopes to calm those railing against Act 13 by amending the law to exempt counties without "unconventional" gas wells, which he says would keep local zoning control intact in southeastern Pennsylvania.
But Nockamixon solicitor Jordan Yeager said McIlhinney's proposed fix isn't so easy — he's unsure what unconventional means, or what type of well Turm Oil wants to build on Beaver Run Road. The company applied in February for a permit to drill and operate a well on a scrubby, 100-acre parcel owned by Cabot Corp. of Boston.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two oil and gas wells exist on the Cabot property, which was also a Superfund site. The township parried past drilling proposals with its own zoning restrictions barring oil and gas operations there.
Turm Oil's application is pending, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
McIlhinney hoped his amendment would sway Nockamixon and Yardley, a Bucks borough, to pull back from the lawsuit, but Yeager said that's not going to happen.
Record low water levels in the Susquehanna River Basin have forced a halt to water removal by natural gas drilling companies.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses a mixture of water and chemicals shot deep into the ground with massive force to fracture rock shale and release the natural gas contained inside. According to a report from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), the drought conditions of this spring have temporarily suspended 17 different water withdrawals, impacting 10 drilling companies in Bradford, Luzerne, Lycoming, Susquehanna and Tioga Counties.
Op-Ed: Hunters, anglers must lead charge to protect Pa. forests
By David Levdansky
I am a lifelong hunter and angler, and Pennsylvania’s state forest system has afforded me an extraordinary opportunity to hunt on public lands for grouse, squirrel, turkey, deer and bear, and it’s pristine creeks and streams have enabled me to fish for native wild trout. I love our beautiful state forest, its habitat and wildlife. But I fear that these hunting and fishing opportunities are in peril by a state government susceptible to “Marcellus madness” and that my sons (and grandsons) might never come to know the beauty, bounty and benefit of our marvelous state park and forest system.
Left High and Dry
The Energy Report Natural gas rig counts may have hit a ten year low but does that really mean that gas production will fall significantly enough to avoid a storage crisis? Reuters new reported that the number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States fell by 18 this week to 613, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.  Horizontal rigs -- the type most often used to extract oil or gas from shale -- fell by 16 to 1,139. Oil rigs fell by 9 to 1,328.

Yet the Energy Information Agency says that when it comes to gas if you are getting liquids you are less likely to cut back production. The EIA says that combined marketed natural gas production from the top five natural gas producing states Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Colorado actually increased by about 7.5% in 2011, although their share of total U.S. natural gas output fell slightly to about 65% they show that marketed natural gas production from these states in 2011 totaled 15.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).
Press Release: More Than 2,000 Truck Trips Already Removed from PA Roadways as New 18-Mile Water Pipeline Supplies Shale Drill Sites
Aqua America Inc. WTR +0.53% and Penn Virginia Resource Partners, L.P. PVR -0.26% ("PVR") today announced that a newly constructed private pipeline supplying fresh water to certain natural gas producers drilling in the Marcellus Shale in north-central Pennsylvania is now fully operational. It marks the first time water is being commercially supplied directly to drill sites in the Marcellus Shale without the public-highway use of heavy-weight 5,400-gallon tanker trucks customarily employed in well completions. In less than a month of operation, the pipeline has already eliminated more than 2,000 water truck trips over rural roadways.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update, 4/29/12

Pipeline project delayed
The Atlantic Access Pipeline Project, which when built will cross Somerset and Bedford counties on its path through southern Pennsylvania, will be ready for service in 2015, rather than the 2014 date announced late last year, a company spokesman said.

