Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drinking Water Testing Baseline Testing of Private Wells Related to Marcellus Shale

Testing The Drinking Water - Private Well Testing related to the Industrial Development of the Northern Tier related to Natural Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale and other black shales.  The purpose of this posting was to make a few announcements:

1. New Website - Water Research Center -
2. New Website - Water Research Center - Citizens Database -
(Community Water Quality Database, Information on Baseline Testing, and More)
3. Third Party and Chain of Custody Services -
4. New Online Training Courses -
5. Water Treatment and Water Testing -
6. Private Well Owner and Watershed Survey for the Marcellus Shale Regions

Hope this webpages are useful.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carbon County Guardian Groups Rare Blood Disorder Polycythemia Vera

Rare blood disorder-

"Study will look at air and water quality
Reported on Friday, October 29, 2010
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Members of the Tri-County Polycythemia Vera Citizens Advistory Committee pose questions late Thursday to experts who will study the local air and water quality. From left: CAC chairman and Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison; Mark Ioos, vice president, Skelly and Loy, Harrisburg; Peter Jaran, engineer, Equity Environmental Engineering, Flanders, NJ; and Joe Murphy, CAC member.
A New Jersey firm will oversee a regional air and water quality study to try and find out why there is a higher then normal incidence of a rare blood disease in the local area.
The study, the first of a multifaceted investigation, comes about after cases of polycythemia vera, a rare blood cancer, have surfaced in clusters at an unusually high rate in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.

Peter Jaran of Equity Environmental Engineering, Flanders, N.J., will serve as project manager and will employ the expertise of a project team to include Skelly & Loy, an environmental consulting firm in Harrisburg; and Princeton Somerset Group, a firm headed by Dr. Dennis M. Stainken, providing expertise in the field of toxicology, health issues, chemical exposures, contamination and other issues.
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS “This is very personal to the community. We need to have open lines of communication,” says Peter Jaran, left, on Thursday at Tamaqua Borough Hall. Jaran, an environmental engineer from New Jersey, will serve as project manager in an air and water quality study as part of an investigation into a rare blood disorder that surfaced two years ago in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties. Shown right is Joe Murphy, Hometown, of the Citizens Advisory Committee.
The study will be funded through part of the $8M earmarked by Sen. Arlen Specter.
“We were awarded the contract with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the end of September,” said Jaran.
On Thursday, members of the Tri-County Polycythemia Vera Community Advisory Committee (CAC) took Jaran and Mark B. Ioos, vice president, Skelly and Loy, on a tour of the local area. The session was followed by a meeting at Tamaqua Borough Hall in which Jaran outlined the course of action and answered questions posed by CAC members. Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison serves as chairman of the CAC and moderated the session.
The goal of the assessment is to identify possible contributing factors of the PV cases and related myeloproliferative diseases (MPDs) and their possible link to environmental conditions in the area.

The discussion mentioned factors such as the presence of Superfund sites in the area, along with fly ash trucking and storage, and a wide variety of other industries such as co-gen plants, gas plants and manufacturers, and even the existing fluff pile in Hometown.
“We were originally looking at the drinking water,” revealed Jaran, noting that “the first step is that we have to take a look at the (existing) data. How does each one of the environmental aspects impact the human body.”
Hydrogeology has been identified as task one of the project, followed by air pollution exposure assessment. Air assessment will evaluate present and past exposures of cluster-area residents to specific air pollutants, including factors such as topography and air emission. Task three will focus on community interaction, including a working relationship with the CAC.
“This is very personal to the community,” said Jaran. “We need to have open lines of communication.”

That view was echoed by Morrison, who stressed the importance of timely dissemination of information to the public.
CAC members posed a wide variety of questions to Jaran and Ioos. For example, Hometown resident Joe Murphy, longtime advocate for a health and environment, asked Jaran if his firm or any of its clients might be seen as having a conflict of interest regarding aspects of the local study, including its outcome. Jaran said no, explaining that the potential issue already had been explored at Equity Environmental Engineering.
The air and water assessment study and other related studies will extend through 2011 and 2012.
During the business portion of the meeting, CAC members approved a request to the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for $25,000 in operational funding for both years.
Other studies are forthcoming. For example, Drexel University investigators will use a case control study to try and determine factors that may contribute to the PV cluster in the Tamaqua-Hazleton area by examining environmental and occupational histories of patients with PV and MPD-related disease and comparing them with those free of the diseases.
A University of Pittsburgh team will conduct a study that will compare PV rates in the Tamaqua-Hazleton area to those in four counties in the western Pennsylvania coal region to look for similarities and differences in the two areas that might provide clues to the causes of the disease.""

