Weekly Clips

As a member service, each Monday we provide a roundup of articles of significance to Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry that have appeared in newspapers within the region during the past week. Click on an item’s heading to read the article online. The past two weeks’ reports are included. Note that some news websites archive or remove articles after a short period. We try not to include articles that require a subscription to read.

January 19-25

01-25-2015 Ex-COO of Indiana County drilling firm gets 8 years for $9 million embezzlement
A former top executive of an Indiana County gas drilling company was sentenced today to eight years in federal prison for stealing $9.2 million from the company over an eight-year span. As his adult children cried and hugged in the gallery, U.S. District Judge… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-25-2015 Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
Defining wastewater disposal in the Marcellus shale fields has been a moving target. Drillers initially sent millions of gallons to public water treatment plants, until regulators said the plants were not equipped to properly clean the salt- and metal-laden water that comes from shale gas wells. The… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-25-2015 North Dakota oil boom attracts crime
Police Chief Art Walgren knew how much the oil boom had changed this once sleepy town when he spotted something that would have been unheard of not long ago: license plates from Sinaloa, Mexico, home to one of the world’s most violent drug cartels… - AP
01-25-2015 Energy industry says it’s on top of methane leaks, but environmentalists want oversight
Harnessed and burned, methane can power a city — but when it leaks from a well into the air, methane pollutes badly. That cost-benefit balance is a cornerstone of debate between environmentalists who say emissions from gas drilling are rampant and dangerous, and the oil and gas industry that says it’s under control…. - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-25-2015 Shale development slowing due to market prices
Preparing for a slump in natural gas prices, which nosedived in December, a Findlay Township-based shale development company has halted drilling new wells for five months in Butler and Armstrong counties. The company, PennEnergy Resources LLC, has braced itself for reduced… - Beaver County Times
01-23-2015 Chevron laying off 162 as activity slows in Western Pennsylvania
Energy giant Chevron Corp. plans to lay off 162 workers in Pennsylvania as part of an effort to “restructure” its underperforming Marcellus and Utica shale operations in the region, a company spokesman said Thursday. The company said in November that it planned to restructure its Appalachian… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-23-2015 Separate train incidents injure one person, spill ‘frac sand’
The railroads around southwestern Pennsylvania were a train wreck Thursday. Literally. A train collided with a delivery truck in Baldwin Borough on Thursday morning, hours after a train derailed in Uniontown, spilling seven carloads of “frac sand.” In the two incidents, only the truck driver in the Baldwin Borough wreck… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-23-2015 Ligonier Township zoning map advances
Ligonier Township’s new zoning ordinance and map have been recommended by the planning commission for approval by supervisors with two comments for changes. Amid verbal outrage from members of the public, the board unanimously voted to move the documents on to the supervisors provided that unconventional… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-23-2015 Lower Saucon passes resolution opposing PennEast gas pipeline
That the PennEast Pipeline is not welcome in Lower Saucon Township was made clear Wednesday when council approved a resolution opposing the 108-mile natural gas line that would cut through the southern part of the township. The measure was met with some applause after it was approved in a 4-0 vote…. - Allentown Morning Call
01-23-2015 State settles with anti-gas group in surveillance suit
WILKES-BARRE — A local environmental group reached a settlement in its lawsuit against a state agency and intelligence contractor that monitored their activities and shared them with law enforcement and the natural gas industry. The Luzerne County-based Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition and its attorney,… - Scranton Times
01-23-2015 Natural gas looks for users in flooded market
What’s proven good for natural gas customers has proven a crisis for the natural gas industry. National gas exploration companies tapping into the Marcellus Shale and other unconventional formations have been so successful, they have driven down the price, hurt their own bottom line, and are looking for expanded… - Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice
01-23-2015 DEP begins setting up silica study in Tunkhannock
TUNKHANNOCK — Near the site where trains hauling sand for the gas industry will transfer their loads to trucks, air quality specialists with the state Department of Environmental Protection set up a portable weather station Thursday. Instruments strapped to a truck-sized white box with a protruding silver… - Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice
01-22-2015 Penn Township looks to ban fracking within 600-foot buffer zone
Penn Township commissioners voted Monday to relax proposed setback requirements for Marcellus Shale gas drilling, reversing an earlier decision to increase them by hundreds of feet. Reverting to their initial proposal, commissioners plan to ban hydraulic fracturing operations within a 600-foot buffer zone around homes, schools… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-22-2015 Shale sector won’t gut area workforce
