Friday, January 18, 2013

Still Waiting (Zzzzzzzzzzzz)

Can it be possible that any state in the US moves slower than New York State?  If Governor 'Slow-mo' is sticking to his word about not letting politics get in the way, I'd hate to see how long it would take if politics were involved.

Seriously, how long does it take to 'study' an issue? If any business moved this slow, it would be out of business. And keep in mind: this is just the 'study' phase. We haven't even gotten into the 'legal' phase yet.

But then, this is just what environmental activists do. Scream, kick, cry, and lie, like spoiled children, to cause distractions and slow things down to a crawl ... even when there's no shred of evidence that their paranoid fears are justified.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Not Worth It?

If you listen to the anti-drilling crowd's reasons for being against natural gas production, you'll also hear some rather ridiculous claims. Like "natural gas development doesn't really create that many jobs". Or, "natural gas development doesn't really do that much for the economy."

Well, there are several big-time studies that refute their claims. The latest one, by the state of Ohio, found that the state collected $4.78 million from drilling sources during the 2011 fiscal year. Now, that may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the industry is just getting started there. In addition, the study found that there is a growing demand for thousands of local workers to fill a variety of good-paying jobs. We're not talking minimum wage here, folks.

For another example, take a look at the Eagle Ford Shale formation in South Texas. It supported 47,097 full-time jobs and generated $25 billion in economic output in the region in 2011, according to a report from the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for Economic Development.

Some other figures:
- Pennsylvania made about $3.5 billion in revenue from the Marcellus during 2011
- West Virginia's production contributed about $1.2 billion in revenues

Why, even the energy-soft Obama administration disagrees with the anti-drillers. After giving the OK for drilling on federal lands in Utah, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued this statement:

"The president is focused on expanding safe and responsible production of natural gas as part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs,"

He went on to say:

"This agreement is a great example of how collaboration can allow us to uphold America’s conservation values, while bringing growth to Utah’s economy and further reducing our dependence on foreign oil by developing our resources here at home."

It's interesting to note that the same people who try to convince you that gas development is not worth it are now trying to convince our local leaders to issue moratoriums and/or bans on drilling. To our local leaders we say, "Don't waste your time listening to their ridiculous arguments ... it's really not worth it".

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fracking is the New 'F' Word

While it may not be a four-letter word, 'fracking' has become the new 'F' Word. And those in the 'anti-drilling' camp have taken full advantage of it.

Any time they want to manufacture some negative press for the oil and gas industry, all they have to do is make some exaggerated claim and blame it on 'fracking'. And they don't have to worry about whether their claim is true or not ... the media will regurgitate it regardless.

We've seen it locally, where 'fracking' supposedly caused water well contamination in Dimock and Towanda (it didn't). In each case the contamination (methane) was caused by improper cementing of the well casing - not 'fracking'! But that's not how the media portrayed it.

We've seen it elsewhere in New York State, where fracking was (without any proof) linked to a mysterious episode in Leroy, NY, where a small group of teenage girls were displaying symptoms similar to Tourette's Syndrome. Because there are gas wells somewhere on the local school's property, environmentalists (and the media) immediately began making the 'fracking' connection. Nevermind the fact that there were leaking drums of Trichlor-contaminated soil on the grounds, left over from a 1970's rail accident.

And we've seen it nationally, where 'fracking' has supposedly caused earthquakes in Ohio (it hasn't). Or where 'fracking' supposedly caused well water contamination in Parker County, Texas (it didn't). The earthquakes in Ohio may have been caused by the high pressures of an injection well - not 'fracking'! And in Parker County, TX, the secondary testing performed by Texas' own State Investigation found that the EPA got it wrong when they prematurely blamed Range Resources for the contamination (methane) of two local water wells there.

When the anti-drilling crowd presents their frantic tirade against 'fracking', they usually lead off with their tired description of 'fracking' fluid as, "a solution of toxic chemicals" or, "chemically-laced concoction". In truth, typically less than 1/2 of one percent of the 'fracking' fluid is chemicals. Most of it is plain old water and sand. And of the chemicals used, many are chemicals that we come into contact with on a daily basis in household products and/or over-the-counter products. Even the most toxic chemicals such as Benzene and Toluene are right there in the gasoline we put in our cars and in the heating oil we pump into our fuel tanks, many of which are underground tanks. But, the anti-drillers don't want you know that. They want you to be misinformed, afraid, and against gas drilling.

