The REAL Fracking Companys Drawing water from creeks and wells in YORK County PA

So you don’t think the Lower Susquehaan River Basin is at risk yet of Fracking——–WAKE UP——-

Fracking:
Gas Drilling Companies and Businesses

Exxon Confronts Nuns, Calpers Over Global Warming Plans, BoskinCarroll, Joe , Bloomberg.com, (2007)

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Exxon Confronts Nuns, Calpers Over Global Warming Plans, Boskin

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest oil company, faces growing criticism from investors who say it’s lagging behind competitors in addressing global warming.

The Sisters of Saint Dominic, a Roman Catholic order in New Jersey, want shareholders at today’s annual meeting to approve a proposal for setting targets on greenhouse-gas reductions. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, seeks to oust Michael Boskin, the Exxon director who runs the board committee responsible for environmental issues.

…“Exxon’s the industry laggard when it comes to climate change,” said Laura Shaffer, manager of shareholder activities at the New York-based Nathan Cummings Foundation, which oversees $535 million.

“Given their market capitalization and their earnings, they shouldn’t be lagging anybody on this issue.”

The foundation is part of an investor group that backs a proposal to force Exxon to boost spending on ethanol and other non-petroleum fuels.

Shareholders who attend the meeting at the Symphony Center in Dallas will also vote on a measure that seeks to rein in share buybacks, which have tripled in the past three years, in favor of a one-time dividend. Another would limit compensation for the company’s top five executives, including Tillerson, to $500,000 a year.

Exxon Mobil CorporationExxon Mobil Corporation , Exxon Mobil Corporation, (2010)

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ExxonMobil. The Lamp. No. 4, 2009. p. 7-8.

Andrew Swiger, Exxon Senior V.P. has said,

“A key question about shale and other unconventional plays will be whether a company has the technology to turn them into profitable opportunities.

Swiger notes that technology advances ExxonMobil has perfected in producing unconventional natural gas from tight-sands formations in Colorado’s Piceance Basin should prove advantageous.

ExxonMobil‐XTO Merger:

Read preliminary transcripts of Rex Tillerson, CEO, giving testimony to the House Energy Committee.

ExxonMobil‐XTO Merger: Impact on U.S. Energy Markets Preliminary Transcript of Testimony, House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Committee on Energy and Commerce. Wednesday, January 20, 2010. 122 pages.

This merger heralds a fundamental long‐term shift in U.S. energy markets and one that deserves our close attention. Over the last decade, a small group of companies that most Americans have never heard of has been developing huge deposits of natural gas in deep shale formations across America.”

-Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chair of Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.Tillerson testimony on p. 52.

Exxon, XTO Probably Won’t Face U.S. Fracturing Rules, FBR Says – Bloomberg.comPolson, Jim , Bloomberg.com, (2010)

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By Jim Polson. Bloomberg Business Week. January 21, 2010.

Exxon Mobil Corp.XTO Energy Inc. and other shale-gas producers probably won’t face U.S. rules that would add costs of $100,000 a well, given comments at a Congressional hearing yesterday and the loss of a Senate seat by majority Democrats, FBR Capital Markets Corp. analysts said.

Irving, Texas-based Exxon’s $30 billion acquisition of XTO isn’t in jeopardy,Benjamin Salisbury and other FBR analysts wrote in a report to clients today. U.S. laws making shale development “illegal or commercially impracticable” would let Exxon terminate the deal without penalty, under the buyout agreement.

Democrats at the hearing praised the economic and environmental benefits of replacing fuels such as coal with cleaner-burning natural gas, indicating the party will emphasize jobs and the economy rather than restrictions on fracturing petroleum-bearing rock that might curb drilling by as much as 20 percent, the analysts wrote. Environmentalists said chemicals in fracturing fluid contaminate drinking water.

Exxon-Xto Deal Forces Congress to Reconsider Natural Gas,Kirkland, Joel , The New York Times : Climatewire, (2010)

By Joel Kirkland of ClimateWireNew York Times.

The $31 billion Exxon-XTO all-stock deal still has to jump some regulatory hurdles. If the merger becomes real, Exxon will be the largest natural gas producer in the country, controlling large chunks of acreage in the most promising onshore gas fields in the United States.

Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and the Appalachian regions of Pennsylvania and New York are the epicenter of shale gas, coalbed methane and tight-sand gas formations.

See: Marching Band, Quail Hunt Helped Exxon’s Tillerson to XTO Deal – Bloomberg.com

Frac Tech: Stage After StageFrac Tech , Frac Tech: Stage After Stage, (2010)

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Frac Tech is one of the smaller companies mentioned in the memorandum to Members of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment from Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Edward J. Markey Examining the Potential Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing. (PDF)

Frac Tech describes itself as “one of the largest and fastest growing land stimulation companies.”

Little is known about the practices of these and other small and medium sized companies that provide fracturing services across the country.

Frac Tech’s CEO Dan Wilk received one of the eight letters from this Committe on February 18, 2010. They are listed in this document:

Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing.

See Shale Maps of the U.S, World, Australia, China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

See: Jaime Adame. “Cisco’s Frac Tech Grows”. August 7, 2010. Abilene Reporternews Online.

FracFocus Chemical Disclosure RegistryGroundwater Protection Council, and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission , (2011)

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This website is a joint project of the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.  It was launched on April 11, 2011 and only covers wells drilled starting in 2011.  It appears to be an attempt at Gas Industry “transparency” and has funding support from the U.S. Depatment of Energy (DOE).  It claims to disclose the chemical additives used in the hydraulic fracturing process on a well-by-well basis.

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Of all the lobbyists bringing their issues to Capitol Hill, the Groundwater Protection Council is one of the smaller players.  I have to wonder, reading the rankings on Open Secrets, “Lobbying Spending Database: Environment, 2009”, why this groundwater organization spends less on its annual lobbying than “Fur Wraps the Hill” or the “Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy”?  Groundwater is a hot button national issue, affecting both the urban and agricultural sectors.