Shale gas companies have started dialing back on spending to help offset a sudden drop in prices, but analysts don’t expect wide-scale layoffs and shutdowns in Appalachia like those prompted in other areas by the oil crash. “Gas prices were already depressed, so Marcellus operators already were… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-22-2015 House approves bill to fast track natural gas pipelines
WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House has easily passed a bill designed to expedite the approval of natural gas pipelines… - AP
01-22-2015 Power plant proposal aired in open forum in South Huntingdon
Brian Kraszewski said he is worried that a natural gas-fueled power plant proposed to be built within a quarter-mile of his South Huntingdon home will spread polluted air into his house, affecting his children’s health and lowering his property values. “I’ll look right at it. I have to worry about the pollution. I would be… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-22-2015 Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition holds meeting in the Back Mountain
When Williams Atlantic Sunrise originally approached Dale Wilkie, Lake Street, Dallas, in April of 2014 regarding placement of pipeline through his property, Wilkie said they couldn’t have been nicer. Now, almost a year later, Wilkie said, the company has threatened to take… - Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
01-22-2015 Senate committee endorses Yaw leaseholder protection bills
HARRISBURG – Two bills that will work to protect natural gas leaseholders in Bradford County and across Pennsylvania were unanimously approved by the state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, according to committee Chairman, and prime sponsor, Gene Yaw (R-23)…. - Towanda Daily Review
01-22-2015 Liberty OKs oil and gas lease with Huntley & Huntley
Liberty is the latest community to approve a new nonsurface oil and gas lease agreement with Monroeville-based Huntley & Huntley Inc. Council unanimously voted in favor of the agreement Monday. Borough Solicitor George Gobel said the company could use 3 acres along… - McKeesport Daily News
01-22-2015 Lancaster County pipeline opponents weigh options
COLUMBIA – A Lancaster County community continues to stand united against a proposed natural gas pipeline. They came together Monday night, two weeks after eight people were arrested in Conestoga Township while protesting where Williams Partners workers were… - Carlisle Sentinel
01-22-2015 Anti-fracking activists want Gov. Tom Wolf to listen to their message over campaign contributions
Supporters of the gas drilling industry donated nearly $1.5 million to Gov. Tom Wolf’s election campaign, according to a new study released by an anti-fracking organization Thursday. The study, released by Food and Water Watch and Berks Gas Truth, identifies… - Harrisburg Patriot-News
01-21-2015 W.Va., Noble negotiating deal for drilling under river
MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia is negotiating a lease with Noble Energy for oil and gas drilling under the Ohio River… - AP
01-21-2015 Schlumberger pays $1.7B for stake in Russian energy company
Schlumberger will spend about $1.7 billion for a minority stake in a big Russian energy company at a time when that country’s relations with the West are under strain and as energy prices hit multiyear lows. Schlumberger said last week that it would cut 9,000 jobs in response to… - Washington Observer-Reporter
01-20-2015 State pushing compressed gas fueling stations for transit
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is moving ahead with a plan to have private developers build compressed natural gas fueling stations at public transit garages. The department announced last week that four teams of private developers would be invited to submit proposals to design, finance, build, operate and… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-20-2015 Peters residents opposed to fracking turn out for public hearing
Even in a land of natural gas riches, some residents of Washington County want to keep drilling out of their backyards. The vast majority of more than 60 residents who attended a public hearing Monday in Peters expressed a desire for the township to remain free of… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-20-2015 DEP awards grants for natural gas vehicles
Giant Eagle and Waste Management are two local organizations among 18 in the state that the Department of Environmental Protection awarded part of $7.3 million in grant money for the companies to purchase vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. The third dispersal of Act 13 funding also could… - Washington Observer-Reporter
01-20-2015 Poll: New York voters approve of Cuomo’s fracking ban
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (AP) – A poll has found that New York voters support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban shale gas development using high-volume hydraulic fracturing… - AP
01-20-2015 ‘Ban fracking now’ protesters urge Gov. Wolf at inauguration
“Ban fracking now” shouted protesters during Gov. Tom Wolf’s oath of office from Soldiers’ Grove, who promised it will be words he will hear throughout the coming year. After a morning rally at Grace Methodist Church on State Street, a group of about 250 from new statewide coalition Pennsylvanians Against Fracking… - Harrisburg Patriot-News
01-19-2015 Pipeline forum draws hundreds to Hunterdon County
Hundreds of opponents to a controversial pipeline turned out Thursday at an informational forum and rally in Hunterdon County ”If we can stop them before they file with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that’s our goal,” Nancy Wilson, a member of Concerned Citizens… - Easton Express-Times



