Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update, 5/22/12

Earlier this month the Obama administration announced it will require companies drilling for oil and natural gas on public and Indian lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. This is important in states like Pennsylvania, large portions of which lie atop the gas-rich Marcellus Shale deposit. The new rules are now in a 60-day public comment period. They will also set guidelines on proper well building and disposal of the massive quantities of wastewater that accompanies the drilling process...As originally proposed, they called for drillers to file disclosure reports before drilling, but pressure from the gas industry that the measure would cause delays resulted in changes to allow disclosure after drilling operations are in place. They require reports of the substances, though not the exact formulas, a nod to industry concerns over trade secrets. Because drilling includes chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, all potentially dangerous to health, many drilling critics will be up in arms regardless of the exact formulas used in the fracking process. Numerous instances of water pollution have already been linked to drilling. And the disclosure rules don't apply to drilling on private land. So requiring that companies make this information available for their drilling activities on public lands will supply only a partial picture.
The Delaware Valley Marcellus Association (DVMA) has been formed by four leading organizations with deep roots in our area and who are actively participating in Marcellus Shale activity.
Duane Morris LLP, Gregory FCA, KPMG LLP and ModSpace are founding members of the DVMA, which is accepting applications for membership from other businesses in the Delaware Valley that recognize the opportunities that the responsible development of Marcellus Shale offers companies statewide, not just in Western or Northern Pennsylvania. The development that the DVMA hopes to spur could reach every sector of the economy--from manufacturing to education--and transform the Philadelphia region into a hub for inexpensive, clean, domestic energy and related goods and services.
The new association will hold its inaugural event on Tuesday, June 12 at the Union League of Philadelphia. The breakfast meeting, which begins at 8:00 a.m., will feature Penn State University Professor of Geosciences, Terry Engelder, Ph.D. Engelder, a leading authority on the Marcellus Shale, who was among the first professionals in the world to identify the immense reserves and energy opportunities Marcellus presents. He will lead an open-ended discussion concerning the development of gas from the Marcellus and how it impacts the broader Commonwealth, including businesses here in the Delaware Valley.
A Pennsylvania company plans to invest $380 million to expand natural gas pipelines in the state, and ultimately link to markets in New Jersey and New York.

Penn Virginia Resource Partners, L.P., of Radnor, said Monday that some of the expansions to its Lycoming County pipeline in central Pennsylvania will begin in the next two weeks and be finished later this year. Other parts of the project will continue through 2018.

CEO William H. Shea, Jr. said in a statement that the expansions are part of a long-term plan to help bring the bountiful gas production from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale to markets in the northeast and New England, where heating oil is used extensively.

Shea said the company has signed a 20-year distribution agreement with a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, as well as agreements with Southwestern Energy Co. and Range Resources Co. to extend an existing pipeline an additional 19 miles into Tioga County.
PVR, which has rapidly transformed itself from a coal company to a natural-gas pipeline company, said it has entered into long-term agreements to extend its Lycoming County system to collect and process gas from the wells of four gas drillers, including some of the biggest producers in northern Pennsylvania.
The company’s announcement comes only a few days after it closed on the $1 billion acquisition of Chief Gathering L.L.C.’s pipeline system, which it financed with private-equity funding and a new debt issuance.
The Chief acquisition will catapult PVR into the “midstream” business of gathering and processing natural gas, said William H. Shea Jr., chief executive officer of the company’s general partner, Penn Virginia Resource G.P. The acquisition doubled the value of the company.
As part of the National Science Foundation grant project “Marcellus Matters: Engaging Adults in Science and Energy,” 2012 Theatre M.F.A. alumni Timothy Riley and Josephine Wilson and Raymond Sage, associate professor in the Musical Theatre program, presented short plays about shale gas development written by faculty members Bill Doan and Susan Russell. Following the performances, Doan and Russell facilitated a conversation among the audience members while Penn State scientists provided technical information.

Beginning this fall, plays written by Doan, Russell, and Dean Barbara Korner will be presented again in Clearfield, which was selected because of the history of resource extraction—such as coal mining—in the area. The theme of the plays is “Living with Risk and Uncertainty,” and they were written using information gleaned from online message boards where Pennsylvania residents discuss Marcellus Shale issues. The plays’ content will evolve based on audience response.
New York City Comptroller John Liu, the city's fiscal watchdog, on Thursday urged shareholders of Chesapeake Energy Corp to withhold support for two directors up for re-election, citing the company's recent governance woes....
The New York City Funds have $122 billion in assets under management, including 1.9 million Chesapeake shares.
With natural gas prices slightly more than half of what they were a year ago and drilling rigs moving out of the state to more lucrative plays, the Marcellus Shale Coalition is touting job growth for Pennsylvanians.
At a rally on the Capitol steps Monday, the industry group attempted to counter two of the most persistent criticisms leveled at its jobs claims: that the jobs are temporary, nonunion work and too often go to out-of-state workers from places such as Texas and Oklahoma.
Workers with the Laborers’ International Union of North America provided Marcellus Shale Coalition President Katie Klaber a blaze-orange backdrop.
They cheered as their union’s legislative director, Abe Amoros, described the expansion of union job opportunities as a result of the shale boom.

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