Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bet On Exxon Mobil

I'm betting with Exxon Mobil that natural gas demand and prices will increase.  Americans should applaud this which will make America more energy-independent and maybe pay off a little of our debt and even create some jobs.  That's a good thing, right?

Exxon Mobil sees big growth in natural gas demand

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson says the oil giant is betting on growth in the demand for natural gas.
Dallas --
Exxon Mobil Corp. believes the demand for natural gas will grow, making it the world's second-largest energy source by 2040 - but the energy giant has a lot of gas that it wants to sell now, its top executive told shareholders at its annual meeting Wednesday.

"We're studying the possibilities of exporting natural gas from North America, from both the U.S. and Canada, because of the abundant supply that has now been confirmed in North America," CEO Rex Tillerson told shareholders.

The world's largest publicly traded company has bet big on the future of natural gas, which Tillerson believes will replace coal as the No. 2 fuel behind oil.
Exxon Mobil became the nation's largest gas producer after it acquired XTO Energy for $25 billion in 2010.

A surge in North American gas production has brought prices to their lowest levels in a decade and has created challenges for producers. Meanwhile, controversy swirls around the main drilling technique fueling the natural gas boom - hydraulic fracturing.

Tillerson said the economic pressures that have pushed natural gas prices down have not dampened the company's long-term outlook on gas.
"That's a transient condition," Tillerson told reporters after the meeting.

The meeting itself included criticisms from shareholders representing environmental concerns. Some protested the company's use of hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are blasted underground at high pressure to release hydrocarbons locked in rock formations.
Among shareholder proposals were requests that Exxon Mobil draft a report on the risks of hydraulic fracturing  (fracking shown to be safe in numerous studies) and that it set greenhouse gas reduction goals.  (greenhouse gas theory and global warming totally discredited...see )

Both proposals failed by large margins.
Some shareholders saluted the company for its financial performance - a profit of $41 billion in 2011 - and its investments in education and other social programs.

Tillerson said the company's expectations that world natural gas demand will grow 60 percent by 2040 made its heavy investments, including its XTO purchase, valuable.
"There's no regrets," Tillerson said.

He said he expects natural gas demand to grow in North America, mainly for power generation and industrial uses. Transportation fuel growth will not be dramatic for private vehicles, although there is potential for added demand from commercial fleets, Tillerson said.

Zain Shauk is a Houston Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

Read more:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Producing Formation In North Dakota's Williston Basin

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing open up a wealth of oil and gas producing opportunities never before thought possible.

N.D. drillers aiming for sandy section below Bakken

Oil drillers working in the rich Bakken and Three Forks formations that are fueling North Dakota's unprecedented oil rush are now aiming for crude in a sandy layer between the two.
By: James MacPherson, Associated Press

BISMARCK — Oil drillers working in the rich Bakken and Three Forks formations that are fueling North Dakota's unprecedented oil rush are now aiming for crude in a sandy layer between the two.

Geologists say the layer, which is being called the Pronghorn, is about 60-feet thick.

Denver-based Whiting Petroleum Corp. has several horizontal wells aimed at Pronghorn in western North Dakota, and initial results are positive, company chairman and CEO James Volker said during a panel discussion at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference and Expo.

Some wells were pumping at rates "every bit as good" as the Bakken, said Volker, who was joined on the panel by Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc., and Dave Roberts, executive vice president of Marathon Oil Corp.

The executives said North Dakota — which is now the nation's No. 2 oil producer, behind only Texas — is a model for oil development in the U.S. They pledged that their companies would act as good stewards.

The layer has often been attributed to the Three Forks formation, and referred to as the Three Forks-Sanish, but it's more correctly part of the Bakken formation directly above it, North Dakota Geological Survey geologist Julie LeFever said. She said the state's Geological Survey is now referring to the layer at the Pronghorn and asked that companies and geologists do the same to avoid confusion.

The three-day expo, which concluded Thursday, drew more than 4,000 people from 47 states and several countries to Bismarck, said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

Among the attendees was Tony La Russa, the former St. Louis Cardinals manager who guided the team to the World Series title last year. Invited by Hamm, he said he was curious to see the oil patch and how things have changes since he was last in the state 50 years ago.

"There is a lot of excitement and a lot of people coming to North Dakota," he said.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Friday, May 25, 2012

World Map Of Geologic Basins With Proven And Potential Oil And Gas Production From Shales

Horizontal Drilling And Hydraulic Fracturing In Colorado Noble Energy Style

Lets hope this play really takes off.  Maybe increasing oil and gas production can pull America out its financial debt-driven hole and help people get back to work.  Go Noble!