January 12-18

01-18-2015 Fracking debate intensifies in Western Maryland
With natural gas drilling on the horizon in Western Maryland, dairy farmer Billy Bishoff welcomes the chance to supplement his income by collecting lease or royalty payments on the natural gas that lies beneath his family’s 330 acres a few miles northwest of Deep Creek Lake. The gas, locked far… - Baltimore Sun
01-18-2015 Complicated by drilling boom, a chronic housing shortage in Greene County gets new attention
It began in 2005 as an ad hoc collection of trailer hookups tucked away in a backyard in Jefferson Township. Now an RV campground, it flourishes by luring prospective campers with all the amenities: shower facilities, coin-operated laundry, a community room and flexible rates for daily,… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-18-2015 Thousands laid off in oil industry as crude price plunges
The first thing oilfield geophysicist Emmanuel Osakwe noticed when he arrived back at work before 8 a.m. last month from a short vacation was all the darkened offices. By that time of morning, the West Houston building of his oilfield services company was usually bustling with workers. A couple of hours later, after a… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-18-2015 PGW sees a future in liquefied natural gas
Now that the dust has settled over the failed privatization of Philadelphia Gas Works, the city-owned utility is exploring a new business venture that may take it into uncharted commercial territory. PGW announced last week that it was accepting nonbinding proposals from… - Philadelphia Inquirer
01-18-2015 PennDOT soliciting project ideas for natural gas fueling stations
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has asked four engineering teams to submit proposals for the establishment of natural gas fueling stations at public transit agencies around the state that would also be available for use by the public. The teams include Clean Energy, of Newport Beach, California; GP… - Harrisburg Patriot-News
01-18-2015 Grant to fuel construction of compressed natural gas fueling station in Centre County
As more public vehicles make the conversion to compressed natural gas in the county, the need for more fueling stations is growing. A planned CNG fueling station to be constructed at the the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority got a funding boost Thursday, according to… - State College Centre Daily Times
01-18-2015 Range Resources to pay $1.75M in DEP settlement
Range Resources entered a $1.75 million settlement agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection for exceeding the company’s water-withdrawal limit and failing to submit the appropriate records. The consent agreement, signed last week, includes an $800,000 fine and a… - Washington Observer-Reporter
01-16-2015 High radiation not a byproduct of shale drilling, DEP finds
A multiyear study by the state Department of Environmental Protection has found there is a low risk of radiation exposure related to Pennsylvania shale gas development. The peer-reviewed report analyzed naturally occurring radioactive material, or NORM, present in the deep shale and other rock formations where oil and… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-16-2015 Range Resources cuts spending plan amid low prices
Pennsylvania’s most prolific shale gas driller dialed back 2015 spending plans Thursday because of low natural gas prices, following a general belt-tightening among energy companies across the country. Fort Worth-based Range Resources Corp., which has a regional headquarters… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-16-2015 Ligonier Township planners reconsider Marcellus shale drilling map
The Ligonier Township planning commission is making several revisions to a draft zoning ordinance and map for Marcellus shale drilling. The board met for a work session Wednesday night to review the drafts with zoning consultants, solicitor Michael Korns and zoning officer and township… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-16-2015 PennEast releases an updated pipeline route
PennEast has updated the preferred route of its 108-mile-long natural gas pipeline. It still cuts through the heart of Northampton County. Most of the changes in the Lehigh Valley could be described as tweaks. One of the most obvious takes the route to the east of Route 33, away from St…. - Allentown Morning Call
01-15-2015 Obama sets date to cut emissions of methane from gas wells
The Obama administration set a goal Wednesday of cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by nearly half in the next 10 years with a proposal targeting new wells. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will propose rules this summer to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas wells, compressor… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-15-2015 Trafford residents concerned about gas drilling plans in nearby Penn
Some Trafford residents talked Monday about their fears of a plan for Marcellus Shale gas drilling nearby. The proposed drilling site, on farmland in the Level Green area of Penn Township, is less than 2,000 feet from a subdivision of dozens of homes within Trafford boundaries…. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-15-2015 Residents divided over South Strabane drilling ordinance
Proposed changes to South Strabane Township’s oil and gas ordinance appear to have stalled amid concerns by some township residents who think the rules need sharper legal teeth and complaints by others who say it goes too far in regulating the drilling industry…. - Washington Observer-Reporter
