PennStateHoops.com Discussion Forum

OT: PA Gas Industry


#1

An interesting piece. Smart woman.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/boom-times-hold_557021.html?page=1


#2

This subject is very controversial. There is this from PennLive:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/04/marcellus_shale_gas_drilling_d.html

I’d encourage everyone to seek as much knowledge as possible before jumping on one bandwagon or the other.

Here is an animated video demonstration of the fracking process:

http://www.oerb.com/Default.aspx?tabid=242

Note that in the article kid posted, fracking is described as “a technique called fracking, where treated water is pumped at very high pressure through a pipe thousands of feet underground to “fracture” the rock formation called the Marcellus Shale and loosen the natural gas trapped inside.”

“Treated water” is described in the video (from a gas company’s web site, so not a tree hugger) as a combination of water, chemicals and sand. I’m pretty sure it’s the “chemicals” that are causing the problem. Those chemicals end up in the ground and are never completely recovered. That, from my understanding, is what ends up in well water and causes problems. It’s also not clear what happens to the “treated water” that is recovered from the well. Some seem to think it is getting dumped into our rivers without being properly treated first. I don’t know what the truth is, so I try to take both sides of the fight with a grain of salt.

Bottom line is that if they continue to drill, there will be economic consequences. Whether they will be boom or bust is for you to decide.


#3

[quote=“mjg, post:2, topic:2320”]This subject is very controversial. There is this from PennLive:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/04/marcellus_shale_gas_drilling_d.html

I’d encourage everyone to seek as much knowledge as possible before jumping on one bandwagon or the other.

Here is an animated video demonstration of the fracking process:

http://www.oerb.com/Default.aspx?tabid=242

Note that in the article kid posted, fracking is described as “a technique called fracking, where treated water is pumped at very high pressure through a pipe thousands of feet underground to “fracture” the rock formation called the Marcellus Shale and loosen the natural gas trapped inside.”

“Treated water” is described in the video (from a gas company’s web site, so not a tree hugger) as a combination of water, chemicals and sand. I’m pretty sure it’s the “chemicals” that are causing the problem. Those chemicals end up in the ground and are never completely recovered. That, from my understanding, is what ends up in well water and causes problems. It’s also not clear what happens to the “treated water” that is recovered from the well. Some seem to think it is getting dumped into our rivers without being properly treated first. I don’t know what the truth is, so I try to take both sides of the fight with a grain of salt.

Bottom line is that if they continue to drill, there will be economic consequences. Whether they will be boom or bust is for you to decide.[/quote]

Not all the frack water ends up in the ground a good bit of it ends up coming back up. This water also leads to potential problems as it has to be stored until it can be treated. Then there are questions as to the health safety of the treated water that is put back in the streams.

And in the article kid posted it talked about the Delaware River Basin Commission was holding up progress because it had its own rules about drilling even though “Pennsylvania has developed safety standards and regulations for safe drilling.” Considering the big news a couple of weeks ago in Harrisburg on this was that “No environmental violations related to drilling in the Marcellus Shale may be issued without personal approval from Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Environmental Protection Mike Krancer,” there is great concern that Pennsylvania’s rules are not going to be enforced very well. Now if we could just get it so the State Police could not issue a traffic ticket until they got the permission of the PSP Commissioner, it would knock 20 minutes off the trip from Harrisburg to State College.


#4

Being from NEPA we are hearing a lot of information on the both sides of the gas industry.

Here is my stance.

  1. We should tax the drilling. All the talk that it will drive out jobs is simply hogwash. The Marcelleus Shale isn’t moving so the gas industry still needs to come here to get to it. And the taxes that PA imposes on the industry will simply get passed off to the consumers like it always does. So the State wins by getting added revenues.

  2. No matter what anyone says they will never recover 100% of anything they jam in the ground. Some residual will remain.

  3. Most of the water that needs to be treated will be shipped to local sewer authorities who are already at our near max capacities. Who is going to pay for the improvements needed to handle the influx.

  4. Also most of the areas being treated are in the Susquehanna Basin which empties into the Cheasepeak Bay. The Bay Authority is already on a campaign to improve water quality. How will this affect that?