Misinformed? Yes. While the anti-drillers maintain their war against drilling by brandishing the 'F' word and painting mental images of evil Oil & Gas Companies wrecklessly polluting our aquifers, there has not been one proven case of chemical contamination due to 'fracking'. In places like Dimock and Towanda where water well contamination has occurred, it was due to methane contamination - not 'fracking' chemicals! And again, that contamination was caused by faulty cementing jobs - not 'fracking'!

In case you you haven't heard, methane contamination of water wells is something that occurs naturally in this area. One long-time water well driller from Pennsylvania was quoted as saying, "I've been lighting kitchen faucets on fire for 50 years, long before gas drilling ever started". This is not to say that methane contamination is nothing to worry about - natural gas in your water obviously presents a safety risk. It does not however, pose a risk to your health if ingested. And it does not ruin your water supply forever. Methane contamination is relatively easy and inexpensive to remediate with the proper add-on filter system.

So, the next time you hear about some dangerous condition that exists as the result of 'fracking', please remind yourself that it is the new 'F' word ... a tool used by the anti-drilling crowd to turn public opinion against drilling for natural gas ... the same natural gas that could help solve many of our jobs, energy, air pollution, and national security problems. It makes you wonder how many times these anti-drillers can 'cry wolf' before they're finally recognized for what they are ... fear-mongering propagandists who do not want you to know the truth.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Helping The World Economy

There is enough recoverable natural gas in the US that it could help boost the world economy, not just our own. That's what some analysts are saying.

By harvesting the abundant supply of shale gas here at home, it would all but eliminate the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) imports that have been coming into the US. That would make much more nat gas available for other countries, thereby creating a 'buyer's market'. That means lower energy prices and more disposable income, a winning combination to help revive sputtering economies around the globe.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dreamers and NIMBYs

Supporters of natural gas development are occasionally confronted by those who have different ideas in terms of the direction we as a nation (and world) should be going. They are opposed to further oil and natural gas development, citing Wind, Solar, Wave and Geothermal as better solutions to our energy problems. Others also mention plain and simple energy conservation. The fact is, we need all of the above.

Here's the situation. Renewables currently account for only about 10% of our energy supply. By 2020 it is assumed that number will be up to 20%. Even if that does happen, what about the other 80%. It has to come from either oil, gas, coal, or nuclear. This isn't rocket science. And when you look at the environmental impacts of each of those four sources, it is absolutely clear which one is the better energy source. Natural gas.

That is not to say that it will be problem-free. It is an industry and there will be incidents and accidents, the same as in any industry. Those who think there are energy sources that are problem-free are living in some kind of dreamland. How do I know this? Because the Environmentalists have told me so.

There isn't a single energy source that hasn't encountered the protests of Environmentalists ... including the ones they tout as being better alternatives.

Environmentalists are against:

- Oil (drilling, carbon)
- Natural Gas (drilling, fracing, carbon)
- Coal (mining, carbon)
- Corn Ethanol (lost food source, carbon to produce)
- Large Hydro (kills fish, natural habitat disruption)
- Nuclear (disaster threat, nuclear waste)
- Wind (unsightly, kills bird & bats, needs gas backup plants)
- Solar Farms (unsightly, natural habitat disruption)
- Wave (threat to marine life, habitat disruption)
- Geothermal (drilling)

So, let's get this straight ... you don't like oil, gas, coal, ethanol, hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, wave, or geothermal. What else is there? What do you like? Maybe these people should stop screaming about what's wrong with everything if they can't come up with a real, workable, commercially viable energy plan themselves.

The U.S. is currently buying foreign oil, draining a billion dollars a day from our economy! This country is committing financial suicide and they could care less. They are NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard). They would rather see you out of work and the economy crumbling to the ground rather than be exposed to any of the unpleasant aspects or risks of energy production. And yet, they are perfectly willing to use that energy. They're like the guy at the office who's right there to drink the coffee every morning, but never offers to make the coffee, complains about how it tastes, and never puts any money into the coffee fund. It would serve them right to pay a hefty 'nonsupporter surcharge' on any energy that they use.