Noble Energy spending $8 billion to drill Colorado's shale oil fields

Posted: 05/22/2012 04:20:52 PM MDT
Updated: 05/22/2012 04:24:14 PM MDT
By Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post

Noble Energy Inc. is expanding its operations in Colorado with $8 billion in investment over the next five years.
The company is developing horizontal wells that stretch nearly two miles through the oil-rich Niobrara formation, which lies beneath a big swatch of eastern Colorado.
Houston-based Noble has expanded its holdings to 880,000 acres and is experimenting with increasing the density of wells drilled from the same pad.
"We are continuing to ramp up and invest" in the Niobrara, Chuck Davidson, Noble's chief executive officer said in an interview. "This is a major area for us."
The company is spending $1.3 billion in Colorado in 2012 — about a third of its capital — and plans to spend a total of $8 billion over the next five years, Davidson said.
Noble is one of three major drillers in the Colorado portion of the Niobrara. The others are Anadarko Petroleum and EOG Resources.
Noble today opened a new operations center in Greeley and plans to double the number of horizontal wells drilled this year to 175, the company said. It employs about 750 people in Colorado and uses 120 contractors with several thousands workers, Davidson said.
To unlock the oil in the Niobrara, drillers sink wells that run horizontally through the shale formation and then hydrofracture or "frack" the rock by pumping in fluid under pressure to release the oil.
Noble has seven horizontal drill rigs in the state and plans to add two more this year, Davidson said.
Most horizontal wells are drilled to about 5,000 feet, but Noble has drilled several to 9,000 feet. At about $8 million each, the long-reach wells are about 60 percent pricier than standard horizontal wells, according to Noble data.
"They are more expensive but you get more bang for the buck." Davidson said.
Noble also has been experimenting with wells that parallel each other through the Niobrara at different levels, and with tighter spaced wells.
"This is what you see in new fields," said Pete Stark, a vice president at consulting firm IHS Inc. "The Niobrara is a complex petroleum system and companies have to figure out how to get the oil out."
The company is using "EcoNodes" drilling pads, which are designed to minimize its footprint and centralize operations.
"It is a way of becoming more efficient," Davidson said.
IHS's Stark said such efforts are in part a response to the issues raised by drilling opponents and environmentalists.
Noble estimates its potential reserves at about 1.4 billion barrels of oil in the portion of the Niobrara focused around Weld County.
Noble has identified about 4,000 drill sites in Colorado. "We are still learning," Davidson said. "It is going to 10 to 15 years to drill this out."

Read more: Noble Energy spending $8 billion to drill Colorado's shale oil fields - The Denver Post
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No Smoking Allowed......While Fracking That Is

Here is a "no-brainer" if there ever was one.  Let's not pollute the groundwater with....ummmm.....water........let's pump liquid gas down there.......under high pressure.....I'm not an engineer......or a rocket scientist.........but gas.......and high pressure........and machinery........and sparks.......well.....I have had a gas barbecue grill........and I have singed my hair a few times....and it scares me.  What do you think?  Water fracking or gas fracking?

Waterless fracking technique makes its debut in Ohio

A GasFrac operation in Alberta (PR photo)
Some 8,000 feet deep and 450 million years old, the Utica Shale has a lot of petroleum — crude oil, natural gas and byproducts like ethane.
Although no one really knows how much there is, oil and gas companies are flocking to eastern Ohio, home to some of the shale’s most amenable portions.
“Right now we’re still in an exploratory phase,” said Brian Hickman, a spokesperson for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

It’s also an experimental phase for the technology that makes shale extraction possible, Hickman said. Companies that have used horizontal hydraulic fracturing successfully in the Marcellus, Barnett and other shales are still trying to figure out how to best use it in the Utica.

In Ohio, 65 Utica Shale wells have been drilled so far, each requiring 5 to 6 million gallons of water, said Heidi Hetzel-Evans, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
But as Utica drillers analyze early results, at least one company thinks water might be unnecessary — or even a hindrance — and that using a waterless, propane-based form of fracking called LPG might be more efficient and profitable.

That currently unnamed company has asked GasFrac Energy Services to frack two Utica trial wells in Ohio using LPG, short for liquid petroleum gas. Founded in 2006 and based in Calgary, GasFrac is apparently the world’s only provider of LPG fracking and has used it about 1,200 times, mostly in western Canada and also in Texas and Colorado.

LPG uses a mixture of propane (and occasionally some butane) that’s pressurized to the consistency of a gel. Then, like water-based fracking, it’s injected through pipes at high pressure underground to release oil and gas by cracking open rocks using sand (or another proppant).
Unlike water, though, LPG naturally mixes with petroleum, so it returns to the surface with the oil or gas being extracted. And since LPG is electrically neutral and lacks much friction, it doesn’t dissolve any salts, heavy metals or radioactive compounds — compared to water, in which these things return to the surface and make a typically toxic mixture even more so.

Fracking, of course, is enormously controversial, mostly because of concerns of potential risks to water supplies. LPG fracking eliminates an entire wastestream — the copious amounts of toxic “flowback” water that has to be reused, treated and discharged into waterways, or disposed of in deep injection wells, which have been linked to earthquakes in Ohio.
But why would companies using hydro-fracking — which has proven to be pretty profitable — be interested in using a niche technology like LPG?