The industry groups proudly stamping their logos on FracFocus need to come up with more cash or be outed as a do-nothing front organization advocating the corporate pillaging of our natural resources in the name of energy development.  They wave the Tenth Amendment around like the flag at Iwo Jima.

How do they demonstrate the committment to “protecting our nation’s ground water”?  They conveniently share an address with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC).  13308 N. MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK.

IOGCC claims to have a noble mission but talk is cheap… They advocate less intervention by the Federal government on behalf of the shared resources in our environment.  Twenty thousand bucks?

Read between the lines!  Here is a letter written to Congress by the IOGCCcalling for the Feds to keep their hands off! The $20,000 looks like a smokescreen to me. Pocket change…(Neil Zusman, 2011-05-24).

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From their website:

On this site you can search for information about the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. You will also find educational materials designed to help you put this information in perspective.

See: Chu Names Panel to Study Fracking.

My critique of the NYT Green report

Broder’s piece goes on to offer a smokescreen of protest by the right, but according to Dusty Horwitt of the Environmental Working Group, “An industry insider like John Deutch is completely unacceptable to lead this panel…It looks as if the Obama Administration has already reached the conclusion that fracking is safe.”

Gas Drillers Plead Guilty to Felony Dumping ViolationsSabrina Shankman , ProPublica, (2010)

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Since Pennsylvania’s gas drilling boom ramped up in 2008, companies have been fined regularly for environmental accidents — $23,500 here for spilling 5,000 gallons of waste, $15,557 there for spilling 295 gallons of hydrochloric acid. The fines often amount to slaps on the wrist for companies that stand to make hefty profits from their wells.

But the penalties just got a lot more serious for an owner of Kansas-based Swamp Angel Energy and for the company’s site supervisor, who pleaded guilty last week to felony violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

As part of a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney for western Pennsylvania, part-owner Michael Evans, 66, of La Quinta, Calif., and John Morgan, 54, of Sheffield, Penn., admitted dumping 200,000 gallons of brine – salty wastewater that’s created in the drilling process – down an abandoned oil well. The maximum penalty for both Evans and Morgan is three years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Sentencing will be June 24. (See follow-up below). Attorneys for both men declined to comment.

Swamp Angel Energy was drilling in the Allegheny National Forest, in McKean County in northwestern Pennsylvania, and the brine was dumped just outside the border of the federal land. In mid-December, a federal judge overturned a ruling that had essentially banned drilling in the Allegheny Forest…

Follow-Up | U.S. EPA Compliance and Enforcement Criminal Case Activities (nz):

EPA’s Criminal Enforcement program  investigates and helps to prosecute environmental violations which seriously threaten public health and the environment or involve conduct that may be willful, intentional, or deliberate.

Besides environmental violations, the cases may also have associated U.S. criminal code violations such as conspiracy, false statements, witness tampering, or interfering with a law enforcement investigation. Criminal enforcement sanctions — which may include incarceration of individuals in addition to monetary fines against individuals, businesses, or corporations represent the enforcement program’s strongest sanction and deterrent.

John Morgan and Michael Evans (PDF) (1 pg, 32K)

Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, June 24, 2010, that a resident of Sheffield, Pennsylvania and a resident of La Quinta, California, have been sentenced in federal court in Erie as a result of their felony convictions for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act by unlawfully injecting brine produced from an oil drilling operation.

United States District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin imposed the sentences on John Morgan, age 54, of Sheffield, Pennsylvania, and Michael Evans, age 66, of La Quinta, California. Mr. Morgan received a sentence of three years probation, a $4,000 fine, eight months home detention and eighty hours community service. Mr. Evans received a sentence of three years probation, a $5,000 fine, ten months home detention and one hundred hours community service.

Gasland Trailer 2010Fox, Josh , YouTube, (2010)

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GasLand (2010) Directed by Josh Fox. Winner of Special Jury Prize – Best US Documentary Feature – Sundance 2010. Screening at Cannes 2010. Nominated for 2011 Academy Award – Best Documentary Feature.

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It is happening all across America and now in Europe and Africa as well – rural landowners wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from a multinational energy conglomerate wanting to lease their property. The Reason? In America, the company hopes to tap into a huge natural gas reservoir dubbed the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground—a hydraulic drilling process called fracking—and suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming an energy superpower.

But what comes out of the ground with that natural gas? How does it affect our air and drinking water? GASLAND is a powerful personal documentary that confronts these questions with spirit, strength, and a sense of humor. When filmmaker Josh Fox receives his cash offer in the mail, he travels across 32 states to meet other rural residents on the front lines of fracking. He discovers toxic streams, ruined aquifers, dying livestock, brutal illnesses, and kitchen sinks that burst into flame. He learns that all water is connected and perhaps some things are more valuable than money.

See PBS interview with filmmaker Josh Fox.

See: Nora Eisenberg. Onshore Drilling Disasters Waiting to Happen: An Interview With ‘Gasland’ Director Josh Fox | The Nation

See: Drilling Isn’t Safe.

Re-Edit by liltrax. July 9, 2010.

HalliburtonHalliburton , Solutions for Today’s Energy Challenges – Halliburton, (2010)

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Founded in 1919, Halliburton is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the oil and gas industry. It employs more than 50,000 people in nearly 70 countries.”

See: Halliburton’s web site on Hydraulic Fracturing

See: Soucewatch article on Halliburton.

“Halliburton is under Justice Department Securities and Exchange Commissioninvestigation over allegations of improper dealings in Iraq, Kuwait and Nigeria,” Whitley Strieber wrote March 12, 2007.

See New York time Editorial on the “Halliburton Loophole”. (2009)

See LA Times, “Halliburton’s Interests Assisted by White House.” (2004)

See. John Collins Rudolf. “E.P.A. Subpoenas Halliburton on Fracking.” NYT Green Blog. Nov. 9, 2010.

