Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WSJ Video Report Focuses On Shale Natural Gas Boom And Rust Belt Growth

The Wall Street Journal has produced a video story that focuses on how "cheap" natural gas from eastern shale seams may fuel growth in the Rust Belt. "A natural-gas drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale is pushing down manufacturing prices and creating jobs," WSJ reporter Ben Casselman reports from Beaver County, Penn.

Click to see this story.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Non-Government Studies Indicate Marcellus Reserves Much Larger, 'Grossly Underestimated'

Two, non-government studies of the reserve potential of the Marcellus natural gas field indicate that the region may hold even more vast energy deposits than first thought.  One study, done by Standard & Poor's, states that the sprawling Marcellus shale "could contain recoverable resources equal to almost half of the current proven natural gas reserves in the U.S."

A second analysis of Marcellus reserve data was done recently by ITG Investment Research, and that firm's findings indicate federal government estimates of Marcellus reserves "are grossly understated."

The S&P report notes that the decline in natural gas prices is hurting drilling activity, but this activity should resume, particularly in the Marcellus, once prices rebound:
"Spot natural gas prices are currently below our $3.50/mmBTU long-term price deck, so many operators have put drilling activity for dry gas shale on hold, even in the Marcellus. However, the lower costs associated with development and production of the Marcellus shale means operators are likely to resume drilling in that region first if and when natural gas prices improve. Thus, we believe the Marcellus will be one of the first areas that operators will return to if and when natural gas prices improve, as we expect they will over the next 12-18 months."

Click to read the text of the S&P report and click to read the entire report.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

WV DEP Still Trying To Fill Oil, Gas Inspector Positions

The West Virginia DEP continues to have challenges with hiring additional oil and natural gas inspectors, according to a recent interview with W.Va. Public Broadcasting.  The agency has been working to hire seven additional inspectors, but so far has only filled two positions.  The agency said the available interested candidates either cannot pass the required exam or don't have the qualifications. 

In the meantime, the agency is continuing to review and issue drilling permits. Even though there is a backlog on well permits, a DEP spokesperson said the hiring process and need for additional inspectors hasn’t impacted the permit process.

Click to read the entire article.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Richard Gottlieb To Be Panelist At AAPL's 2012 Appalachian Land Institute

Richard Gottlieb, who heads LGCR's natural gas practice, will be speaking at the 2012 Appalachian Land Institute conducted by the AAPL, the American Association of Professional Landmen.  The institute is being held on October 11-12 in Washington, Penn. Gottlieb will be part of a panel discussing the comparative oil and gas law.  He will be joined by attorneys from other states - Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Because so many land professionals are working in several Appalachian states, the panel will be comparing and contrasting the critical elements of land and lease law in the various states.

Friday, October 5, 2012

USGS Releases Recoverable Reserve Estimates For Utica Formation

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that the Utica Shale rock formation in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states holds 38 Tcf reserves of natural gas and nearly one billion barrels of oil.  Today the USGS released its first reserve estimate for the Utica. 

Click to read the USGS press release -

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Office Of Oil & Gas Files Horizontal Well Control Act Rule For 2013 Legislative Consideration

The W.Va. DEP, Office of Oil & Gas has submitted its legislative rule that was developed as part of the 2011 passage of the state’s new Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act.  The rules, which govern the development of horizontal oil and natural gas wells in West Virginia, now will be considered by lawmakers during the 2013 session of the West Virginia Legislature. 

The DEP’s rule makes modifications to the existing emergency rule and expands on the Natural Gas Horizontal Well Control Act in the following areas: erosion and sediment control plan; site construction plan; water management plan; well site safety plan; casing and cementing standards; well records, including records and disclosure of fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing process; water supply testing; and construction standards for large wastewater pits and freshwater impoundments.  The department notes that the “changes were made due to comments received.”

To see the final rule and its changes, please link on this web site and then click on the MS Word document of the “Agency Approved” document for 9/14/2012.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WV DEP To Host Oil, Natural Gas Workshop On October 24

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will be conducting an oil and gas industry workshop on October 24, 2012 at the Flatwoods Days Hotel and Conference Center.  The workshop will begin at 8:00 am and conclude at 3:30 pm.  While having an emphasis on horizontal well issues, a broad range of topics will be covered.  The primary audience is expected to be those that are involved in operational and permitting details, which may include contractors, consultants, etc. 

Space is limited...and pre-registration is required. The DEP is asking companies to limit the number of attendees to no more than five.  The agency will consider an additional workshop at a later date if needed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Overview of Well Work Permit Appeal Case Developed By Lewis Glasser's Natural Gas Practice

On September 25, 2012, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals heard Martin et al. v. Hamblet, a certified question revolving around a surface owner’s right to appeal the issuance of a well work permit based on a per curiam opinion, State ex Rel. Lovejoy v. Callaghan, 576 S.E.2d 246, 213 W.Va. 1 (2002).  Richard Gottlieb, who heads LGCR's natural gas practice, argued the case on behalf of the natural gas producer, EQT.

Provided is a link to an overview of the case that has been prepared by Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC: of surface owner right to appeal arguments.pdf