“I think the results they’re getting [in the Utica] are sub-par, and they’re looking for an alternative,” said Kyle Ward, GasFrac’s spokesperson.
GasFrac argues that LPG, compared to hydro-fracking, is both more environmentally sustainable and economically efficient in the the long run — a claim that has drawn some skepticism.
Terry Engelder, the Penn State University geologist who’s been dubbed the “Godfather” of the Marcellus Shale for his calculations of the rock layer’s natural gas potential, says water is the “mechanically most efficient fluid for breaking apart rock.”

Anthony Ingraffea, a Cornell University engineer who spent 20 years researching fracking for Schlumberger, one of the largest fracking companies, said: “I’ll give [GasFrac] credit that geochemically, it’s much better to use a hydrocarbon [propane and butane] to stimulate a reservoir…But I’m not sure how well this technique will work in a high volume long lateral shale formation [like the Utica or Marcellus shales] because they haven’t released proprietary data. That’s still unknown.”

Petroleum engineers in the 1960s and 1970s tried using propane fracking, but the potential for explosion — which is still a risk today, if better managed — left the technology uneconomical.
Last year, the petroleum giant Chevron used LPG to frack several natural gas wells in the Piceance Basin, home to several lucrative coal, oil and natural gas deposits in Colorado. The company’s annual report, while not mentioning GasFrac, noted that LPG “significantly increases production while minimizing water usage.”

The company BlackBrush recently announced a two-year contract with GasFrac in Texas’ oil-rich Eagle Ford Shale.
Offering an explanation for the dearth of public data on GasFrac’s work for other companies, Robert Lestz, the company’s chief tech officer, said, “Because our results our so superior to what people have done before, they’re not interested in sharing those results.”
In Ohio, GasFrac’s spokesman said the company hopes to start the Utica wells by the end of the month.

It could be a proving ground for the technology. “It’s no secret we’re going to the Utica,” Zeke Zeringue, GasFrac’s CEO, said in a May conference call. “Obviously we hope that leads to an establishment of some sort of base of operations.”
While GasFrac has been keen to note in its recent marketing efforts that LPG uses no water, the technology’s profitability will ultimately determine its potential, said Michael Mazar, a financial analyst who follows the company for BMO Capital Markets.
“The environmental benefits are secondary.”

CORRECTION: Because of an editor’s error, Robert Lestz was incorrectly identified as GasFrac’s founder in an earlier version of this story.
Portions of this story were originally reported for InsideClimateNews.
Anthony Brino is a Springfield, Illinois-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Allegheny Front, InsideClimate News and Illinois Statehouse News.
Comments (5)
Does anyone know if this new method of fracking also uses silica sand in the process?
By Loni Kemp on May 15, 2012

Interested to see how those wells to be fracked with LPG turn out. Do you know when drilling will start, if it hasn’t already?
By Joel Parshall on May 16, 2012

Either Devon or Range Resources is currently using the technology in the Ohio Utica shale. The gelled LPG can transport any kind of proppant whether sand or ceramic. No other additives are needed.

This company has drilled over 1500 wells with the propane process over the past 1 1/2 years. They drilled one well in central New York state and 2 demo wells in Texas. The original name for this company was Canadian Fracmaster. They have operated in the USSR to increase oil production from each well when fracing. Since propane is found mixed with methane and butane as natural gas.LPG does not pollute and when used for fracing by this company, all the propane is recovered when the combined gases are sucked out and sent to a refinery. More oil is also recovered from each well with this process, so in the long run, it saves money and time over any other process for recovering oil and gas from each well.
By MARk SMYTH on May 21, 2012

This seems like a good alternative to hydrofracking, however I wonder how they did on 1)Safety aspects of the 1500 wells fracked 2)Contamination of surface waters by gel. 3)in terms of $$, how does GasFrac compare with hydrofracking.
By Ajaz on May 22, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mainstream Media Ignores Domestic Oil Production Success

Here is another example of the great success of a combination of excellent science, (geology), and engineering (horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing).  Outside of the relatively small oil and gas industry, few know of this boom and great accomplishment.  This is virtually ignored by the mainstream media.  Why is that?

Experts deliver another round of Eagle Ford bullishness

SAN ANTONIO – The development of the Eagle Ford shale continues to prompt dazzling assessments and predictions from experts, who said at an energy symposium Wednesday that in four years, the oil-rich formation could become the nation’s second-most productive shale play.
Production in the Eagle Ford could reach 1 million barrels a day by 2016, said Trevor Sloan, director of energy research at ITG Investment Research in Calgary, Alberta.
“So the growth rate out of there would be pretty spectacular,” he said.
But before production can reach that level, some problems have to be solved.
About 1,400 Eagle Ford wells are waiting to be completed or to be tied into pipelines, ITG research shows. There are also shortages of crews and water and too few pipelines.
Once the problems of getting the oil and natural gas to market are gone, production from the Eagle Ford could double, and “the Eagle Ford would be the second-largest producing area if you could bring all those to market,” Sloan said.
The Bakken shale in the western U.S. is No. 1.
His remarks were addressed to a crowd of more than 100 at the seventh annual Energy Symposium, sponsored by South Texas Money Management Ltd. The event focused on natural gas, oil and the effect of geopolitics on oil and gas development.
There are about 240 rigs now in the shale, a tenfold increase from January 2010, according to ITG research.
The Eagle Ford produced 30.5 million barrels of oil in 2011, up from 4.4 million barrels in 2010, Texas Railroad Commission figures show. Natural gas production rose to 243 billion cubic feet in 2011, compared with 108 billion cubic feet in 2010.
“It’s truly historic what’s happened,” said Jeanie Wyatt, CEO of South Texas Money Management.
By mid-2013, pipeline expansions will relieve most of the bottlenecks in the Eagle Ford, and more crews are being hired to complete wells. There’s still a shortage of water for fracturing, but some operators are treating brackish water, said Manuj Nikhanj, managing director and head of energy research at ITG.
The nation faces a glut of natural gas, so companies are moving into the oil-rich parts of the Eagle Ford, Nikhanj said. But the Eagle Ford is blessed because, in contrast to many other U.S. shale plays, it is richer in oil and oil-rich liquids.
“Natural gas is a victim of its own success,” Nikhanj said.
Natural gas closed at $2.618 per million British thermal units on Wednesday. Peter Zeihan, vice president of analysis at Strategic Forecasting, doesn’t expect the price of natural gas to exceed $6 per million British thermal units over the next decade.
Amy Myers Jaffe, fellow in energy studies at the Baker Institute at Rice University and an expert on the geopolitics of oil, titled her talk “Adios OPEC,” saying that the U.S. is headed toward an energy renaissance.
“The center of the energy world is moving back to the Americas,” she said, in part because she doesn’t foresee a big increase in production from the Middle East that many have expected.
With increasing oil production in this nation, the price of oil might come down somewhat, Jaffe said, but it isn’t likely to go below $70 a barrel. That’s because of jitters over the uprisings and unrest in the Arab world. In addition, hostilities between Israel and Iran aren’t going away.
Still, the price of oil continues to decline amid expectations that world markets will be flush with extra supplies this year.
Prices fell Wednesday as a report showed that U.S. crude supplies had climbed to the highest level in 22 years. Supplies grew last week by 2.1 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s a bigger increase than analysts expected, and more could be on the way.
Benchmark U.S. crude on Wednesday fell $1.17 to finish at a seven-month low of $92.81 per barrel in New York. Oil is down nearly 13 percent since the beginning of May.
Brent crude, which helps set the price of oil imported into the U.S., fell by $1.70 to finish at $109.75 per barrel in London.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that the U.S. will ask other countries to release spare oil reserves when the Group of Eight meets this Friday. The report follows rumors earlier this year that Western nations were planning a coordinated release of spare supplies.
White House officials wouldn’t comment about the report.
“Shale has given us the upper hand,” Jaffe said, but it’s important to extract the oil and gas in an environmentally responsible way, or bans on hydraulic fracturing could result.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

There Is A Lot More To It Than Just Fracking

Town's Effort To Link Fracking And Illness Falls Short
May 16, 2012
Many residents of Dish, Texas, blame the fracking operations that surround their tiny town for a host of health problems - from nosebleeds to cancer. The former mayor was so scared, he left town. But scientists who've studied Dish say there's not enough evidence to link natural gas operations to any illness.
Quite a few of the 225 people who live in Dish, Texas, think the nation's natural gas boom is making them sick.
They blame the chemicals used in gas production for health problems ranging from nosebleeds to cancer.
And the mayor of Dish, Bill Sciscoe, has a message for people who live in places where gas drilling is about to start: "Run. Run as fast as you can. Grab up your family and your belongings, and get out."
But scientists say it's just not clear whether pollutants from gas wells are hurting people in Dish or anywhere else. What is clear, they say, is that the evidence the town has presented so far doesn't have much scientific heft.

Science And The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers

Explore key components of the natural gas production process - and the questions scientists are asking.
'This Place Was Absolutely Beautiful'
To understand why people in Dish feel the way they do, it helps to look at a satellite image of the tiny town about 35 miles north of Fort Worth.
From above, you see an odd patchwork: ranch-style homes and green pastures interspersed with industrial lots filled with gas wells, compressors, storage tanks and metering stations.

A visit to Dish fills in the details.
In most parts of town, it's hard to miss the sulfurous odor of escaping gas or the rumble of compressor engines big enough to power a locomotive.
Mayor Sciscoe has agreed to give me a tour of Dish and explain why he thinks natural gas production is bad for residents' health. He's an imposing guy who meets me dressed in black cowboy boots, a black sport jacket and aviator sunglasses.
Sciscoe has been in charge of Dish since last year, when the previous mayor and his family actually did leave town to get away from the drilling.
Gas wells weren't always a part of the landscape, Sciscoe says. There weren't any when he arrived in 1987.