See: Barry Meier and Clifford Krauss. “Inquiry Puts Halliburton in a Familiar Hot Seat”. NYT Business Day. October 28, 2010.

See: Dauda Garuba. “Halliburton, Bribes and the Deceit of ‘Zero-Tolerance’ for Corruption in Nigeria.” African Community of Practice on Managing for Development Results. (cop-mfdr-africa.org). August 26, 2010.

EPA Update. November 9-10 2010

On November 9, 2010, EPA announced that eight out of the nine hydraulic fracturing companies that received voluntary information requests in September agreed to submit timely and complete information to help the Agency conduct its study on hydraulic fracturing. However, the ninth company, Halliburton, has failed to provide EPA the information necessary to move forward with this important study. As a result, and as part of EPA’s effort to move forward as quickly as possible, today EPA issued a subpoena to the company requiring submission of the requested information that has yet to be provided.

See: Letter sent by EPA to Halliburton PDF (2pp, 516K).

See: The subpoena sent by EPA to Halliburton PDF (11pp, 3.5M).

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Update:

See: FCPA Blog | UK Court Won’t Block Telser Extradition

Judson Berger. “Nigeria Drops Bribery Charges Against Cheney, Halliburton After $250M Deal Struck.” Canada Free Press. Dec. 21, 2010.

Nigeria’s government has reportedly dropped bribery charges against former Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the energy firm he once headed, after the company agreed to pay a hefty settlement.

Haynesville Shale Natural Gas Fracturing Jobziocody , YouTube, (2008)

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Announcer: Paul Bison agreed back in March to let Chesapeake drill a well on his 80 acres in Keithville.

Paul Bison: Nobody in the section, in the neighborhood is gonna ever benefit unless somebody lets ’em drill and when we leased three years ago, we knew what it was for, we took the money and now it’s time for somebody to step up to the plate and help em let it happen.

Industry responds to public take on hydraulic fracturingCooke, Claude E. , Hart Energy E & P, (2010)

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…The fate of bills before Congress related to regulation of hydraulic fracturing is critically important. Congress exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005, but a bill was introduced last summer to federally regulate hydraulic fracturing under the act.

Regulations developed by the EPA under such a bill are unknowable at this time, but they could be expensive. Congress continues to debate the need for broader regulation and has asked the EPA to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water sources.

The industry needs a better, more effective way to advocate and communicate the benefits of fracturing to media, to the public, and to officials whose decisions could impact the future of the technology — and of the nation’s efforts to achieve energy independence.

Claude Cooke. “Industry responds to public take on hydraulic fracturing.” Hart Energy E & P. Mar. 1, 2010.

See: Tom Hamburger and Jim Puzzanghera. “Obama a business booster in Chamber of Commerce speech.” LA Times. Feb. 7, 2011.

President Obama seeks fresh start with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with whom he has had a prickly relationship.

Obama sought to distinguish between inefficient government regulation of the kind he raised in his State of the Union speech — over things like salmon — and a more legitimate government role in areas such as the environment.

“Even as we work to eliminate burdensome regulations, America’s businesses have a responsibility to recognize that there are some safeguards and standards that are necessary to protect the American people from harm or exploitation,” he said Monday. “Few of us would want to live in a society without the rules that keep our air and water clean … yet when standards like these have been proposed, opponents have often warned that they would be an assault on business and free enterprise.”

The audience welcomed Obama with a standing ovation and laughed politely when he joked they “would have gotten off on a better foot if I had brought over a fruitcake when we first moved in.”

But there was little hearty applause, and after the president shook a few hands and walked back to the White House, Chamber members were guarded in their reviews of his message.

See: Pollution in Your Community

See: Draft Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources

See: Pew Environment Group (PEG) Factsheet: Industry Opposition to Government Regulation (PDF), October 14, 2010.

See: The Yes Men | Climate Pledge of Resistance

Lenape Resources, Inc.Lenape Resources , Lenape Resources, Inc., (2010)

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Lenape Resources, Inc. is the operating arm of Lenape Energy, Inc. Along with its sister companies Lenape Drilling, Inc. and Lenape Gathering Corp, Lenape Resources is involved in the exploration, development, gathering and marketing of oil and natural gas resources in the Appalachian basin with a primary focus in the states of New York and Pennsylvania.

Lenape has been disposing of drilling wastewater in Caledonia NY, 27 miles southwest of Rochester, NY on a permit which expired in 2007 but wasadministratively continued.

See: Public Notice No. 2010- 25 Permit No. NYU119702 Date: August 3, 2010

The EPA oversees the Underground Injection Control Program. Under the Eleventh amendment to the U.S. Constitution, if the state violates a Federal law, then the courts have jurisdiction, but if it’s a purely state matter, they don’t. How did Lenape manage to go three years without a permit to dispose of it’s fracking waste water?

According to the website, Endangered Environmental Laws, “…over time, courts have transformed [the Eleventh Amendment] into a sweeping doctrine of state “sovereign immunity,” unmoored from the Constitution’s text, and in recent years, a conservative bloc of the Supreme Court has further expanded states’ immunity from private lawsuits. In the environmental context, this has led to near-total immunity of state agencies from citizen suits under the federal coal-mining statute; to similar challenges (so far unsuccessful) to citizen litigation under the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act; and to dismissal of state employees’ whistleblower complaints under the Solid Waste Disposal Act and other laws.”

See: Babcock, H. “Effect of the United States Supreme Court’s Eleventh Amendment Jurisprudence on Clean Water Act Citizen Suits: Muddied Waters, The.” Oregon Law Review 83 (2004): 47.

“The states are permitted to act unjustly only because the highest court in the land has, by its own will, moved the middle ground and narrowed the nation’s power.