“This delay is a result of historically low natural gas prices,” said Christopher Stockton, spokesman for Transco, a division of Williams Co. Inc. of Houston. “Natural gas producers who are interested in moving gas on the pipeline have expressed to us that they would be better served by a 2015 in-service date rather than a 2014 service date.”
 Pennsylvania boom shows Ohio what might be ahead
The director of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce said he has never seen an economic boom like the one sweeping north-central Pennsylvania.
“I’ve been in good times and bad times, obviously. I’ve never seen anything that’s had the economic development impact this has and the job creation,” said Vincent Matteo, who has spent more than 30 years in development work. (emphasis added).
For the past few weeks, contractors have swarmed the natural gas well site next to the Bear Fuel service station on state Route 118 in Columbia County.
This time, they were filling instead of drilling.
Bear Fuel employee John Leshko was close enough that he could watch the contractors pulling up the pipes and well casing. On Wednesday, they covered the area where a drilling rig once stood with sheets of metal...
Geologists say the unproductive part of the Marcellus Shale extends beyond the coal region, where the high temperatures that hardened the anthracite "cooked" the natural gas out of the shale. The latest in a series of unproductive wells confirms experts' beliefs that producing natural gas in the region may be nothing more than a pipe dream.
Riches or ruins? Lessons from Barnett Shale (video)
They live on top of the Barnett Shale, a dense formation rich in natural gas that stretches beneath 5,000 square miles of 24 counties in North Central Texas. The Barnett Shale formation became the hottest play in the nation a decade ago. It's thought to be the largest natural gas field in the country.
Since then, the Greens have been living on top of what some see as a gold mine and others a curse. Money has rolled in, towns have been revitalized and the nation has seen natural gas reserves increase for the first time in 20 years. But some say the price is too high, citing health concerns, demolished roads, water contamination and depletion, and battles over property rights.
1. Range Resources...
2. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection...
3. Chesapeake Energy...
4. Marcellus Shale Coalition...
5. PennFuture...
6. Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association...
7. Pennsylvania Environmental Council...
8. Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension...
9. Cabot Oil & Gas...
10. Landowners groups...
For the 30-plus years that attorney Joseph Persico practiced real estate law, he saw little activity with oil and gas leases.
After the birth of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry, that has changed.
The Marcellus Shale boom has pushed attorneys throughout Northeast Pennsylvania to practice oil and gas law after years of specializing in other areas.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update for 4/28/12

Marcellus Group 'Raises Bar' with Fracking Conservation Guidelines
A group representing the natural gas industry in the Marcellus Shale issued its first recommendations on industry best practices in an effort improve its conservation ethic and deflect criticism that operators are damaging natural landscapes with wells, roads and compressor stations.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition's "recommended practices" are guidelines rather than requirements, and address site planning, development and restoration. Still-planned guidelines will focus on areas such as air quality and water management.
 Jackson Kelly continues expansion in energy
Continuing its expansion into the energy industry, Jackson Kelly has added attorneys from a Pennsylvania law firm and is in the process of opening a new office in Canton, Ohio, the firm announced April 27.
Effective May 1, four Gormly Gormly & Yuhas attorneys and staff will join Jackson Kelly and will relocate to the firm's Pittsburgh office upon completion of renovations.
 Top 5 producing states' combined marketed natural gas output rose in 2011
Combined marketed natural gas production from the top five natural gas producing states—Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Colorado—increased by about 7.5% in 2011, although their share of total U.S. natural gas output fell slightly to about 65%....Shale gas production from states such as Pennsylvania helped boost overall U.S. natural gas output by almost 8% in 2011.