"This place was absolutely beautiful," he says. "It was serene. It was very quiet, very clean. I raised five children here," including two who became Marines.
But in 2005, two things happened to the town, which was named Clark at the time.
First, Clark became Dish as part of a deal to get free satellite TV service from the Dish network.
Second, energy companies arrived and began drilling lots of gas wells. The wells were made possible by a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which released natural gas trapped in the hard shale a mile underground.

'A Who's Who Toxic Chemical Mix'
To explain how profound that change has been, Sciscoe brings me to the biggest thing in Dish. It's a swath of gas wells and heavy equipment that stretches for a quarter-mile at the town's southern border. Sciscoe says emissions from this site are a big problem.
"It's just a who's who toxic chemical mix," he says. "Pretty much all of those items that you get from petroleum products are spewing into the air in this area."
The town spent $15,000 on an air quality study several years ago. It found elevated levels of several chemicals including benzene. But since then, energy companies have made some changes, and an air monitoring station installed by the state has shown that pollution levels are generally within government limits.
Dish also got state health officials to come and check residents' blood and urine for toxins. The officials say they found no cause for concern, though Sciscoe disagrees.
It's pretty clear people in Dish have been hurt, he says.
"There's not a lot of residents right around this facility. But within a quarter of a mile, half a mile of this facility, there's been six people die of cancer here," he says. "And so do I think this is a concern? Yes I do."
So why don't scientists see it that way?

Health Effects: What Would It Take To Know For Sure?
To find out, I make a visit to Brian Schwartz, an environmental epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
I ask him what it would take to figure out whether there really is a link between gas operations around Dish and those people with cancer.
"You can't," he says. "You can't study that right now because it takes about 20 years, let's say, for solid tumors to develop after exposure to a chemical. So if the drilling has happened in the last five years, I cannot answer the cancer question right now."
Even if more time had passed, Schwartz says, he would still need to link each type of cancer with a chemical known to cause that cancer.
Leukemia, for example, might be caused by exposure to benzene. But breast cancer isn't.
Another problem is that most so-called cancer clusters are random events, Schwartz says. They're not caused by anything in the environment.
"If I take a shotgun and I blast it against that wall, there will be a random pattern of holes in the wall, right?" he says. "And I could draw a circle around three or four or five that look to be a bit more densely packed than all the other ones."
But it would still be a cluster caused purely by chance.
Of course, cancer is just one of the concerns in Dish. Residents are also worried about immune diseases, reproductive problems and a wide range of symptoms.
The town's previous mayor, Calvin Tillman, became alarmed when his two boys started getting nosebleeds. They seemed to occur when the odors of gas were strongest and air quality monitoring showed higher levels of chemicals, Tillman says.

Then one night his younger son had a really bad nosebleed.
"Our house literally looked like a murder scene," Tillman says. "There was blood down the wall and in the hallway. And I got up the next morning to go to work, and my wife said, 'That is it.' And at that moment we decided we've got to move out of here."

Tillman and his family moved off the shale, to a town called Aubrey, Texas. Tillman knows that's just one family's story. But he says he documented others several years earlier when he had Dish residents take a health survey asking whether they had experienced symptoms such as itchy eyes, a bloody nose or a scratchy throat.
"It came back that about half of the people that were polled had a symptom that could be related to one of the chemicals that we found in our air study," Tillman says.
Better Studies Are Needed
But the mere presence of a chemical isn't enough to show it caused a symptom, scientists say. You have to show that a person was exposed to a high enough concentration for a long enough period to cause itchy eyes or a scratchy throat.

And the Dish survey didn't do that, says Tom La Point, a toxicologist at the University of North Texas in Denton, about 15 miles east of Dish, and a member of a task force looking at the impact of gas drilling.
La Point says test results can be confusing because modern equipment is able to detect chemicals at levels far, far below those known to produce symptoms.

"I've had people get quite upset saying we can measure benzene," he says. "Well, yes we can measure benzene. But the concentrations are below the effect level. And that really means something. It really does."
Even if tests in Dish had shown enough of certain pollutants to cause health effects, there would still be another scientific hurdle, La Point says. Researchers would need to know whether the pollutant was coming from local gas operations or some other source - like vehicle tailpipes.
And that's hard to figure out in a place like Dish, which is in Denton County and gets a lot of air pollution from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, La Point says.

"Ironically," La Point says, "even though we're not by any means the largest county in the metroplex, we have the worst air quality because the general winds bring it up from Dallas and Fort Worth," where the pollution from cars mixes with the pollution from gas operations.

Scientists are quick to caution that the problems with evidence from Dish do not show that gas drilling is safe for people who live near it. What the caveats show is that there is a pressing need for rigorous scientific studies, Schwartz says.

"When these areas are developed, thousands to tens of thousands of wells are drilled and fracked. So the magnitude is huge," he says. "And frankly, the development is way out ahead of public health evaluations of any kind to date."
That's not fair to the people in Dish or any other place in the country where drilling and fracking have got people worried, he says.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

Thursday, May 10, 2012

3,700 New Gas Wells In Utah

Obama is a day late and a dollar short on approving these gas wells.  It is a welcome but a blatently lame attempt to buy votes. 