  5. And I find this most important to most people. Some people are out for the royalties without worrying how it will affect well water supply and quality. While others just think the whole thing is awful and use the NIMBY approach. Now we are getting Townships and Boroughs and Towns addopting ordinances to control what drillers can and cannot do.


#5

There is this:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/04/pennsylvania_regulators_say_th.html

And this:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/04/shale_gas_worse_for_global_war.html

All interesting stuff. Not sure what I believe. I think there is a way for this to be a winner. We definitely could use the economic benefits of the jobs / wealth created in the state. But not at the expense of future generations having to pay for cleanup. At a minimum, we should be taxing at a high enough rate to cover the environmental damage the drilling will certainly cause.


#6

Here in SW PA, these drilling rigs are cropping up like weeds. I do a lot of cycling, and you see these all over the backroads of the area. Already there have been several issues here… explosion in Avella, spills of fracking fluid, illegal dumping of the fracking water in streams and rivers. Local residents are starting to take sides and create some interesting town meetings. Mount Pleasant township is in the middle of a zoning battle, and the drilling company (Chesapeake, I think) is starting to pit neighbor against neighbor, threatening to pull out all drilling in the township if any zoning is put in place to limit their drilling. I’ve been to a town meeting here that a drilling company held, and they didn’t leave me optimistic. The smell that these drilling platforms create is nauseating when you’re riding by. The roads get completely chewed up and destroyed by the water hauling and drill rigs. The dangers to people on these roads is significant. And we’re not taxing them, which is insane.

I am an environmentalist, but I’m a realist. The gas is there, and the technology is there to get it, so I realize that it’s going to move forward. But the ridiculous speed with which these things are going up is nuts. There’s no time to see what the impacts are. It’s like the Oklahoma land grab around here.

My small school is doing some long term monitoring of waterways in the area and the local ecology. While it will just be one data point for one small location, it will be interesting, and hopefully not too disturbing, to see what happens.

As a local, I’m very pessimistic. This may be good for the energy industry, but I really fear for the region.


#7

I am in the water industry and the frack water is bad stuff. What is going on up there with that is a COMPLETE failure by the EPA and government to regulate it. Essentially, politicians are looking the other way in order to keep drilling going and money coming in. The issue is the chemicals they use when they frack. They are NOT getting them out. Best case is they take them to a local sewer plant (who loves it because they get paid to take it) and dump it there. The problem with that is most of those chemical pass right thought the sewer plant and into the stream. Why you ask…because those chemicals aren’t currently regulated. Why aren’t they regulated, because there is NO reason for them ever to be in the water over the past 100+ years. Compare it to Miami having a snow emergency plan, they don’t have one because it is never going to snow in Miami. The chemicals aren’t currently regulated because there was no way there were ever supposed to be there.

Some companies are trying to partially treat the water, but it is expensive so it only goes partially treated.


#8

I’m a pretty low-government guy, but it seems to me that the powers in Harriburg are taking a big pass at this whole thing. For all the tax money we spend to have a big, full-time legislature, they should be 100% on top of this stuff, and they seem to be ignoring the whole thing.

It makes me think there’s more than just the rigs that have a foul smell to them. I have 0% confidence that our state politicians can do the right thing. I think we need to put a pipe deep inside the capital building and fill IT with high-pressure treated water :wink:


#9

Is this how Pegula made his money?


#10

Yes


#11

Pretty sure Pegula made his money by buying up land in the Northern Tier of Pa. and Lower Tier of NY at pennies/acre of what you can buy it now for and then unloaded the land when fracking became economically feasible. I think he set up an energy company, but he more or less speculated on the land.


#12
Is this how Pegula made his money?

Pretty sure Pegula made his money by buying up land in the Northern Tier of Pa. and Lower Tier of NY at pennies/acre of what you can buy it now for and then unloaded the land when fracking became economically feasible. I think he set up an energy company, but he more or less speculated on the land.

Two things.

One - he mostly bought the rights not the land.

Two - while there’s no doubt that the Shell paid the big bucks for the rights, Pegula has drilled a lot of wells too.


#13
[quote="FrankDrebin, post:9, topic:2320"]Is this how Pegula made his money?[/quote]

Pretty sure Pegula made his money by buying up land in the Northern Tier of Pa. and Lower Tier of NY at pennies/acre of what you can buy it now for and then unloaded the land when fracking became economically feasible. I think he set up an energy company, but he more or less speculated on the land.