Due primarily to drilling programs in the Marcellus shale formation, Pennsylvania's marketed natural gas production in 2011 more than doubled to nearly 1.3 Tcf, according to preliminary estimates from Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection.
 Clean water advocate lectures at final teach-in
The Dissent in America Teach-In series wrapped up another year Friday, April 20, with a visit from Brady Russell, director of Eastern Pennsylvania Clean Water Action. Russell led a compelling discussion on the controversial “fracking” process and its effect on Pennsylvania’s environment.
Fracking is a term, and controversy, that many have heard of but few understand. The recent surge in media and political attention has brought this gas-drilling process – and the problems it causes – center stage in heated political and environmental debates.
PennFuture Dissects Pennsylvania's Shale Gas Giveaway
Pennsylvania’s noxious new natural gas law, Act 13, has received a fair amount of press attention, much of it negative. In drafting the legislation, state lawmakers gave the shale gas industry everything it wanted, including the right to drill almost anywhere and full protection from local ordinances.
The law, which took effect April 14, contains many sordid provisions. To help people understand the new law, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, or PennFuture, has released a handy guide to all of the favors and loopholes for the gas companies that Act 13 provides. PennFuture, an environmental advocacy group that supports natural gas drilling as long as it is regulated properly, said the guide was “deliberately written to be as accessible as possible to all, primarily presented in a question-and-answer format.”
EPA administrator rejects official’s ‘crucifixion’ comments
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson distanced herself Friday from comments by a top agency official who told a Texas community two years ago that his approach to enforcement was to make an example of polluters the way Romans crucified people to quash rebellions.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, demanded that Jackson fire the official, regional administrator Alfredo Juan “Al” Armendariz. (emphasis added)
ALEC and ExxonMobil push loopholes in fracking chemical disclosure rules
One of the key contro­versies about fracking is the chemical makeup of the fluid that is pumped deep into the ground to break apart rock and release natural gas. Some companies have been reluctant to disclose what’s in their fracking fluid. Scien­tists and envi­ron­mental advo­cates argue that, without knowing its precise compo­sition, they can’t thor­oughly inves­tigate complaints of contamination....One apparent proponent of the trade secrets caveat? The American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC, a nonprofit group that brings together politi­cians and corpo­ra­tions to draft and promote conser­v­ative, business-friendly legis­lation. ALEC has been in the spot­light recently because of its support of contro­versial laws like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” provision.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly WTF: Oil, cover-ups and Nazis!

Occasionally when I search for oil, energy, climate etc. news I come across something really crazy that I havea true WTF moment.  So I figured that posting a Weekly WTF? would be a good way to lighten the mood at the end of a week discussing more serious matters. Plus there's the weak pun on the blog's name. So courtesy of The Oil Drum I present a story involving infinite oil supplies, government cover-ups, corporate manipulations… and Nazis.

The craziest thing is how this wacky fable flies in the face of both current issues in Pennsylvania and a big part of the commonwealth’s history.  So first a little background. The unconventional gas deposits of the Marcellus shale are not the only hydrocarbons found in Pennsylvania’s bedrock, the state has long been an important source of all types of fossil fuel.  Coal of course comes to mind, with the vast deposits of bituminous coal in the west and hard coal or anthracite in the east. But lest we forget, Pennsylvania was also the birthplace of America’s petroleum industry, with Drake’s well being drilled in Titusville in 1859. In fact, long before anyone thought of getting gas from the tight black shales of the Marcellus, conventional oil and gas reserves formed the basis of a thriving Pennsylvania petroleum boom (Quaker State Oil anyone?). 

Now take a look at the maps below of the geologic provinces, oil and gas areas, and coal deposits in the state:
Physiographic provinces of PA, Appalachian Plateau is sedimentary (click image for larger version)
Conventional oil and gas deposits (click image or link here for larger version)
Coal deposits (click image or link here for larger version)
With the exception of the eastern anthracite fields, what all these hydrocarbon resources have in common is their association with the western Appalachians, which are comprised of sedimentary rocks. This only makes sense, as fossils fuels are formed from biological remains (oil and NG from marine algae and coal from  woody plants) buried in the crust at just the right temperatures and pressures. And these remains would be preserved along with layers of sand silt,mud etc that become, you guessed it, sedimentary rock.  The anthracite fields are in sedimentary rocks that were later metamorphosed at higher temperatures, a process that converted the soft coals into high carbon hard coal.  At metamorphic Ts and Ps any oil and gas would have been thermally decomposed and destroyed.