U.S. to approve major Anadarko natgas project in Utah

WASHINGTON | Mon May 7, 2012 8:04pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Anadarko Petroleum Corp's plan to develop a huge natural gas field in Utah is expected to get the go-ahead from the Obama administration during a visit to the state on Tuesday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The department's approval will allow Anadarko to move ahead with its proposal to drill about 3,700 new wells over 10 years in an existing field in Utah's Uinta Basin.

"Extending the life of the activity in the Greater Natural Buttes area and keeping high production levels going for another decade will lead to lower energy costs and more jobs for Utahns," Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah said in a statement.

Anadarko first proposed the Utah project in 2006, but faced some delays over air quality concerns.

Interior released a final environmental review in favor of the project in April. At the time, Anadarko said it had reached a conservation agreement with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance that would help protect the environment during the drilling.

"It's really kind of a new model for prudent development," Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen said.

The approval of the natural gas project comes on the heels of the department's release last week of proposed new regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in natural gas development on public lands.

The Utah field is not in a shale gas play - where much of the attention on fracking has been. However, Christiansen said wells drilled in the field still require fracking, as do about 90 percent of gas wells drilled on federal lands.

Facing attacks over its approach to domestic fossil fuel development, the Obama administration has strongly defended its energy record and stressed its support for more oil and natural gas development.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by )

Friday, May 4, 2012

More Government Control Of Drilling

Is this good or bad?  There are professional people out there far more knowledgeable about this than I.  Let's hear from you.  I say we've been drilling for about 100 years and we've done very well.  Prove otherwise.

Interior sets new drilling rules on public land

The natural gas-producing shale that lies under 34 states is now being seen as a game-changer. But the process of extracting that natural gas, dubbed
The natural gas-producing shale that lies under 34 states is now being seen as a game-changer. But the process of extracting that natural gas, dubbed "fracking," is fueling environmental fears. (CBS)

(AP) WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration said Friday it will require companies drilling for natural gas on public and Indian lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations.

The proposed "fracking" rules also set standards for proper construction of wells and wastewater disposal.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the long-awaited rules will allow continued expansion of natural gas drilling while protecting public health and safety
"As we continue to offer millions of acres of America's public lands for oil and gas development, it is critical that the public have full confidence that the right safety and environmental protections are in place," Salazar said.

The proposed rule will "modernize our management of well-stimulation activities, including hydraulic fracturing, to make sure that fracturing operations conducted on public and Indian lands follow common-sense industry best practices," he said.

Industry groups and Republican lawmakers say federal rules are unnecessary, arguing that states already regulate hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are in injected underground to break up dense rock that holds oil and gas.

Critics say the chemicals have polluted water supplies, but supporters say there is no proof.
Tom Amontree, executive vice president for America's Natural Gas Alliance, an industry group, said the Obama administration "may not fully appreciate" significant regulatory steps taken by states such as Colorado, Texas and Wyoming to oversee hydraulic fracturing.

"State regulatory bodies have repeatedly proven that they have the understanding of their state's own unique geologic conditions, the on-the-ground expertise needed to oversee this important work, and most importantly, the ability to respond to rapid change," Amontree said. As drafted, the federal proposal would create reporting requirements and "regulatory impediments" that could substantially affect the ability of companies to drill on public lands, he said.

The government maintains that the new rules, which have been under consideration for a year and a half, reflect industry concerns. For instance, the rule on disclosure of chemicals used in fracking was softened to allow companies to file reports after drilling operations are completed, rather than before they begin, as initially proposed. Industry groups said the earlier proposal could have caused lengthy delays.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Marcellus Shale Development Practices

Let there be clear and open study and discussion of how the Marcellus Shale is being developed.  This includes the current emotional debate over "fracking".  Get it all out in the open to challenge and appease the often irrational critics.  Let there be public debate.  The benefits of development far outweigh the cost.  Don't let the fear-mongers dominate the issue.  The following represents a good move in that direction.

May 3, 2012 | PERMALINK | @MarcellusGas
What They’re Saying About the MSC’s Recommended Practices
Canonsburg, PA – Last week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) released the first in a series of forthcoming recommended practices (RP). This ongoing and collaborative work is aimed at enhancing the region’s economy and responsibly developing American natural gas with industry-leading environmental safeguards and technologies, an affirmation of our Guiding Principles. In several major Pennsylvania newspapers this week, the MSC reinforced the importance of this initiative. Here’s what they’re saying about the first RP on site planning, development and restoration:
·         “Marcellus Group 'Raises Bar' With Conservation Guidelines”: The Marcellus Shale Coalition's "recommended practices" are guidelines rather than requirements, and address site planning, development and restoration. Still-planned guidelines will focus on areas such as air quality and water management. A 34-page document, released on April 26, recommends 11 steps for operators, from identifying sites for gas installations, to monitoring, maintenance and repair. The coalition said it sought guidance from member companies and other stakeholders to come up with standards that make sense operationally and environmentally. "These content-rich guidance documents represent a level of detail and transparency derived from many sources which will be updated and refined as development continues," said MSC chairman Dave Spigelmyer, in a statement. (AOL Energy, 4/28/12)