Two things.

One - he mostly bought the rights not the land.

Two - while there’s no doubt that the Shell paid the big bucks for the rights, Pegula has drilled a lot of wells too.

Some follow up info on East Resources, the company that Pegula sold.

East Resources is the largest oil producer in the Appalachian Basin, producing approximately 3,500 barrels of oil daily.
East Resources owns and operates over 2,400 producing oil and gas wells in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Colorado and has active exploratory drilling programs underway in the Rockies


#14

More fodder.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704487904576267690277252796.html&ei=892qTa_BD7SG0QHzzJn5CA&usg=AFQjCNFBETmo22kb4NUHKK2ANKAOni6mkQ


#15

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/science/earth/17gas.html

From NY Times article dated 4/16/2011:

At one plant in Pennsylvania, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency revealed levels of benzene roughly 28 times the federal drinking water standard in wastewater as it was discharged, after treatment, into the Allegheny River in May 2008.

The E.P.A. is conducting a national study on the drinking water risks associated with hydrofracking, but assessing these risks has been made more difficult by companies’ unwillingness to publicly disclose which chemicals and in what concentrations they are used, according to internal e-mails and draft notes of the study plan.

Some companies are moving toward more disclosure, and the industry will soon start a public database of these chemicals. But the Congressional report said that reporting to this database is strictly voluntary, that disclosure will not include the chemical identity of products labeled as proprietary, and that there is no way to determine if companies are accurately reporting information for all wells. In Pennsylvania, the lack of disclosure of drilling ingredients has also incited a heated debate among E.P.A. lawyers about the threat and legality of treatment plants accepting the wastewater and discharging it into rivers.


#16

And more fodder…kind of.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QqQIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704013604576248881417246502.html&ei=6nerTZLcFMTX0QHSwsDKCw&usg=AFQjCNFAR6wRNgDv4mxw6dNGGPZVp4W-Ag


#17

As I pointed out earlier in this thread:

  1. Local municipalities are making BIG money taking this frac water into the sewer system by charging the drillers to accept it and it costs them nothing to treat it because all the chemicals that are in the frac water aren’t regulated in their discharge. So it literally is free money.

  2. Local politicians refuse to bring this up because the jobs and money being brought to these areas is gigantic and nobody wants to touch it.

  3. Why the EPA and state environmental regulators are doing nothing is beyond me. That is their job to regulate these things and protect the general population and environment.

If you guys remember the movie Erin Brochivich. Essentially what you have going on with these frac drilling and it is just a matter of time before the lawsuits really start pouring in.

And for full disclosure I am not a tree hugger and think that the nat gas drilling has to happen in order to help get a US energy source not relying on foreign oil But it needs to be done correctly and not have oil and gas companies making billions at the expense of people’s well being.


#18

Talk in Wilkes-Barre of treating frack water. Guess they are going to build an add on to the WVSA plant from the article. Growing up in Hanover Twp. I know the locals in and around the plant won’t be happy.

http://www.timesleader.com/news/Group_states_anti-frack_water_case_04-17-2011.html


#19

Pennsylvania Fracking Spill: Natural Gas Well Blowout Spills Thousands Of Gallons Of Drilling Fluid

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/20/pennsylvania-fracking-spill-gas-blowout-2011_n_851637.html

The Chesapeake Energy well in Bradford County lost control late Tuesday night.

From WNEP:

The well blew near the surface, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.


#20

[quote=“FrankDrebin, post:19, topic:2320”]Pennsylvania Fracking Spill: Natural Gas Well Blowout Spills Thousands Of Gallons Of Drilling Fluid

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/20/pennsylvania-fracking-spill-gas-blowout-2011_n_851637.html

The Chesapeake Energy well in Bradford County lost control late Tuesday night.

From WNEP:

The well blew near the surface, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.[/quote]

To be “fair and balanced”, there are other reports saying there wasn’t a “blowout”. However, it is still a very bad thing. Toxic chemicals definitely made it to at least one stream. And who knows how much damage this could cause. But let’s not charge an extraction tax to fund these cleanups. Let’s just pay the tab with our newfound wealth. ::slight_smile: