Thursday, May 3, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update 5/3/12

Water quality near Sanford tested before 'fracking' starts
Water-quality experts are testing people's wells in Lee County to create a baseline that will help state regulators measure the environmental impact of natural gas drilling.
Teams from the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science Center are fanning out across the county to assess the best places to test the groundwater. About 150 area homeowners have asked the USGS to test their wells, but officials said locations will be chosen based on scientific criteria. (OK it's NC not PA, but it is a good idea that should be applied everywhere, E.K)
Rep. Santarsiero Takes Aim at Marcellus Shale Law
Pennsylvania House Democrats, including Newtown’s Rep. Steve Santarsiero, have launched an effort to fix what they believe is a flawed and industry-friendly Marcellus Shale Law.
The Democrats this week unveiled their Marcellus Compact, a six-point plan to counter the state’s new Marcellus Shale Law, which regulates natural gas drilling.
Op-Ed: Silence isn't golden for fracking fears
It's hard to feel good about hydraulic fracturing, unless one happens to be an employee of a driller, an executive of same or a lobbyist or researcher bought and paid for to advance the interests of the industry.
One might presume that landowners on whose properties wells are drilled might also be within that fraternity of those positive about fracking, but a CNN story this week brings that seriously into question.
All of us might feel better if the industry wasn't so cloaked in secrecy. The chemicals used in the fracking process are closely guarded, though the industry proclaims full disclosure. No, there's more unknown than known, and it's not a good feeling.
And reporting of violations is grossly limited, even to the point, CNN found, that property owners most likely won't even be told if a violation occurs on their land.
Local Airport relies on Marcellus Shale industry
The Marcellus Shale industry is adding jobs all across Pennsylvania. It's workers are also stimulating the local economy, specifically for businesses. 

Alan McPherson, the manager at the St.Mary's Municipal Airport, told 6 News that they rely on the industry.

"Marcellus Shale, there is a lot of that going on. They are just moving into this area so we support them and their efforts, which in turn supports the whole community," said McPherson.  
Possible drilling raises concern
Residents on the Blair/Cambria county border around the village of Coupon say they have concerns about a developing effort to begin Marcellus Shale drilling in Logan Township.
The residents, who get their water from private wells, say they want their neighbors to know about the drill site and they want to know more about what's going to happen.
"We're not necessarily opposed to it," Gallitzin Township resident Wayne Nelms of 146 High Meadow Lane said. "It's just how they're doing it in such a clandestine way."
Aqua America Reports Earnings for the First Quarter
Aqua America, Inc. WTR -0.32% today reported results for the quarter ending March 31, 2012. Revenues for the quarter were $170.2 million compared to $163.6 million for the same period of 2011, an increase of 4 percent. Net income for the quarter rose to $37.9 million from $30.4 million in 2011, an increase of 25 percent. Corresponding diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.27, compared to $0.22 for the same quarter in 2011, an increase of 23 percent, on less than one percent more shares outstanding...
In late 2011, Aqua America entered into a joint venture of certain Aqua America and Penn Virginia operating subsidiaries, to form Aqua -- PVR Water Services, LLC. During the second quarter of 2012, Phase 1 of the joint venture's water pipeline project became operational. The newly constructed 18-mile private pipeline is now supplying fresh water daily needed by certain natural gas producers drilling in the Marcellus Shale region of north-central Pennsylvania. By the end of 2012, Phase II of the project is scheduled to be completed and will increase supply by 3 million gallons per day. This water supply pipeline has already effectively eliminated the need for more than 2,000 truck trips from Pennsylvania roads and bridges.
Ultra Petroleum Reports First Quarter 2012 Financial And Operating Results, Board Of Directors Approve $100.0 Million Capital Investment Program Reduction
Ultra Petroleum Corp. UPL +2.56% continued to deliver strong financial and operating performance for the first quarter of 2012. Highlights for the quarter include:
Operating cash flow(1) of $185.7 million, or $1.21 per diluted share, for the first quarter 2012
Earnings of $49.6 million in the first quarter, or $0.32 per diluted share - adjusted(3)
Produced record volumes of 68.8 Bcfe in the first quarter of 2011...
Pennsylvania - Operational Highlights
Ultra and its partners drilled 36 gross (15 net) horizontal Marcellus wells during the first quarter of 2012. In addition, 3 gross (1.5 net) horizontal wells were drilled in the Geneseo, a slightly shallower formation above the Marcellus. Also, the company and its partners initiated production from 39 gross (16 net) new horizontal Marcellus wells during the first quarter, maintaining a flat inventory of wells waiting on completion or pipeline connection. On a sequential basis, Ultra's daily average net production increased 32 percent to 197 MMcfe per day, as compared to 149 MMcfe per day in the fourth quarter of 2011. Year-over-year, Ultra's first quarter Marcellus production grew 114 percent.
Ultra Petroleum achieved a new Pennsylvania net production record of 223 MMcfe per day, a 19 percent increase over the previous record of 188 MMcfe per day established in the fourth quarter 2011. Furthermore, the company's new record is double the peak daily production rate of 110 MMcfe per day achieved during the first quarter 2011.
Private Equity Activity in U.S. Oil & Gas Industry Hits Highest Levels in at Least 20 Years During First Quarter 2012, According to PwC US
Private equity ('PE') interest in the U.S. oil and gas industry marked at least a 20-year high during the first quarter of 2012, as the volume of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) reached 11 transactions, which had a total deal value of $11.5 billion, a 120 percent increase in activity when compared to the same period in 2011, according to PwC US.(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100917/NY66894LOGO)
For the three month period ending March 31, 2012, there were a total of 44 oil and gas deals with values greater than $50 million, accounting for $34 billion in deal value, which was essentially unchanged from the 45 deals representing $34.6 billion during the same period last year. However, there was a small uptick in first quarter average deal size in 2012 to $773 million from $768 million during the first quarter of 2011, driven by nine 'mega' deals (deals with values of $1 billion or more).

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