·         “Marcellus Trade Group Issues Recommended Practices For Site Work”: The Marcellus Shale Coalition released the first document April 26 in a series of "recommended practices" documents aimed at providing guidance on a range of subjects. "These content-rich guidance documents represent a level of detail and transparency derived from many sources which will be updated and refined as development continues," said Dave Spigelmyer of Chesapeake Energy, chairman of the Canonsburg, Pa.-based trade group. The first document, "Recommended Practices: Site Planning, Development and Restoration," is based on operational best practices already recognized by MSC members as well as on recommendations developed through consultation with leading sportsmen and conservation groups, according to an overview. (West Virginia State Journal, 4/27/12)
MSC President Kathryn Klaber Discusses the Recommended Practices on PCN-TV


Click HERE to view this segment online.

·         “Industry Coalition Offers First Take on Best Practices”: The Marcellus Shale Coalition, a natural gas industry group, last week released the first of a series of reports outlining the best voluntary industry practices for hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the Appalachian basin. The reports, drawn up by teams of coalition members in consultation with leading sportsmen and conservation groups, outline recommended practices for developing natural gas resources while addressing environmental concerns and working with local landowners, according to MSC Chairman Dave Spigelmyer of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (E&E News, 4/30/12)
·         “Industry Group Releases Suggestions For Natural Gas Development In Marcellus Shale”: The Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade group of oil and gas companies, released Thursday operational suggestions it hopes will standardize how the oil and natural gas industry approaches future drilling operations. … The coalition's recommended practices touch on how companies could develop a lease and how they should go about restoring the landscape once a well is shut and decommissioned. … "From site identification, to safety, communications, landowner engagement and eventual reclamation, this guidance document is the first of many that the coalition will release in the coming months - all of which are designed to increase awareness and share ideas and practices that work while continuing to raise the bar on responsible natural gas development across the region," said coalition president Kathryn Klaber. (International Business Times, 4/26/12)

# # #

Rational Fracking Standards

I see nothing wrong with having operators follow rational, truthful, and sensible practices when hydraulically fracturing (fracking) dense rocks deep underground to increase the production of oil and gas.  I think the companies involved are wise to confront this issue openly, politely, factually, and persistently.

Big Natural Gas Producers Set Voluntary 'Fracking' Standards

Nearly a dozen major energy companies, including Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.LN, RDSA), have developed standards for hydraulic fracturing in the Appalachian region as federal regulators look to answer environmental concerns with tightened drilling rules.

The companies released the standards Tuesday, saying their shared set of voluntary practices demonstrates the industry's commitment to responsible drilling.

The industry-led effort coincides with an aggressive push by the Obama administration to develop national rules for hydraulic fracturing, a popular method for extracting natural gas, amid a boom in natural gas production.

The Environmental Protection Agency released rules in April designed to control methane and organic chemicals from "fracked" wells and the Interior Department is in the process of writing rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands.

Oil and natural gas companies say the states are doing an adequate job of regulating hydraulic fracturing. They criticize the Obama administration for launching multiple, and potentially overlapping, efforts to study or regulate the practice.

The standards released Tuesday address best practices for drilling, well design, water use and equipment use. They also include ways to reach out to residents who live near natural gas production sites, often the most vocal opponents of hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing involves the use of high-pressure water, sand and chemicals to break open seams in shale rock, making it easier to extract natural gas.
Copyright © 2012 Dow Jones Newswires

Read more:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Obama Administration's Clueless Energy Policies

The Obama Administration has a fixed agenda regarding energy and they will not take their blinders off and admit to the economic failure of large scale alternative energy projects like solar and wind power.  It really makes one wonder, are they really that stupid or do they have some kind of suicidal plan for the American economy.

Chu-less About Energy
Calling it a “religious fervor on the radical left” Representative Tom Mclintock of California is taking issue with a March 16th memo from DOE Secretary Steven Chu.
The memo deals with the cyber-security of the Power Marketing Administrations in the nation but also calls for those administrations to change rate structures to coerce users into being energy efficient, pay customers to use less energy during peak hours (where are they going to get the cash for that?) help facilitate the use of electric vehicles, and…wait for it…use more wind and solar power.

All indications are that bringing these “incentives” to bear would up the cost of power appreciably. In a story at CNS News, Mark Crisson, the President and CEO of the American Power Association commented that integrating renewables into the grid would increase costs on the consumer.
Republican Doc Hastings of Washington commented that the changes Chu outlined in his memo could adversely impact the price of energy, including energy provided by hydropower. Really? Hydropower? Isn’t that renewable? Doesn’t that have a small carbon footprint? What happened to the support for alternative forms of energy? What happened to the “all-of-the-above” to energy policy so recently touted by this administration?