With rare exception, many people, including Indian tribes, federal employees, patent holders, the elderly, and the disabled, find themselves unable to vindicate rights granted by federal laws in any court when the defendant is a state or a state agency.”

Violations are prosecuted only after a dramatic event such as an explosion leading to workers’ deaths. Even when the dumping of toxic waste is prosecuted, the sentences’ regulatory effect is minimal. Environmental felons absorb these costs of doing business.

However, the Justice Department sees it differently. According to John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, “The Safe Water Drinking Act and the regulations overseeing oil and gas related injection wells are designed to ensure safe sources of drinking water. Violations of these laws will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” Mr. Cruden was Chief Legislative Counsel, U.S. Army (1988-1991).

See: Oil Company and Two Executives Plead Guilty to Environmental Crimes

See: Texas Transportation Company and Officials Sentenced for Hazmat Violations

See also: Gas Drillers Plead Guilty to Felony Dumping Violations

John Morgan and Michael Evans (PDF) (1 pg, 32K)

United States District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin imposed the sentences on John Morgan, age 54, of Sheffield, Pennsylvania, and Michael Evans, age 66, of La Quinta, California. Mr. Morgan received a sentence of three years probation, a $4,000 fine, eight months home detention and eighty hours community service. Mr. Evans received a sentence of three years probation, a $5,000 fine, ten months home detention and one hundred hours community service.

See: Drilling Wastewater Disposal Options in N.Y. Report Have Problems of Their Own – ProPublica

See: The Effect of the United States Supreme Court’s Eleventh Amendment Jurisprudence on Clean Water Act Citizen Suits: Muddied Waters | Mixplex

Marcellus Shale CoalitionMarcellus Shale Coalition , Marcellus Shale Coalition, (2010)

PA Marcellus - Marcellus Shale Committee

[Opportunities? Follow this link to jobs in PA, Commonwealth Workforce Development System (CWDS). Are you a carpenter or mason? Want a job for 23k a year? Frac Operator 1 would earn 24,960/year in Greensburg, PA. That’s what I found when I looked for a Gas Drilling job. 4/19/10. (Neil Zusman, 2010-04-23.) and SourceWatch.]

The Marcellus Shale Committee is a coalition of oil and gas industry companies which was formed in 2008 to promote “the responsible development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale geological formation in Pennsylvania and the enhancement of the Commonwealth’s economy that can be realized by this clean-burning energy source.”

Committee Members

On its website, the Marcellus Shale Committee lists its’ members.

Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial RevolutionHawken, Paul,Lovins Amory B., and L. Hunter Lovins , (2008)

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Hawken (The Ecology of Commerce) and Amory and Hunter Lovins of theRocky Mountain Institute, an environmental think tank, have put together an ambitious, visionary monster of a book advocating “natural capitalism.”

The short answer to the logical question (What is natural capitalism?) is that it is a way of thinking that seeks to apply market principles to all sources of material value, most importantly natural resources. The authors have two related goals: first, to show the vast array of ecologically smart options available to businesses; second, to argue that it is possible for society and industry to adopt them.

–Publishers Weekly

See: Paul Hawken. Natural Capitalism | We can create new jobs, restore our environment, and promote social stability. The solutions are creative, practical, and profitable.” Mother Jones. Mar/Apr97.

Natural gas: the commodity world’s ugly ducklingSaefong, Myra , Marketwatch | Commodities Corner, (2011)

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Natural Gas Futures Chart Feb11

Commentary: Is the natural-gas story ready to transform?

“Natural gas is the ugly duckling of the commodities,” said Ben Smith, president of First Enercast Financial, an information vendor serving energy markets.

But just like the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, the natural-gas story has the potential to transform — if investors are patient enough to wait.

Many commodities had seen a downtrend since the peak in prices in 2008, but copper, gold and agricultural commodities have been making new highs, and oil and iron ore have rebounded, said Evan Smith, co-manager of the $900 million Global Resources Fund, which climbed 38% last year.

“Natural gas is probably the only commodity that has set lows recently, with no rebound,” he said.

At the same time, the natural-gas market has had about $28 billion of capital come in over the last couple of years, in the form of joint ventures, largely from foreign oil companies such as India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. or France’s Total S.A. he said.

There’s too much capital coming in from foreign oil companies, and this “has largely led to continued drilling, which keeps the supply higher than it should be,” he said. And it could take a year before the market sees an incremental decline in drilling activity from companies reducing capital commitments to drill natural gas.

Even then, it could take even longer before the market reacts.

“The market currently believes this massive [shale] supply windfall will keep prices suppressed for many years,” Ben Smith said.

See: Big Money Drives Up the Betting on the Marcellus Shale

See: Krauss, Clifford. “Cheniere Energy, In Reversal, Wants to Export Natural Gas.” The New York Times 27 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Jan. 2011.

The oil patch is a world of risk takers, but few are as daring as Charif Souki, the chairman and chief executive of Cheniere Energy.

A decade ago, Mr. Souki warned of an impending natural gas shortage, and set out to build a network of gas import terminals after none had been built in a generation. He lured Chevron and the French oil giant Total into signing long-term use agreements, and Cheniere’s stock price rocketed from less than $1 a share in 2002 to more than $40 in three years.

But the sudden boom in gas drilling that took off around 2005 created a glut, ruining Mr. Souki’s dream. Cheniere’s stock price collapsed to $2. And he managed to complete only one terminal, at a cost of $1.4 billion, that stands idle much of the time.

Now he is trying to recoup his investment by making the opposite bet: that he can profitably export cheap American natural gas to Europe and Asia, where prices are roughly twice as high.

…gas producers desperately looking for ways to raise prices view Mr. Souki as a hero.

See: Dave Cohen.  Shale Gas Shenanigans. Energy Bulletin. March 29, 2010.

See: See: Lisa Bracken Website: Journey of the Forsaken.