Now what I just described is the biogenic explanation (or scientific theory) for the formation of fossil fuels and this explanation has been tested again repeatedly around the world and forms the basis of where companies explore for oil and gas.  But at one time there were alternate abiogenic hypotheses (untested explanations) that invoked hydrocarbon origins from inorganic sources deep in the crust or even the mantle. In the 20th century these hypotheses were pushed mainly by Soviet scientists and Austro-British contrarian astrophysicist Thomas Gold (who also thought the moon was covered by a soft fluffy powder that would swallow Apollo lunar landers).  These hypotheses have been thoroughly debunked, as summarized by Glasby in Resource Geology in 2006.  

But as is the cases in much of life, some cannot accept reality and prefer the more exciting drama-filled realm of alternate ideas “suppressed” by conspiracy.  And that’s where our inaugural Weekly WTF? comes in.  Thestory I picked up from the Oil Drum originated from that fount of insanity, World Net Daily*.  It seems that Jerome Corsi (yeah that guy) has written a book with the horrible-crazy title The Great Oil Conspiracy: How the U.S. Government Hid the Nazi Discovery of Abiotic Oil from the American People that “asks how did the dinosaurs that died and became part of those ‘fossil fuels’ get to be tens of thousands of feet under the surface? That’s just one of the many questions addressed in the book that takes many traditional beliefs about oil – it’s finite, it’s made through the process of various life forms dying and decaying, and others – and explains that they are just wrong. “  

Sooo... apparently hydrocarbons are produced in the mantle by a mechanism similar to the Fischer–Tropsch
similar to the one used by those wacky Nazis to make synthetic fuel, this much comes from others and not Corsi.  What Corsi does is take this abiogenic hypothesis and says that the Nazis discovered the "truth" of fossil fuel origins, the government discovered this from captured Nazi papers and they and the oil companies have been hiding the truth ever since. It follows from their logic that all the money and time spent on geologic research and exploration by surveys and oil companies has been just a sham to cover-up the truth about infinite supplies of cheap oil and gas that could be tapped almost anywhere. In other words, the distribution of fossil fuels in Pennsylvania has nothing to do with those tested geological relations I described and one could conceivably drill for oil in the Nottingham Serpentine Barrens in the highly metamorphosed rock here in Chester County.  There would also be no rationale for hydrofracking the Marcellus Shale, since that couldn’t be the source rock for natural gas. BTW I sincerely hope no anti-fracking activists fall for this nonsense based on that idea! Needless to say, they presented their "evidence" on the tinfoil hat fave Coast to Coast AM.  The fact that Corsi thinks the accepted explanation invokes mysteriously burying dinosaurs shows he knows as much about resource geology as I know about, I don't know, cricket (something to do with guys in white playing a very slow bat and ball game I think).

In the end, I wonder why they went with hydrocarbons for a source of abundant cheap energy that is being kept from us.  They could’ve skipped all the associated mess and pollution and just gone with simple, clean cold fusion.

*Just want to be clear, I’m not a regular reader of WND!

