Source: Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), October 7, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
Ohio regulators will soon approve and permit large, exposed centralized impoundments that hold fracking flowback water.
These are used widely by oil and gas companies in other states to recycle the waste and serve multiple wells near one another .
The impoundments, or pits, which sometimes exceed the size of a football field and can hold millions of gallons of water, are now banned in Ohio.
But they’ve proved a useful asset to companies operating in other states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The impoundments serve as water-transfer stations for multiple wells nearby, greatly reducing the amount of truck traffic and the water necessary to drill and frack those wells.
Existing Ohio regulations permit use of lined impoundments that hold freshwater for drilling. Flowback, or fracking wastewater, however, must be stored above ground in covered steel tanks before disposal or reuse.
But effective Jan. 1, the centralized impoundment pools will be authorized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as part of a regulatory change state legislators made in the biennial budget bill signed in June.
Changes to the law likely came after input from the industry. Operators consider centralized impoundments a key to further developing the Utica Shale play.…
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 31, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
The question of fracking the shale layers above and below the Marcellus has transitioned from an “if” to a “when” for many oil and gas operators in Pennsylvania. On that, they agree; how to do it is another story.
In recent discussions with analysts, executives at three of southwestern Pennsylvania’s largest oil and gas firms shared contrasting views about what they believe happens when two wells are fracked on top of each other.
They were talking about their companies’ experiments with the Upper Devonian formation, which is a group of shales that lies only a few hundred feet above the Marcellus.
Downtown-based EQT Corp. has changed its strategy after monitoring four Upper Devonian wells for a few years. Rather than drill Marcellus wells now and come back for the Upper Devonian bounty later, the company decided to drill more of these shallower shale wells at the same time as the Marcellus ones.
Their Upper Devonian wells aren’t the most stellar in terms of gas production, executives said, but it makes sense in the context of an already constructed well pad and paved access road, with all the necessary equipment already on site, to toss another horizontal spoke into the ground.
Philip Conti, EQT’s CFO, told investors that waiting too long after the Marcellus is fracked before tapping the Upper Devonian could deplete the shallower formation or cause interference between the two.…
Source: http://stateimpact.npr.org, March 18, 2013
By: Susan Phillips
Pipeline expansions serving the Marcellus Shale gas boom have helped boost production rates above seven billion cubic feet a day, according to an analysis by IHS. The report says the Marcellus now leads the Haynesville Shale as the most productive shale play in the country. The Haynesville Shale formation stretches beneath northwestern Louisiana, eastern Texas and southwestern Arkansas.
“These companies have created significant shareholder value through low-cost, efficient growth that has been commensurate with the explosion of production coming from the Marcellus,” said Bryan McNamara, principal energy analyst at IHS.
But McNamara also says not every driller has enjoyed this type of success.
The report says low natural gas prices have driven down the number of rigs operating in the Marcellus resulting in a 30 percent drop in the number of wells drilled in 2012, as compared to the previous year. The number of permits to drill, however only dropped by five percent in 2012. Gas prices are expected to rise in 2013, according to the report. So, Marcellus production may rise as well.
The top five drilling counties include Bradford, Lycoming, Susquehanna, Tioga and Washington county.
“In this case, we anticipate drilling activity picking up across all five counties,” said Bryan McNamara in an IHS release. “As for Range Resources and Cabot Oil and Gas, with both companies holding non-proven Marcellus resource potential nearly five times current proved reserves, we expect continued operational success and high production growth to remain value drivers.”
Cabot Oil and Gas concentrates its efforts in the northeast part of the state with about 368 active wells. The company faced lawsuits and criticism after a number of residential water wells in Dimock were contaminated after drilling began. The Department of Environmental Protection blamed Cabot for faulty well construction. The company says their actions did not cause the contamination, which they say was present before drilling began.
Range Resources has also run into trouble with their neighbors in Washington County, where the company actively drills. Range has about 882 active wells, primarily in the western part of the state. Range Resources has also been accused of contaminating water and air by residents living near their drilling sites. And the company has battled local officials over zoning.…
Source: http://www.star-telegram.com, January 13, 2012
By: Jack Z. Smith
A Parker County couple who sued Range Resources last year over water well contamination say their well was infiltrated with methane as a result of improper casing and cementing of two of the company’s natural gas wells, according to documents filed in court.
Fort Worth-based Range maintains that its Butler and Teal wells, drilled more than a mile deep into the Barnett Shale, did not cause or contribute to contamination of the water well at Steve and Shyla Lipsky’s home in the upscale Silverado subdivision in far south Parker County.
The well is about 200 feet deep and draws from the Trinity Aquifer.
The well was also the subject of an Environmental Protection Agency emergency order issued against Range 13 months ago. Range is also fighting the EPA order in federal court.
The Lipskys, in their lawsuit pending before State District Judge Trey Loftin in Parker County, say Range’s “failure to cement the surface casing of the Butler and Teal wells to a depth of at least 1,000 feet” caused natural gas from geological formations above the Barnett Shale to seep into their water supply. Methane is the primary component of natural gas.
Range denies that claim, which is “unsupported by facts and based on speculation,” company spokesman Matt Pitzarella said in an e-mail response to Star-Telegram questions.
“Range would drill and complete the wells the same way if we had it to do over again,” Pitzarella said.…
Source: New York Times Online, December 14, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
As energy companies move to drill in densely populated areas from Pennsylvania to Texas, battles are breaking out over who will have the final say in managing the shale gas boom.
The fight, which pits towns and cities against energy companies and states eager for growth, has raised a fundamental question about the role of local government: How much authority should communities have over the use of their land?
The battle is playing out in Pennsylvania as the Republican-controlled legislature considers bills that would in their current form sharply limit a community’s right to control where gas companies can operate on private property. Critics say the final bill could vastly weaken local zoning powers and give industry the upper hand in exchange for a new tax, which municipalities badly need.
The legislation has struck a nerve in a state where land control has long been considered quintessentially local.
“I’m a conservative Republican, and this goes against all my principles,” said Brian Coppola, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Robinson Township, in Washington County west of Pittsburgh. The pending legislation, he said, “is an enormous land grab on the part of the industry. He added, “Our property rights are being trampled.”…
Source: Risk and Insurance, February 22, 2011
By: Dan Reynolds, senior editor of Risk & Insurance
Carriers look to “mine” coverage for smaller contractors and subcontractors working to uncork Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves.
The natural gas trapped in the shale layers running from below the Finger Lakes in New York to western Virginia could add $25 billion to the U.S. economy between now and 2020, according to a recent report by Zurich North America.
By then, unconventional natural gas production could amount to 60 percent of total U.S. production. Carriers insuring companies that are searching for and releasing the natural gas from the shale formation to the surface could also see potential in the expansion of the development of this resource.
Shale gas exploration in Pennsylvania, which has massive reserves, and Texas, where there are smaller but still substantial reserves, is sure to add to the $5 billion in annual premiums spent on insuring the U.S. energy market, said Patrick Lundy, head of energy for Zurich North America.…