Friday, May 4, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update 5/4/12

NW Pa. fracking firm lays off 40 over low prices

A northwestern Pennsylvania fracking operation has laid off 40 workers because low natural gas prices are slowing down drilling efforts.
Universal Well Services president Roger Willis tells the Bradford Era ( http://bit.ly/J3nARQ) he's hoping the layoffs are a short-term problem and that the company is looking for more work.
 U.S. readies proposal to clamp down on fracking
The Obama administration wants to clamp down on shale gas drilling on public lands and set standards that proponents of tougher regulation hope will provide a blueprint for drilling oversight nationwide.
Industry sources said the Interior Department could propose a new rule on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as early as Friday.
The measure would require natural gas drillers to disclose chemicals they use to frack wells, a controversial process that involves injecting water, sand and chemicals deep underground to extract fuel from rock formations.
Secretary Krancer Calls Delaware Officials “Dogs
 ...the Sec­re­tary jumped right in when a ques­tion came up about the DRBC’s cur­rent mora­to­rium on drilling in Wayne County.
Krancer said the gov­er­nor is at “his wit’s end” with the DRBC.
He also said the issues are “being dri­ven by the gov­er­nor of Delaware,” adding he is “not con­fi­dent the vot­ers of Delaware are going to make the right deci­sion” when choos­ing the next governor.
Krancer also was crit­i­cal of the fact the bulk of Delaware does not get its water from the Delaware River yet they are the dri­ving force behind the commission.
“Some­times they smell like the tail of a dog,” said Krancer of Delaware. “And it (the state) is shaped like a dog with a tail. This is the tail wag­ging the dog.”
Krancer recently told StateIm­pact Penn­syl­va­nia that Delaware’s oppo­si­tion to drilling is purely polit­i­cal, but never used the dog ref­er­ence.
Wastewater Becomes Issue in Debate on Gas Drilling
Vexed by declining revenue, officials of the Niagara Falls water utility seized on a new moneymaking idea last year: treat toxic waste from natural-gas drilling at its sewage-treatment plant once hydrofracking gets under way in New York State...Federal officials have warned that New York should not count on the disposal options that it now uses for salty wastewater from conventional gas wells, which produce far less waste than fracking. Most of the state’s conventional drilling waste stays in New York and is sent to sewage-treatment plants like one in Auburn, N.Y., near Syracuse or is used to de-ice roads or tamp down dust on them, state regulators said. The state also sends waste to privately owned treatment plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Pennsylvania farmers to speak with locals about fracking
Two farmers from Pennsylvania, Ron Gulla and Terry Greenwood, are traveling all the way to Southern Illinois to speak to local residents about their firsthand experiences with a type of natural gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
The controversial type of gas drilling is expected to begin in Saline and Wayne counties this year.
At the free presentations, Greenwood and Gulla will relate how fracking affected their farms and share their knowledge of what is happening in western Pennsylvania, including water contamination, property destruction, livestock deaths, health impacts on people and air and noise pollution, as a result of this type of gas drilling, according to a press release from the organization Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment.
Do Wyoming pronghorns give clues to PA wildlife's response to drilling?
As natural gas drilling activity continues to escalate in Pennsylvania -- as of April 27, the state had issued 10,675 Marcellus permits and 5,314 wells had been drilled -- the question remains as to what impact this industrial activity will have on the state's wildlife...
This week, the Wildlife Conservation Society highlighted a report that appeared in the March issue of the journal Biological Conservation. It documented "that intense development of the two largest natural gas fields in the continental U.S. are driving away some wildlife from their traditional wintering grounds," the WCS reported.
Over a period of five years, researchers tracked 125 female pronghorns via GPS collars in Wyoming's gas fields.  They found that the animals are being driven "to the periphery of areas historically classified as crucial winter ranges." They also found that the best-quality habitat for the pronghorns had declined by 82 percent.
National Fuel's earnings drop on lower natural gas prices
National Fuel said its profits plunged to $67.4 million, or 81 cents per share, from $115.6 million, or $1.38 per share, a year ago, when the company had a $31 million gain from the sale of its landfill gas business.
   Excluding that sale, as well as the $6.4 million impact during the current quarter from a new fee Pennsylvania is imposing on natural gas wells, National Fuel's operating profits fell by 12 percent and were in line with analyst forecasts. National Fuel's operating profits slid to $73.8 million, or 89 cents per share, from $84.2 million, or $1 per share, a year ago.

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