The next time you hear someone blasting the idea of regenerating the U.S. oil and gas industry, ask them three questions:

1 - What do you put in your gas tank?
2 - How do you heat your home?
3 - What is your plan? (one that isn't from dreamland)

Friday, July 1, 2011


It looks like New York State is finally ready to move forward. The DEC has released a 4 page memo that includes some of the changes and key provisions of their latest SGEIS. It also states that the final 2011 SGEIS will be available July 8 on the DEC website (

Among the statements contained in this release are the following:

- high volume fracturing will be permitted on privately held lands under rigorous and effective controls
- drilling would be prohibited within primary aquifers and within 500 feet of their boundaries
- surface drilling would be prohibited on state-owned land
- high volume fracturing would be prohibited in the NYC and Syracuse watersheds
- approximately 85 percent of the Marcellus would be accessible

In addition, the DEC has hired independent researchers (at taxpayer expense?) to thoroughly research the community and socio-economic impacts

According to DEC Commissioner Martens, "This report strikes the right balance between protecting our environment, watersheds and drinking water and promoting economic development".

The DEC plans for another 60 day public comment period commencing in August. Lord knows, they don't want to move too fast. After all, it's only been three years!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Japan Disaster To Boost Shift To NatGas?

There are different 'degrees of disaster'. And while the Fukushima nuclear debacle may not be another Chernoble, it most certainly has reasonable people re-examining the wisdom of building more nuclear reactors. Whether you're 'for' or 'against' nuclear power, and whether you believe we can do it safely or not, there's still the question of, "Does it even make financial sense?"

Factoring in the initial costs of building a reactor, the inevitable cost overruns and add-ons, the costs of waging legal battles vs. the anti-nuke crowd, and the security & waste management involved, you wind up with numbers that are mind boggling. And now, after the Japanese incident, who knows what an insurance policy for a nuclear reactor will cost ... that is, if you can even get one.

At a time when nuclear power was seemingly getting a new lease on life, we have once again been reminded that we're no match for the awesome power of Mother Nature, be it earthquake, tsunami, or runaway nuclear reaction. Factor in human error and incompetence and it gets really dicey. Think it can't happen here? A while ago, it was discovered that one of our own nuclear reactors in California (earthquakes?) ran for 18 months with the facility unaware that the power had been shut off to the backup cooling system.

With the Middle East in turmoil, ever-more-costly oil supplies dwindling, nuclear shortcomings highlighted, and renewable energy sources decades away from reality, what are we left with? A huge supply of cheap natural gas right under our feet. And all we have to do is harvest it. What are we (our leaders) waiting for?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Range To Sell More Assets - Will Focus On Marcellus

Range Resources, the first company to seriously explore the Marcellus Shale, announced that it is going to be selling even more of it's assets to focus on it's investment in the Marcellus. Just this past February, Range agreed to sell off it's Texas holdings for $900 million. Range CEO John Pinkerton was quoted as saying, "We're a relatively small company and we've found probably the largest gas field in the US. We're going to need all the capital we can find."

Pinkerton said that Range can be profitable selling natural gas at $4 per thousand cu. ft. and will sell off it's lower-end assets as needed to fund it's Marcellus development plans. Range plans to spend $1.4 billion this year, $1.4 billion in 2012, and even more in 2013. I guess we know which state isn't going to benefit from those huge investments.

Chevron Ready To Gear Up

It's been reported that Chevron will drill up to 70 wells in the Marcellus this year. Chevron got into the game when it purchased Atlas Energy in November of 2010. They reportedly paid $9,000 per acre for the huge tracts of land involved. Atlas probably paid landowners anywhere from $100 to $1000 per acre. Someone made a lot of money on this deal.

Marcellus Drillers Saving / Recycling Water

Oil & Gas companies that perform hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale are typically recycling about two thirds of the water they use. These are the results of a study by Penn State hydrogeologist David Yoxtheimer. "The industry is striving to reuse as much flowback water as possible", Yoxtheimer said.

Many who are opposed to Marcellus development site extreme water demand as a problem. However, statistics clearly show that other industries comsume much more water.