Norse Energy CorporationNorse Energy , Norse Energy Corporation, (2010)

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Norwegian based company with operations in the US.  They own and operate pipeline systems in the northeastern US for gathering and transmission of natural gas.  The CEO is Øivind Risberg.

NY Senate to Suspend Hydro Fracing Permits; Norse’s Program Unaffected

On Aug. 5, 2010, the New York State Senate approved a proposal to suspend hydraulic fracturing of gas reservoirs in New York State until May 15, 2011.

“This proposed bill does not affect Norse’s strategy of developing our estimated 500 Bcf Herkimer field. Actually, if anything, it could improve our strategic position as I anticipate a time limited moratorium on hydraulic fracturing shale permits would extend our lease term under the force majeure clause and allow us to hold more land with our ongoing Herkimer activity.

Our Herkimer drilling program is fully financed and as we now get back to drilling on our 3D seismic locations in the second half of the year, we anticipate our reserve based lending to further improve our financial position and allow for an acceleration of our Herkimer activity into 2011,” said Øivind Risberg, CEO of Norse Energy.

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See: Tyler Murphy and Melissa DeCordova. The Evening Sun. May 14-15, 2010.“Pro-natural gas drilling concerns say:We’re in the money”

Picture on the front page shows Norse Energy Vice President Stephen Keyes, City of Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano, Village of Sherburne Mayor Bill Acee, Realtor Bruce Beadle, Town of Smyrna Supervisor James Bays, County Planning Director Donna Jones, Commerce Chenango President Maureen Carpenter, County Treasurer William Evans, County Consultant Steve Palmatier and Nornew spokesman Dennis Holbrook receiving  $656,923 worth of “symbolic checks”.

The municipality [Norwich, NY] is one of the first in Chenango County to reap the financial benefits of natural gas development on an unprecedented local scale.

Norse Energy Inc., the Norwegian-based parent company of Nornew, has drilled 23 wells in the county, 13 in the Town of Smyrna since 2007.

The check’s amounts were based on the numbers released by the Chenango County Office of Real Property Services on May 1 and reflect the estimated assessed value using last year’s tax rates.

Oil150, 1859-2009: Celebrating the Story- Progress from PetroleumOil150 , Oil150, 1859-2009: Celebrating the Story- Progress from Petroleum, (2010)

OIL150 Logo

The Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism (ORA) administers the Oil 150. The ORA is the manager of the Oil Region National Heritage Area.

The mission of ORA is to increase the prosperity and population of the Oil Region National Heritage Area, through the preservation, promotion, development and support of destinations within the Oil Region National Heritage Area.

This project was financed in part by a Pennsylvania Heritage Parks Program Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, via Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism. Additional funding was furnished by the National Parks Service, the Oil Region Alliance, and the Petroleum History Institute.

Range ResourcesRange Resources , Range Resources, (2010)

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It was reported by Lowell Brown of the Denton Record Chronicle on April 23, 2010 that Range Resources had a spill of drilling mud in Denton, Texas.  “Rayzor spill raises a stink. Residents cry foul; officials say mud dump an accident.”

Sharon Wilson, Bluedaze blogger, has called this incident “Doodygate”.  The postings are listed with most recent on top, so to follow the postings, scroll down to the bottom and work your way up.  At Bluedaze, click on the keyword, “Range Resources” to read more of her postings.  Range is becoming more active, investing more money to acquire leases and develop drill sites in the Marcellus Shale.

Range Resources is an independent oil and gas company operating in the Southwestern, Appalachian and Gulf Coast regions of the United States.  “The past five years, however, have represented a period of un- precedented growth.  Our reserves have tripled, while our stock price has increased almost 1,000% on a stock-split-adjusted basis.”

Christopher Helman. “Range Resources Is King Of The Marcellus Shale“. Forbes Magazine. August 09, 2010.

The BP oil spill has created its share of victims, but it’s creating opportunities for others. Among them, Range Resources ( RRC – news – people ), the Fort Worth, Tex. company that owns a big chunk of the gas-filled Marcellus Shale rock formation that stretches from New York across Pennsylvania and into West Virginia. With offshore drilling costs sure to go up and with spill liabilities unlimited, oil and gas finders are already looking to redirect capital spending to onshore plays. Range shares have doubled in five years, outpacing even Google but Chief Executive John Pinkerton says, “The bloom hasn’t even opened yet.”

Sanjel CorporationSanjel , Sanjel Corporation :: A Specialized Energy Service Company, (2010)

Sanjel is one of the companies the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating on the potential environmental impacts from hydraulic fracturing.

“Sanjel Corporation is a privately owned, Canadian-based, international oilfield service company with over two and a half decades of industry experience. As a major competitor in the global oil and gas market and the largest privately owned oilfield service company in Canada, Sanjel offers five specialized service lines including Acidizing, Cementing, Coiled Tubing, Fracturing and Nitrogen.”

SchlumbergerSchlumberger , Schlumberger, (2010)

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Schlumberger is one of the large companies being investigated by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to see if the gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a hazard to groundwater drinking supplies.

Schlumberger employs over 77,000 people of more than 140 nationalities working in approximately 80 countries.

Reuters reported on May 19, 2010 that personnel from oilfield giant Schlumberger left BP’s Deepwater Horizon only hours before it exploded.Read the article here.

Although “Flaring” was used extensively in the Gulf of Mexico aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in April, 2010, Schlumberger published a 2002 report that recommends zero flaring in the Middle East.

The World Bank estimates that over 150 billion cubic metres of natural gas are flared or vented annually, an amount worth approximately 30.6 billion dollars, equivalent to 25 percent of the United States’ gas consumption or 30 percent of the European Union’s gas consumption per year. See World Bank, December 14, 2009. “World Bank, GGFR Partners Unlock Value of Wasted Gas”.

