Posts Tagged ‘marcellus shale’

Is Shale Gas Included in Mineral Rights?

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Interesting court case in PA on mineral rights and shale gas in the Marcellus field: . What if the drillers really don’t own the mineral rights?

Evisors: Enlist my expertise

Natural Gas Subcommittee Issues Interim Report

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

On August 11,  the Natural Gas Subcommittee issued its 90-day interim report of “Improving the Safety & Environmental Performance of Hydraulic Fracturing.”  The Subcommittee’s 180-day final report is expected on November 18, 2011. There is still time to comment.

I have not read the report yet. If there is interest, I may do so and post my analysis here. Anybody is welcome to provide their opinions and analyses on this blog either before or after I do so. I stand ready to assist clients file formal comments with DOE or understand the economic and policy implications of this report.


Disaster Averted in Marcellus Shale

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

On the evening of May 3, there was a gas well blowout in Penfield, PA: “Details about the accident were still sketchy, but the agency was told that unexpectedly high gas pressure in the new well prevented the crew from containing it, said Dan Spadoni, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection.”  It took 16 hours to get the well under control. According to the article, polluted water (most likely containing fracking chemicals)  spewed 75 feet into the air.

We have been told by the industry that no federal regulation is needed, the water supply is safe, only a poorly drilled pipe could put hazardous chemicals into the water supply and the chances of this happening are between slim and none. They say that if the EPA regulates these fracking chemicals, it will be the end of civilization as we know it, and nobody will be able to make a decent living drilling for shale gas.  You know the lobbyist and interest group gloom and doom drill.

The country can use its shale gas.  Landowners can use the royalties, drilling companies can use the profits, drilling crews can use the work.  But do we want more Deepwater Horizon disasters on a smaller scale?  What if the escaping methane had exploded?  What if the blowout preventer had failed? Was there a Plan B?  Is the current petroleum engineering model based upon “Safety 3rd?”  We need to know.

There is some risk to humans and the environment from any form of energy production.  There is no sense pretending we can make the world completely safe.  Fracking of oil wells was once done with nitroglycerin torpedoes. People died.  The abandoned Pithole City, PA serves as a monument to environmental and human degradation in the rush to extract valuable substances from the earth. These things are mostly out of sight and out of mind. And we have improved our methods of resource extraction over time.

However, the companies that produce our energy are dropping the ball these days.  In this case, the PA Department of Environmental Protection was not even called for 5 hours. Do you think there might be some angry regulators down in Harrisburg? My limited knowledge of PA DEP leads me to have more respect for this agency than the US Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service. But I do not know if the agency has been affected by state budget cuts or if they have the resources to keep up with the Marcellus drilling frenzy.

As it has been said, we are all downstream.  The public needs to get involved.


The Marcellus Shale Formation Is Grabbing Attention

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Click here to visit Powell's Books!

National Public Radio had a three-part series on natural gas in the US last week (“Rediscovering Natural Gas By Hitting Rock Bottom,”  You can read the transcript or listen.  It focuses on the deep gas in shale formations,  particularly the Marcellus field, but also does a good job of explaining the gas industry and its lack of clout in Washington.  Within the confines of a 20 minute presentation, that is.