Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Penn. Marcellus News Update 6/12/12

State Seeks to Withhold Wastewater Treatment From Hydraulic Fracturing Sites
The state is moving to ban wastewater treatment plants in New Jersey from accepting waste from natural gas drilling operations, a move critics fear could harm drinking water supplies.
Legislation (S-253) unanimously cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee prohibiting the practice Thursday. It is the latest legislative initiative to try to limit hydraulic fracturing, a process in which millions of gallons of water are injected into wells to extract natural gas from shale formations in Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
None of the drilling has occurred in New Jersey, but that has hardly lessened opposition to the practice. Foes fear the drilling operations may threaten the drinking water supplies of 15 million people in the Delaware River Basin, including the more than 1 million in New Jersey who rely on the river for their potable water supplies.
Since 2007 Chesapeake Energy has been the most aggressive of promoters of shale gas development in the nation. Now with almost 5 years of Chesapeake’s claims and estimates slowly turning into real financials, things are far worse than the company ever imagined including the possibility of their running out of operating cash. Last week at its pressure packed shareholder’s meeting it declared, “Liquids Growth Will Provide The Liftoff” which means ‘wet oil infused shale gases as opposed to ‘dry shale gas’ drilling. This is leaving upset shareholders, puzzled government officials and skeptical landowners now scratching their heads in confusion.
Natural gas just like oil comes out of the ground in a variety of hydrocarbon mixes. It can be ‘dry’ as in not having any oil in it or ‘wet’ where by the gas contains varying amounts of oil particles and density which can be separated out to produce barrels of oil. With natural gas currently selling at $2.28 per million British thermal units (Btu), oil is selling at the significantly higher price of more than $90.00 a barrel. So wet gas is now where Chesapeake Energy is claiming to investors its growth and profits will come from.
Federal health and environmental agencies are investigating whether Range Resources Inc.'s Yeager Marcellus Shale gas drilling site in Washington County caused toxic air and groundwater pollution that damaged the health of nearby residents.
The Atlanta-based Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said this week it has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since March 2011 to assess health problems reported by residents living in a valley below Range's wastewater pond and a drill cuttings pit at the Amwell Township site.
Three of those families filed a personal injury lawsuit in Washington County Common Pleas Court last month alleging that their health was damaged and their risk of cancer increased due to exposure to toxic leaks, spills and air pollutants from Range's operations. Range has denied the charges.
A report from a new institute at the State University at Buffalo asserting that state oversight has made natural gas drilling safer is causing tumult on campus and beyond, with critics arguing that the institute is biased toward industry and could undercut the university’s reputation. 
The study, issued on May 15, said that state regulation in Pennsylvania had made drilling there far safer and that New York rules were even more likely to ensure safety once drilling gets under way in the state.
But a government watchdog group quickly raised questions about the study’s data and the authors’ ties to the oil and gas industry. And a newly formed group of professors and students is calling for a broader inquiry into the genesis of the institute, which issued the report only weeks after its creation was announced in April.
A federal court has rejected a bid by a coalition of environmental groups to stop the construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania's endless mountains.
A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says that federal energy regulators were right to approve the 39-mile MARC 1 pipeline through Bradford, Sullivan and Lycoming counties.
A midstate company is part of a state-sponsored delegation to the three-day Global Petroleum Show beginning today in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Philadelphia Mixing Solutions Ltd., based in Palmyra, Lebanon County, designs and sells fluid mixing equipment for a wide variety of applications. It is one of 12 companies showcased in the show's Pennsylvania Pavilion, put together by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

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