See: Renee Schoof and Marisa Talylor. June 11, 2010. McClatchy. “Plan to burn excess oil from BP well raises health questions.

See: Energy & Commerce Committee Investigates Deepwater Horizon Rig Oil Spill

“Schlumberger Mississippi Canyon Block 252 Timeline”. (PDF)

On April 18, 2010, a Schlumberger wireline cased hole crew arrives on Transocean Deepwater Horizon. Specifically, BP contracted with Schlumberger to be available to perform a cement bond log and set a bridge plug and/or cement retainer, should BP request those services.

At approximately 7:00 a.m., BP informs Schlumberger crew that no wireline cased hole services will be requested and BP sends Schlumberger crew home.

At approximately 11 :15 a .m., on April 20, 2010, the day of the BP well explosion, the Schlumberger crew departed Transocean Deepwater Horizon on regularly scheduled BP helicopter flight.

At 10:56 EDT, the fire on Deepwater Horizon started. It burned for more than a day and sank April 22, leading to 11 deaths and the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Schlumberger failed to advise public officials on how BP’s actions, declining a wireline cased hole service might have prevented this disaster.

How can government regulators require that private contractors in the oil and gas industry blow the whistle on potentially global disasters? (Neil Zusman, 2010-08-13.)

See: Publication: Middle East & Asia Reservoir Review
Volume: No. 3, 2002
Publication Date: 01/01/2002

Download: Towards Zero Flaring (1.41 MB PDF)

An important issue in protecting the environment of the Gulf, which is no less fragile than elsewhere in the world, is the effect of hydrocarbon flaring from oil production operations. This causes many forms of pollution – noise, toxic gases, soot, acid rain and the production of carbon dioxide, the latter is one of the primary causes of global warming. In this article, Alp Tengirsek and Nashat Mohamed explain the progress of a project in Abu Dhabi that has already eliminated oil flaring during testing and production, with the ultimate aim of eliminating all hydrocarbon flaring within a year.

See: Stanley Reed. “The Stealth Oil Giant: Why Schlumberger, long a hired gun in oil-field services, is becoming a major force and scaring Big Oil“. Business Week. 2008-01-03

Shell Oil CompanyWikipedia , Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (2010)

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On May 28, 2010, Bloomberg.com reported that Royal Dutch Shell Plc agreed to buy closely held East Resources Inc., for about $5 billion.

East Resources will no longer be a U.S. corporation.

Author Ken Saro-Wiwa was a member of the Ogoni people, an ethnic Nigerian minority whose hometown, Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta has been targeted for crude oil extraction since the 1950s and which has suffered extreme and unremediated environmental damage from decades of indiscriminate oil waste dumping. Saro-Wiwa, initially as spokesperson, and then as President, of theMovement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), led a nonviolentcampaign against environmental degradation of the land and natural waters ofOgoniland by the operations of multinational oil companies, especially Shell.

At the peak of his non-violent campaign, Saro-Wiwa and the other members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People were arrested, hastily tried by a special military tribunal, and hanged in 1995 by the Nigerian militarygovernment of General Sani Abacha, all on charges widely viewed as entirely politically motivated and completely unfounded. Their executions provoked international outrage and resulted in Nigeria’s suspension from theCommonwealth of Nations.

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Shell has been brought on trial in New York with the accusation of having collaborated with the military executions, and in June 2009, it has settled out of court for US $15 million to bring the case to an end.

See: Ed Pilkington. “Shell pays out $15.5m over Saro-Wiwa killing.” The Guardian. June 9, 2009.

See: Jad Mouawad. “Shell to Pay $15.5 Million to Settle Nigerian Case.” NYT. June 8, 2009.

Shell Gas Flaring is Illegal Says Benin City High Court

See: Poison Fire

Why the delay in remediation?

See: Shell Oil statement. Flaring in Nigeria.

The gas gathering programme has been delayed by funding shortfalls from the major government shareholder and security concerns which meant it was not safe for staff to work in large parts of the delta for long periods of time.

However, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and its partners continue to invest in reducing flares and have resumed work on many delayed projects and started new ones. SPDC is currently improving or installing associated gas gathering (AGG) facilities at 19 flowstations.

In late 2009, projects were sanctioned to install AGG facilities at a further seven flowstations. In total these projects represent an investment of over $2 billion. When all this work is completed it will cover more than 75% of SPDC’s production potential.

Shell and Hydraulic Fracturing

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At Shell we have decades of experience with this technology and we continue to follow strict measures to protect drinking water supplies.

South Africa Endorses Plans For Karoo Gas-Drill Freeze, Ending Shell HopesBrand, Robert , Bloomberg.com, (2011)

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South Africa’s Cabinet endorsed the Department of Mineral Resources’ decision to declare a moratorium on natural-gas drilling in the Karoo region, halting plans by Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)Europe’s largest oil company.

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The department will lead an investigation into the implications of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that will include assessing the environmental effects, government spokesman Jimmy Manyi told reporters in Pretoria today.

“Cabinet has made it very clear that a clean environment together with all the ecological aspects will not be compromised,” Manyi said. The cabinet is aware of the “urgency that is required in this respect,” he added.

Royal Dutch Shell applied for permission to drill about 24 wells in an area of about 90,000 square kilometers (34,749 square miles). The company faces opposition in the sheep- and game-farming region, an arid stretch across northwest South Africa, from the Treasure the Karoo Action Group, which fears environmental damage.

See: Aragom Eloff. Ivo Vegter vs. the Fracking Fringe. 2011-04-18.

See: Julienned DuToit. Fracking the Karoo – The People Say No! 2011-01-31.

See: Lewis Pugh. Frack Off, Shell!. 2011-04-05

See: Donald Paul. Drill Baby Drill. 2011-04-18.

StatoilStatoil , Statoil – a leading energy company in oil and gas production, (2010)

Statoil is one of the large companies being investigated by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to see if the gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a hazard to groundwater drinking supplies.