Few Points
1. Carbon County Groundwater Guardian Group - helped bring problem to the attention of the community.
2. Critical to get your water tested
3. Great Job to the Local Community - Community Advisory Committee


Brian Oram, PG

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dimock - Methane Proposed Water Line

DIMOCK TWP- Direct link to article

BY LAURA LEGERE  - This is not my work but the work of

"{A wealth of gas beneath this small Susquehanna County community has brought it a new industry, a national reputation for bad luck and a host of polarizing issues: the risks and damage to water, soil and air; the fair rate for leased land; the condition of the roads and the shape of the economy.
But nothing has defined the division in Dimock like a line that exists, for now, only on paper: a proposed $11.8 million water main to bring fresh water to 18 families with methane linked to gas drilling in their wells - a pipe that will travel along Route 29, the thoroughfare that cuts the township in two.
For the group of citizens and businesses called Enough Already that formed this month to oppose the line, the project represents a big-government solution that penalizes many taxpayers for the benefit of a few and threatens to drive away the gas companies that have brought them money or jobs.
For the residents who need the line - those whose water has been contaminated with methane the state found seeping from faulty natural gas wells - the opposition is an attack on their health and safety that comes after they have waited two years for clean water.

"To have neighbor go against neighbor - our own neighbors are doing this," said Norma Fiorentino, the retired nurse whose water well first drew the state's attention to the methane problem when the concrete slab above it was blown apart in January 2009.
"This is a real stab in the back for us," she said. "That was not our fault this happened."
'We're fed up'
Enough Already's two dozen core members met for the first time in early October, days after Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced a plan to use public financing to build the 12.5-mile waterline then sue to get the money back from Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., the company deemed responsible for the contamination.

The group declared its opposition to the line in an ad in the Mulligan's Shopping Guide, a Susquehanna County advertising publication, on Oct. 13. It began posting fliers with the same logo - a blue pipe labeled "water line" crossed out in red - in businesses and on public bulletin boards along the proposed route from Montrose to Dimock.
Dan and Gretchen Backer posted the fliers in the windows at the Inn at Montrose, the hotel and restaurant they bought and expanded since 2008 to serve the gas workers.
Mrs. Backer summarized the group's position: The state has "gone amok" by siding with families who are suing Cabot for contamination the driller says it did not cause and using the opportunity to demand a "handout" from a wealthy company in order to expand a public utility.
"There's just enough flags that say this is ridiculous," she said.
Before the lunch rush last Tuesday, she and Mr. Backer sat at a table in the tavern they renovated entirely except for the original bar made from wood reclaimed from a bowling lane.

The couple touts the fact that they have benefited from the influx of industry, and they think not enough is said about the good influence of gas drilling.

"Enough Already is enough with the negativity," Mr. Backer said. He fears the combination of state enforcement actions against the gas industry and a public perception of Dimock as a "wasteland" will kill the new opportunities.
"If they left, we're done. We fold," he said. "We can't survive serving steaks and cheeseburgers."
At Lockhart's - a combination tag and title business, gas station and diner about 2½ miles south on Route 29 - the Enough Already flier was posted last week on a cork board below another advertising a chicken-and-biscuit dinner.
Don Lockhart, the owner of the business for 26 years, sat on a stool at the lunch counter, where he keeps a petition asking the state infrastructure investment authority to deny financing for the project.
"They're going to shove this water down everybody's throats," he said. The affected residents should have clean water, he said, but the state should consider the impact on people who are not involved with the problem and think of less-intrusive options, like building a reservoir closer to the affected homes.
"All you're getting is the 'wah, wah' part of this," he said. "You're not getting any common sense. All you hear about is 'these poor people.' The people, we're fed up."
Residents without businesses also have signed on with the group, including at least three who have had replacement water provided by Cabot because they believe drilling has damaged the quality or quantity of water in their wells.
Martha Locey, a 78-year-old woman who lives on her family's farm in Hop Bottom, gave $20 - the money she had in her purse during the group's first meeting - to help pay for the Enough Already ad. Her farm's two water wells have had methane in them since they were drilled in the 1940s and 1970s, she said, and signed an affidavit for Cabot testifying to that fact.
"I came out with the truth, because I know it has been in the water," she said.
The company has used evidence of pre-existing methane to help prove its case that it did not cause the problems in the Dimock wells. It also paid Dr. Robert W. Watson, an emeritus professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State University, about $25,000 to review its materials and well-completion records. Dr. Watson concluded that Cabot's wells did not cause methane to seep into aquifers.
DEP counters Cabot's evidence with a photographic record of methane bubbling out of the company's gas wells, documentation of excessive well pressures, and isotopic analysis - a kind of chemical fingerprinting - that matches the gas in the affected water supplies with the gas coming from Cabot's wells.
DEP Secretary Hanger has explained that the waterline is the only remedy that will guarantee the families clean water - now and in the future - because there is no certainty that methane will stop migrating from Cabot's wells.
He also dismissed the conclusions reached by Dr. Watson.
"No surprise that his report supports the company that is paying him," he said in an e-mail.
'Stirring up trouble'