By the looks of it, if your preferred form of energy, renewable or otherwise is not in bed with the administration it is out in the cold.
And if Secretary Chu has his way, many of us could be colder in the winter to come.
One bright note: Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey, was so exasperated by Republican objections to increased energy costs that he borrowed a page from the Tea Party playbook and accused the Republicans of being socialists, going so far as to say that those objecting to the forced implementation of Obama’s most favored energy sources are “…all socialists right to their core -- socialist power systems and restrictions to free competition.”
This from a man whose signature bill sought to drive energy prices up, hamstring free enterprise and provide more power to the federal government.

So apparently, Secretary Chu would prefer that we instead throw our support behind green energy companies such as Solyndra which took government money and subsequently took a powder, leaving a mess in its wake.
And by mess, I don’t mean badly kept books or even a few coffee cup rings on a desk.
I mean the kind of mess that would theoretically have every Disciple of Gaia screaming for the guillotine from the bottom of their Birkenstocks.
CBS 5 in San Francisco discovered that Solyndra has not unloaded everything in a “Going Out of Business Sale”.
Namely heavy metals including cadmium, solvents, and lead-contaminated tools all used to construct solar panels are still not disposed of. And the station even found buckets containing unidentified liquid, and barrels marked “Hazardous Waste”.

The materials are in a building leased by Solyndra in Milpitas. A similar site in Fremont is being cleaned but here is the punch line- the building in Milpitas is not being cleaned because Solyndra is not interested in paying for it
It only makes sense; Solyndra didn’t pay for the start-up, why should it pay for the clean-up?

So the taxpayers bankrolled the start-up. The taxpayers lost their money in the bankruptcy, and now the taxpayers will probably have to foot the bill to clean up the building in Milpitas.
I say fight government with government.

Have the EPA declare it a Superfund site and send the bill to Steve Chu.

Optimistic Future For Oil And Gas Drilling And Production In Ohio

Let's keep a close eye on what is going on in Ohio as this development takes place.  I must caution however, beware of the hype.  Salespeople have been known to exaggerate the value of products they are selling.

New map showing revised gas-oil drilling prospects in Ohio creates stir

By Bob Downing
Beacon Journal staff writer

A relatively simple multi-colored map is creating a buzz in eastern Ohio.
Some counties’ residents are ecstatic at the possibility they might be sitting atop lucrative deposits of natural gas/oil products. Others are dismayed to learn smaller volumes of gas and oil might lie deep under their feet than previously estimated.

At the center of what’s happening is a newly released map from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geological Survey. It shows excellent drilling potential under much of Stark County. Large tracts of Tuscarawas, Coshocton and Trumbull counties also rate excellent. So, too, does eastern Portage County.
Larry Wickstrom, one of four men involved in developing the map, says he is a little flabbergasted by all the attention it is getting.

The map is “just the addition of new information ... and fine-tuning what we have,” he said. It is merely the state’s best guess as to what might be found thousands of feet underground.
Areas outside the main development area could still be productive, he advised, and the map probably will change as state geologists get even more information.

The map, relying on new data, shows a slightly different footprint in eastern Ohio for Utica shale, identifying a core area for drilling that covers 10.8 million acres from Ashtabula County south into Guernsey County.

Much of the drilling in Ohio has been located in Carroll, Harrison, Columbiana and Jefferson counties. Those four counties generally rate good to very good, according to the new data.
Summit, Medina, Wayne and Portage counties are all in the good area. Most of Cuyahoga, Lake and Lorain counties are now excluded.

The map was unveiled to little fanfare in March at a statewide meeting of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and has gotten increasing attention as word of its existence has spread. It is based largely on the level of hydrocarbons found in Utica shale cores the state owns.

Over the years, more than 40,000 wells have been drilled through the Utica shale to deeper formations. The state has stored those core samples at Alum Creek State Park near Delaware.
Occasionally, researchers would sample the cores. Then about three years ago, the samples started generating increased interest from drilling companies.

Companies took core samples to have them analyzed in their labs. Because they paid for the studies, the companies were allowed to keep their research private for a year before giving the data to the state.

As the information began trickling in, state geologists took the new data and began revising its maps.
To date, energy companies have drilled 60 horizontal wells into the Utica shale in Ohio, and a total of 194 permits have received state approval. That total includes 10 permits in Stark, six in Portage and one in Medina counties.

State officials have predicted that more than 2,250 wells could be drilled in Ohio by the end of 2015.
One big question that remains unanswered is whether there is enough pressure in the western part of the Utica shale formation, where it is thinner, to send oil up well shafts, Wickstrom said.
Most of the drilling companies have not begun to prospect the potentially oil-rich area that generally lies west of Interstate 77.

The exception is Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp., which has applied for state permits for wells in Medina, Ashland and Knox counties. The company has said it is more interested in Ohio’s oil than its natural gas.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is the No. 1 player in Ohio and is attracted by the so-called wet gases: ethane, butane and propane that are found in Utica shale. That makes Ohio financially attractive at a time when natural gas prices remain very low.

Records show landowners can get signing bonuses of up to $5,800 an acre plus royalties as high as 21 percent on what’s produced by wells. The average leasing bonus in Ohio is about $2,500 an acre.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or