Statoil is a multinational energy corporation based in Norway. In 2008, Statoil acquired a 32.5% interest in the Marcellus shale gas acreage from Chesapeake Energy Corporation.

See: Marcellus Shale Gas

Superior Well Services – Products – Fracturing SystemsSuperior Well Services , Superior Well Services – Products – Fracturing Systems, (2010)

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Superior Well Services is one of the large companies being investigated by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to see if the gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a hazard to groundwater drinking supplies.

Superior Well Services, Inc. board faces investor investigation.

After the announcement to take over Superior Well Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:SWSI) by Nabors Industries Ltd. an investigation on behalf of current investors of Superior Well Services, Inc. (Public, NASDAQ:SWSI) over possible shareholder claims based on breach of fiduciary duty by certain members of the Superior Well Services board of directors in connection with their attempt to sell Superior Well Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:SWSI) was announced.

If you are a current investor in Superior Well Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:SWSI) shares, who purchased your SWSI stock prior to Monday, August 09, 2010, and/or have information relating to the investigation, you have certain options and you should contact the Shareholders Foundation, Inc by email at mail@shareholdersfoundation.com or call +1 (858) 779 – 1554.

Fracturing Systems: Hydraulic fracturing is a process of pumping water, oil, and/or gases with a proppant at sufficient pressure to create a fracture in a chosen formation. The goal is to create and prop open the fracture.

Talisman Energy USA Inc. – HomeTalisman Energy, and Fortuna Energy , Talisman Energy USA Inc., (2010)

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On Aug. 2, 2010, Pennsylvania officials fined Talisman Energy USA, formerly Fortuna Energy, of Horseheads, N.Y., $15,506 for the November 2009 spill at the Klein gas well in Troy, PA.

DEP Officials say the spill of fluids used in the fracturing process polluted a small waterway.

“DEP’s investigation in late November 2009 determined that Talisman spilled between 4,200 to 6,300 gallons of fracking flowback fluids when a pump failed and sand collected in a valve,” said DEP North-Central Oil and Gas Program Manager Jennifer Means.

The fluids flowed off the well pad and toward a wetland, and a small amount ultimately discharged to an unnamed tributary to Webier Creek, which drains into the upper reaches of the Tioga River, a cold water fishery.

Talisman successfully completed DEP’s Act 2 process for spill cleanup activities.

Talisman Energy USA had 65 violations over the past 2 1/2 years, the fifth highest in the state of Pennsylvania, as reported in a a report released Monday by thePennsylvania Land Trust Association, which identified the Marcellus drillers with the most violations in Pennsylvania from Jan. 1, 2008 to June 25, 2010.

“Since 2002, Fortuna/TEUSA has invested in the Twin Tiers and become New York’s most successful natural gas producer.  On January 1, 2010 Fortuna Energy became Talisman Energy USA.”

Tennessee Gas PipelineTennessee Gas Pipeline , Tennessee Gas Pipeline, (2010)

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation, plans to increase the capacity of its 300 Line to transport new diversified natural gas supplies, including newly accessed Appalachian and Marcellus shale gas to serve the growing demand for interstate natural gas transmission service in the northeastern United States.

The BP Oil Spill (2010) has demonstrated that safety concerns in the drilling of oil and gas were not adequately regulated offshore.  Onshore accidents pose a risk that needs further study and monitoring.

St. Petersburg Times. Monday, July 26, 2010. “Oil companies’ gulf spill history is a dirty secret.”

The oil and gas industry’s offshore safety and environmental record in the Gulf of Mexico has become a key point of debate over future drilling, but that record has been far worse than is commonly portrayed by many industry leaders and lawmakers.

See Also: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Fire
Bay St. Louis, MS – EPA Region IV

At approximately 1630 hrs. on 7/6/04 an AST containing 2370 gallons of waste oil was directly struck by a lightning bolt causing the tank to explode and igniting a neighboring tank containing 3700 gallons of petroleum distillants. The waste oil tank was later located approximately 175 yards away from it’s pad. The waste oil was consumed in the fire.

Tennessee Gas Pipeline (Tennessee) is one of the five interstate pipelines that make up El Paso Corporation’s Pipeline Group. Tennessee is comprised of approximately 14,200 miles and 1.4mm certificated horsepower.

The pipeline stretches from the Mexican border to Canada. Tapping supply regions in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, Appalachia, and Canada, the Tennessee system serves markets across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions, including major metropolitan centers such as Chicago, New York, and Boston.

The Barnett Shale first fracing natural gas well in 1980 by C.W. and C.C. SandersSustainableAngels , YouTube, (2009)

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The Barnett Shale – the oldest producing well in the barnett shale is still producing from its primary pressure created by the frac job by Sanders and Son.

The Case of ChevronFriends of the Earth , Friends of the Earth, (2011)

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According to the EPA’s National Emission Inventory, Chevron was responsible for 4,030,422.95 pounds of green house gas emission pollution in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana in 2002.

Chevron was the first international oil company to operate in Nigeria and has, for almost 40 years of operations there, practiced the wasteful process of burning off of gas associated with oil drilling.

This gas flaring has resulted in the flaring of billions of cubic feet of natural gas. These flares have and are wrecking havoc on the air and water quality in the Niger Delta. Communities living near the flares are suffering from a myriad of health issues and are more likely to get cancer and suffer from asthma as a result of breathing flare smoke. Many flares have been burning for over 20 years and in locations only a few hundred yards from the center of the nearest village.

According to the Canadian Public Health Association, gas flares contain as many as 250 toxins and their smoke emits particulate matter—including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides and carcinogenic substances as well as unburned fuel components, including benzene, toluene, xylene, and hydrogen sulfide.Exposure to benzene and its metabolites causes acute nonlymphocytic leukemia and a variety of other blood-related disorders in humans.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency Flare smoke can cause aggravated asthma, increases in respiratory symptoms like coughing and difficult or painful breathing, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death.