The most visible battle in Dimock has been the one waged between DEP and Cabot in press releases, public announcements, letters and ads.
Mr. Hanger sees evidence of Cabot's influence in the formation of Enough Already, an accusation the group and Cabot both deny.
"For Cabot to constantly stir up trouble is very disappointing," Mr. Hanger said. "They are doing everything to deflect attention from their own failings and creating distractions from the real issue here, which is they drilled bad wells."
The businesses hosting the Enough Already petition are either Cabot contractors or frequently do business with the company or its workers, he pointed out. One business, listed on the ad as Guy Parrish's, is hired by Cabot to deliver replacement water to families affected by the stray methane.
Cabot spokesman George Stark said the driller "does business with many Susquehanna County companies, having invested nearly a billion dollars in the region. Cabot did not ask businesses to participate in any organization or group in Susquehanna County, or anywhere else for that matter."
Harold Lewis, a resident who has worked delivering water to the affected homes, built a large handmade sign with the words "water pipe line" crossed out in black in his front yard just beyond a telephone pole wrapped with four No Trespassing signs.
The anti-waterline sign faces across the road toward two homes with tainted water.
"It's nothing against the neighbors or anything like that," he said in a hallway of Elk Lake High School after a meeting organized by Enough Already on Thursday night. "It's against the pipeline."
The Lewis family also had replacement water supplied by Cabot for several months after they noticed an odor in their well water. Mr. Lewis said he was just "nervous in the beginning," but tests show the well water is fine.
"I know all the neighbors think I'm mad at them - I'm not," he said. "They're probably mad at me now."
The meeting on Thursday was punctuated with shouts from members of the audience, many from outside the town or county, who wore blue ribbons in support of the affected families in Dimock.
As the meeting ended, those wearing blue ribbons looked warily across the auditorium as those without ribbons were being interviewed for television. On the other side of the room, audience members sympathetic to Enough Already mumbled on their way out the doors that the families' complaints were "all about the money." Others said the families were "pumping chemicals into their own wells."
Lynn Senick, a Montrose resident and critic of the industry, stood outside and touched the ribbon on her lapel.
"I hate the divisiveness and the lies," she said. "I hate that the DEP, their authority is being flouted and challenged. I don't like to walk down the street and feel like I can't talk to certain people, or that because I have this" - she pointed to her ribbon - "now I'm an enemy."
Residents who will be served by the waterline also recognized the stakes are higher than hurt feelings.

"If we have regulations and laws but DEP won't hold the gas companies responsible, we might as well have no DEP," said Victoria Switzer, one of the affected residents, who paused in the hall after apologizing to the presenters for the heckling from the families' out-of-town supporters.

"No laws, no regs, just gas," she said. "Welcome to Dimock."

Contact the writer:}

My comments
1. If the only contamination problem is methane - Why the water line?
2. It is likely that there is a hot spot- i.e., one or two wells that are the main source or pathway for the gas and then the gas is migrating from that point?
3. If the contamination is only methane- Why a pipeline?
4. Where is the gas analysis?
5. There must be more information and more contaminants?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Independent Water Testing in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Independent Water Testing Prior to Natural Gas Exploration and Development in Pennsylvania and the Marcellus Shale- Certified Third Party Independent Baseline Water Testing and Environmental Analysis Provided

B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. provides environmental consulting, expert witness, water quality sampling, independent baseline water sampling/ testing/analysis, chain-of-custody services, and education outreach services to landowners and other organizations. The primary focus of our outreach efforts is to aid in evaluating and documenting baseline environmental conditions, evaluate potential for environmental impact, educate citizens on the natural gas development, and assist municipalities/ citizen groups in planning related activities. Regarding the Marcellus Shale - We provide services throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania including Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike, Potter, Wayne, Wyoming, Susquehanna, and Tioga Counties, but we work on outreach programs throughout Pennsylvania- We work for the people.
A summary of the services provided by B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc. and its partners:

a. conducting baseline water quality sampling and monitoring and developing custom environmental monitoring/ assessment programs as part of a baseline water test;
b. expert testimony and professional consultant services;
c. environmental education and outreach;
d. conducting environmental assessments and inventories; and
e. implementing engineering controls and engineering design.
To adequately meet your needs - you must establish a baseline that does the following:

1. Addresses the existing condition of the groundwater source including volume and quality based on the existing or proposed usage and surrounding conditions. Therefore, a person with a quarry near their home and a spring - may need a different set a parameters than a person living in the middle of a 100+ acre forest.

(Pick the right parameters that meet YOUR budget, YOUR Need, and relates to YOUR situation - One package does not fit ALL).