01-15-2015 Range Resources wants to limit subpoena for air tests
Attorneys representing Range Resources in an ongoing court case surrounding an Amwell Township well site want a judge to limit or temporarily halt a subpoena served to a Pittsburgh-based company that performed air quality tests at several Range sites last year…. - Washington Observer-Reporter
01-15-2015 All flaring not illegal, DEP expert says
An environmental expert said all wellpad flaring has not become illegal despite new EPA rules that took effect Jan. 1 Edward Orris, air quality program manager for the Meadville office of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said that while the… - New Castle News
01-14-2015 Power plant closures quench demand for Pennsylvania’s coal
More than 100 coal-fired power plants nationwide either plan to shut down or already closed their doors in 2014, as the market responds to stricter environmental regulations, cheap natural gas and lackluster electricity demand growth, according to a survey done by the Energy Information… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-14-2015 Natural gas storage is up, but prices are trending down, EIA says
Natural gas in storage is up, but warmer-than-average weather is keeping that gas in place. Natural gas inventories held 3.09 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as of Jan. 2 — that’s 250 billion cubic feet (Bcf) above last year’s levels, but 70 Bcf below the average of the last five years, according to the U.S…. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-14-2015 Clean Air Council suggests emission controls for Shell cracker
The Clean Air Council on Tuesday released a report and a set of recommendations for Shell Chemical LP as the company evaluates building a large petrochemical complex in Beaver County. The Philadelphia-based nonprofit surveyed local residents and researched health and environmental conditions around Monaca, where Shell has proposed… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-14-2015 Consol Energy exec Dugan optimistic about natural gas drilling
Consol Energy enters 2015 having for a year honed its natural gas operations and strategy. The company began drilling at the Pittsburgh International Airport in July, corralled its natural gas pipeline operations in a spin-off partnership with Noble Energy in September and has plans to start a second one focused… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-14-2015 Peters Township explores natural gas drilling
McMURRAY – Drilling for natural gas has the potential of generating thousands of dollars for Peters Township property owners who have signed leases with drilling companies. The catch, however, is if – or when, or even how – drilling will take place in Peters…. - Washington Observer-Reporter
01-14-2015 Judge allows negligence claim against Cabot Oil to proceed
A Dimock Twp. couple who say Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.’s drilling contaminated their well water can proceed with a negligence claim, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III on Monday agreed with a magistrate judge’s recommendation that Scott and Monica Ely had presented… - Scranton Times
01-14-2015 Study: High levels of pollutants from drilling waste found in Pa. rivers
New scientific sampling and analysis has found high concentrations of ammonium and iodide, two potentially hazardous pollutants, in oil and gas well drilling wastewater discharged into streams and rivers in Pennsylvania and other states. The peer-reviewed study, which will be published this week in the journal… - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
01-14-2015 ‘Show the power:’ Anti-fracking protesters to rally at Pa. inauguration
When Gov.-elect Tom Wolf takes his oath of office on the Capitol steps during his inauguration, he may have to do so over the shouting of anti-fracking protesters. Environmentalists have sent email blasts and posted their plans online to hold a rally at the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg to protest fracking…. - Harrisburg Patriot-News
01-14-2015 Port Vue signs oil and gas lease agreement with Huntley & Huntley
A new nonsurface oil and gas lease agreement between Port Vue and Monroeville-based Huntley & Huntley Inc. could net the borough at least $160,000 — provided it has mineral rights for about 40 acres of borough-owned property. Council president Mark Tortorice said he hopes that is the case after… - McKeesport Daily News
01-12-2015 Energy producers secure funds via master limited partnerships
Low oil and natural gas prices have pummelled shares of energy companies but there is one investment generating a lot of excitement: master limited partnerships. These publicly traded entities allow energy companies to unlock value in their pipeline and storage business while saving millions in taxes. Energy… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-12-2015 Center for Sustainable Shale Development aims to raise standards
Two years after a group of environmentalists joined forces with four natural gas producers to set standards for the shale drilling industry, organizers of the collaboration stopped to consider a few important questions. “It needed someone to take a look at the organization to say,… - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
01-12-2015 Former Hazleton City Landfill at center of drill cuttings dispute
HAZLETON — Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, a non-profit organization representing the interests of the North American waste service industry, appealed a decision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approving Hazleton Creek… - Wilkes-Barre Times Leader