Penn. Marcellus News Update for 4/27/12

Law firm: Fracking Operation Decreases Safety of Roadways in Pennsylvania
Companies promising jobs to local workers are generally a good thing in this tough economy. Unfortunately, along with additional jobs, companies associated with the Marcellus Shale gas industry have also increased the presence of large trucks, negatively impacting the safety of Pennsylvania roadways.
Residents living near fracking sites have voiced concerns about the noise and potential for increased car accidents. Some are even concerned that the increased traffic will drive them out of the neighborhoods they hoped to grow in.
Sierra Club challenges Md. natural gas terminal
Virginia-based Dominion Resources Inc. is seeking to export 1 billion cubic feet per day through a terminal it owns in Maryland. A previous legal settlement dating to the 1970s gives the Sierra Club the ability to reject any significant changes to the purpose or footprint of the existing natural gas terminal in Cove Point, Md.
The environmental group says the export project could result in major damage to the Chesapeake Bay and nearby Calvert Cliffs State Park in Maryland.
 Pa.: fewer than 30 health complaints on drilling
The Pennsylvania Department of Health said this week that it has received fewer than 30 complaints over the last year from people who feel natural gas drilling has affected their health, but it's not clear how many came before that. Last June the agency head suggested it had already received several dozen.
 Industry Group Releases Suggestions For Natural Gas Development In Marcellus Shale
The Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade group of oil and gas companies, released Thursday operational suggestions it hopes will standardize how the oil and natural gas industry approaches future drilling operations. The suggestions come as the industry seeks to tap the vast resources of the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from Ohio to New York state, using means that include the controversial practice known as fracking.
Scott Township Shows Supports for Marcellus Shale Challenge
Scott Township commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday night showing symbolic support for the communities fighting the state’s new Marcellus Shale law.
Act 13, the natural gas drilling law that was passed earlier this year, removes local zoning control from communities and gives them less authority to push well pads away from schools, homes and hospitals.
 Shell reaching out to DEP early for cracker site
Shell is moving forward with its environmental evaluation of a Beaver County site for a possible cracker plant, engaging the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, according to Ron Schwartz, assistant regional director for the DEP’s southwestern district....
This is not the typical regulator-company relationship at this stage, Schwartz said. Usually, the DEP will get an application for a permit out of the blue and will go back and forth with the company in writing to come up with the proper plan.
There is much environmental work to be done on the 300 or so acre site, currently owned by Horsehead Corp. (Nasdaq: ZINC), which has a number of outstanding violations primarily related to air and water.
Range Resources shares rise on production spike
Range Resources stock gained $2.72, or 4.5 percent, to $62.88 in afternoon trading, with volume nearly three times normal.
The company cited falling prices for natural gas that sapped revenue, fees paid out for operations in Pennsylvania and a loss on a property sale for its results. But it also said production rose 20 percent from a year ago, to a quarterly record.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update, Apr. 26, 2012

A lot of business news on the feed today as the big player report their earnings last quarter. Plus where the most permits where issued,  a delay in Act 13 implementation and the relation between coal and gas extractors next door in West Virginia.

Range Resources lost $41.8 mill last quarter
Fort Worth-based Range Resources lost $41.8 million on revenue of $247 million in the first quarter as several one-time write-downs more than offset gains from higher revenue and lower unit costs...Range sold its Barnett Shale operations in April 2011. Its largest presence is now in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where it holds more than 1 million acres and gets about 70 percent of its production.
Consol Energy also down from 2011 1st quarter
CONSOL Energy Inc. CNX -3.91% , the leading diversified fuel producer in the Eastern United States, reported net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 of $97 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to $192 million, or $0.84 per diluted share from the year-earlier quarter. EBITDA(1), a non-GAAP financial measure, was $324 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. This compared to $466 million in the year-earlier quarter.
EQT also reports their earnings
EQT Corporation EQT +0.42% today announced first quarter 2012 earnings of $72.0 million, or $0.48 per diluted share. First quarter 2011 earnings were $122.3 million, or $0.82 per diluted share...
Highlights for the first quarter 2012 vs. first quarter 2011 include:
-- Production sales volumes were 26% higher;
-- Marcellus sales volumes were 68% higher;
-- Midstream gathered volumes were 21% higher; and
-- Filed with the SEC to form a Midstream Master Limited Partnership.
EQT's first quarter 2012 operating income was $153.3 million, representing a 30% decrease from the same quarter in 2011. Allowing for the non-recurring items, adjusted operating income was 11% lower than 2011.
Cabot Oil and Gas report their shale gas production
Late in the first quarter, Cabot commenced free-flowing Marcellus gas in the Zick area that represents a 7-mile step-out to the east from the nearest production.  The five wells averaged 78 million cubic feet (Mmcf) per day for the last 20 days...
Also in the Marcellus during the first quarter, a two-well pad site with longer laterals was completed resulting in a 30-day average production level of 40 Mmcf per day.  The wells were drilled with 4,500' and 5,000' laterals and completed with 19 and 21 frac stages, respectively.
 Bradford, Tioga,Washington, Lycoming and Green Counties all had >1000 permits for Marcellus drilling
The Business Times looked at state Department of Environmental Protection data on permits issued and permits issued in the past 12 months (April 10, 2011, to April 9, 2012). Five counties had more than 1,000 total permits:
  • Bradford (2,288)
  • Tioga (1,624)
  • Washington (1,171)
  • Lycoming (1,114)
  • Greene (1,045).
 Public Utility Commission Delays Act 13-Related Order
The par­tial impact fee injunc­tion issued by Com­mon­wealth Court this month did not apply to the fee itself — only por­tions of Act 13 restrict­ing munic­i­pal zon­ing. But “due to ambi­gu­ity” in the rul­ing the Pub­lic Util­ity Com­mis­sion is delay­ing its “final imple­men­ta­tion order.”