Gas Flaring also causes acid rain, corroding roofs, acidifying lakes and streams and damaging vegetation. This acid rain, combined with frequent oil spills–totaling more than 10 Exxon Valdez spills–and dumping of toxic drilling waters into rivers has severely depleted fish stocks, which the people of the Delta rely on.

See: Chevron Human Energy Stories | Addressing Climate Change

See: Poison Fire

See: Rancho Los Malulos | A satirical view from the McGill Brothers Lease

See: Big Oil Goes to College

See: Natural gas: the commodity world’s ugly duckling

See: Controversial gas ‘fracking’ extraction headed to Europe

See: As You Sow – Corporate Accountability, Shareholder Action, and ToxicsReduction

The Warriors of Qiugang: 仇岗卫士 A Chinese Village Fights BackYang, Ruby, and Lennon Thomas , Yale Environment 360, (2011)

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Like many villages in China’s industrial heartland, Qiugang — a hamlet of nearly 1,900 people in Anhui province — has long suffered from runaway pollution from nearby factories.

In Qiugang’s case, three major enterprises with little or no pollution controls churned out chemicals, pesticides, and dyes, turning the local river black, killing fish and wildlife, and filling the air with foul fumes that burned residents’ eyes and throats and sickened children.

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This exclusive e360 video report, “The Warriors of Qiugang” — co-produced by Yale Environment 360 — tells the story of how the villagers fought to transform their environment, and, in the process, found themselves transformed as well.

The 39-minute video focuses on an unlikely hero — farmer Zhang Gongli, now almost 60, who leads the village’s fight to shut down the chemical plant. Soft-spoken and easy-going, but with a backbone of steel, Zhang — who has only a middle-school education — quickly learns how to use China’s more stringent federal environmental laws to put pressure on the factory owners and their cronies in local and regional government.

“We are sorry to be born in this place,” says Zhang, “but we had no choice. This was forced upon us.”

The camera follows Zhang as he deals with threats from local thugs, rallies his neighbors, and travels to Beijing, where he attends a heady meeting of China’s emerging environmental movement. Zhang — like so many other Chinese — finds himself plunged into a new and wholly unfamiliar world.

The Warriors of Qiugang, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

See: A Life’s Value May Depend on the Agency, but It’s Rising

See: Climate Co-benefits and Child Mortality Wedges

Triana EnergyTriana Energy , Triana Energy, (2010)

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In the class-action Tawney case (2009), in West Virginia, people who sold natural gas to Chesapeake and its predecessors — Triana Energy, NiSource Inc. and Columbia Natural Resources — alleged they were cheated out of some of their royalty payments, and the jury agreed.

Morgan Stanley PE committed funding to Henry Harmon’s Marcellus-shale-focused start-up Triana Energy LLC roughly a year ago, shortly before Kohlberg Kravis Roberts invested $350 million in Terrence Pegula’s Marcellus-focused East Resources.

Triana Energy is involved in the ongoing development of new energy resources in the Appalachian Basin.

Triana Energy and Marathon Oil Corporation Join Forces to Develop Marcellus Acreage

CHARLESTON, WV, February 3, 2011 Triana Energy, LLC andMarathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO), through a wholly owned subsidiary, have joined forces to develop approximately 82,000 acres of Marcellus prospects in Fayette County, Pennsylvania and several counties in northern West Virginia.

Triana Energy Investments, LLC is an independent, privately held oil and gas exploration and production company headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia. Marathon is an integrated international energy company engaged in exploration and production; oil sands; integrated gas; and refining, marketing and transportation operations. Marathon, which is based in Houston, has principal operations in the United States, Angola, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Libya, Norway, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

See: Jim Balow. “Doth Chesapeake protest too much?”. The Charleston Gazette. March 12, 2009.

See: Ken Ward Jr. “Roane Gas Royalties Deal OKd, NiSource, Chesapeake to Pay $380 Million, Drop Federal Appeals.” IStockAnalyst.com. Oct. 25, 2008.

U.S. Energy Development CorporationU.S. Energy Development Corporation , U.S. Energy Development Corporation | Strive for Excellence, (2010)

Meadville, Pa. —The Department of Environmental Protection has issued a cease and desist order to U.S. Energy Development Corp. of Getzville, N.Y., for persistent and repeated violations of environmental laws and regulations.

The order prohibits the company from conducting all earth disturbance, drilling and hydro-fracturing operations throughout Pennsylvania.

The 302 violations that serve as the basis for the order were documented over a period of two years, beginning in August 2007.

Buffalo News. “Protesters picket company looking to drill in Allegany State Park“.Apr 16, 2010.

AMHERST — About 50 protesters demonstrated this afternoon in front of the headquarters of the company that wants to drill for oil in Allegany State Park.

The demonstrators, most of whom were college-age, spoke out against U.S. Energy Development Corp.’s proposal to harvest gas and oil from mineral deposits below sections of the park.

U.S. Energy Development Corporation is “one of the largest drillers in both New York and Pennsylvania.”

Universal Well Services, Inc.Universal Well Services , Universal Well Services, (2010)

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Universal Well Services is one of the large companies being investigated by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to see if the gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a hazard to groundwater drinking supplies.

According to its website, Universal is a premier source for hydraulic fracturing, cementing, nitrogen and acidizing services in the Appalachian Basin.

With its corporate headquarters in Meadville, Pa, Universal Well Services, Inc has grown from 200 employees in 2002, to over 800 employees at the end of 2007.Universal Well Services is a division of Patterson-UTI, and the parent company of Eastern Reservoir Services.

Universal’s services in the Appalachian Basin include hydraulic fracturing, as well as acidizing, cementing and nitrogen services. Specialty services include engineering, chemical cleaning, jetting and high pressure pumping.

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