 Conflicts and cooperation between gas and coal in WV
Vast quantities of coal and, increasingly, natural gas are pulled out of West Virginia's ground every day. With business and profits at stake, it's not uncommon for conflict, cooperation and other forms of interplay between the two industries.
One common area of conflict is the northern region of West Virginia where both the valuable Pittsburgh coal seam and the Marcellus shale gas play lie in the same vertical plane. Typically the two industries work with each other to develop an area, said Ken Tawney, leader of the oil and gas group within the Jackson Kelly law firm.

Read more here:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

...3, 2, 1 LAUNCH

What this is about
I have to start this blog with a confession: the title does not reflect the entirety of what will be discussed.  The genesis of the blog was the periodic updates I would post on my personal blog regarding Marcellus Shale gas news in Pennsylvania.  As I delved deeper into the issue I of course found that much of the attention was on fracking and the title “What the Frack?” was too good to resist.  But what I intend to cover will extend beyond hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Play to cover all energy resources in Pa. and the business, economic, political, environmental and geological aspects of them.  

One thing I do not want to do is duplicate the efforts of others.  In addition to highlighted some of the news stories in my daily twitter feed I hope to provide more in depth analysis as well as background pieces on the local geology.  When posting my opinions you will know it is an op-ed and won’t be passed off as an objective article by a disinterested party.  Both here and in my twitter feed I’ll let you know when I feel something is an op-ed, regardless of the source or my sympathies. Those in the industry may not like the proportion of coverage dealing with environmental issues and anti-fracking activism but that is simply a reflection of news stories and public interest.  Anti-drilling folks eyes may glaze over when I post business stories, but it is a BIG industry economically and politically and who’s who is important to know.

I will be adding more features and resources as I go.

Why am I doing this
Consider a civic duty.  In 2005 I arrived in this area with a new PhD in geology to teach petrology and structural geology for an 18 month period at a local university.  This turned into a three year stint, alas it went no further as a full-time job as the department was not committed to permanently hiring hard-rock faculty anymore.  But I stayed in the area, doing adjunct work and consulting because I met my wife here and she has a good full-time job in the area. After settling in Pennsylvania I became aware of the development and controversies of the Marcellus Play shalegas and I began posting periodic roundups of Marcellus Shale news in my personal blog. Later I would tweet these updates.  Since this was the most read feature of my other blog I decided to create one dedicated to Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale News.  It has taken longer than I anticipated as I have become daddy day-care in the past year.  During the time I have learned more about the issues surrounding all energy resources in the state so as I stated before I will expand to cover those as well.  These issues affect all of us in Pennsylvania even if we are not in the energy resource areas because the impacts are intertwined with economy, politics and environment of the entire commonwealth.  So I've made it my goal to provide this news and other analysis to my fellow residents of the Keystone state.