2. Characterize your well - static and dynamic water level- measure flow or rate - calculate specific capacity.
3. Work with a "certified laboratory" using their technician or a technician that they approve or authorize.
4. The laboratory could be PADEP approve or Nationally Accredited and the laboratory must be certified for the specific methods or process your sample in cooperation with another laboratory that is certified for the necessary methods.
You can contact me at

Independent Water Testing / Third Party Sampling by a Licensed Professional

Over 20 years experience in geology, hydrology, and water quality related issues in Northeastern PA; expert witness, licensed water well driller, soil scientist, and much more.
Note: The PSU Approach may not be the best approach.

The State Certified Laboratories that serve Northeastern PA are (partial list):

Aqua-Tech Lab, Mountaintop, PA 868-5346

Benchmark Analytical, East Stroudsburg, PA, 421-5122

Kirby Health Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA 822-4278

Friend Lab Inc., Waverly, NY, 607-565-2893

Northeastern Environmental Labs, Scranton, PA, 348-0775

Quantum Labs in Dickson City, PA 570-489-6964

Hawk Mountain Labs 570-455-6011 (Hazle Township, PA)

Seewald Laboratories 570.326.4001 ( Williamsport, PA)

(always willing to update)
Do not be fooled - there are a number of "lab" websites. When you look deep enough- these are actually just collectors with little expertise in groundwater, water chemistry, and are not likely worth the money.

Marcellus Shale and Radiation Fracking Mobilizes Uranium UB Research Tracy Bank

Is it more hype ?  Based on a review of article posted on

The article - Actually a Press Release
"'Fracking' Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale, UB Research Finds
Release Date: October 25, 2010
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Scientific and political disputes over drilling Marcellus shale for natural gas have focused primarily on the environmental effects of pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground to blast through rocks to release the natural gas.
But University at Buffalo researchers have now found that that process -- called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking"-- also causes uranium that is naturally trapped inside Marcellus shale to be released, raising additional environmental concerns.
The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver on Nov. 2.
Marcellus shale is a massive rock formation that stretches from New York through Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and which is often described as the nation's largest source of natural gas.

"Marcellus shale naturally traps metals such as uranium and at levels higher than usually found naturally, but lower than manmade contamination levels," says Tracy Bank, PhD, assistant professor of geology in UB's College of Arts and Sciences and lead researcher. "My question was, if they start drilling and pumping millions of gallons of water into these underground rocks, will that force the uranium into the soluble phase and mobilize it? Will uranium then show up in groundwater?"
To find out, Bank and her colleagues at UB scanned the surfaces of Marcellus shale samples from Western New York and Pennsylvania. Using sensitive chemical instruments, they created a chemical map of the surfaces to determine the precise location in the shale of the hydrocarbons, the organic compounds containing natural gas.

"We found that the uranium and the hydrocarbons are in the same physical space," says Bank. "We found that they are not just physically -- but also chemically -- bound.
"That led me to believe that uranium in solution could be more of an issue because the process of drilling to extract the hydrocarbons could start mobilizing the metals as well, forcing them into the soluble phase and causing them to move around."
When Bank and her colleagues reacted samples in the lab with surrogate drilling fluids, they found that the uranium was indeed, being solubilized.
In addition, she says, when the millions of gallons of water used in hydraulic fracturing come back to the surface, it could contain uranium contaminants, potentially polluting streams and other ecosystems and generating hazardous waste.
The research required the use of very sophisticated methods of analysis, including one called Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, or ToF-SIMS, in the laboratory of Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Larkin Professor of Chemistry at UB.
The UB research is the first to map samples using this technique, which identified the precise location of the uranium.
"Even though at these levels, uranium is not a radioactive risk, it is still a toxic, deadly metal," Bank concludes. "We need a fundamental understanding of how uranium exists in shale. The more we understand about how it exists, the more we can better predict how it will react to 'fracking.'"
Bank conducted the experiments with UB Department of Geology graduate students Thomas Malizia and Lauren Fortson, and Lisa Andresky, an undergraduate student from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Andresky worked in Bank's lab during the summer while on a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates in UB's Ecosystem Restoration through Interdisciplinary Exchange (ERIE) program.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities."

My thoughts
1. We already know that Marcellus Shale and the flowback water and production water may contain radionuclieds and that it is highly variable.
2. This does not appear to be anything new or something that is not being told.  I do not believe it is fair to state a concern about the migration of radiation in the water.  If the water migrates - the biggest concern is not radiation.

3. Drilling and the drill cuttings are most likely the biggest issue and not fracking - this goes to show the importance of best management practices included closed loop driling and proper regulatory disposal or management of cuttings and fluids.

4. Radiation and treatment plants - it is likely at wastewater treatment plants - radiation will be follow a number of routes - airborne loss during aeration, coprecipitation/ settling of radionuclieds in the sludge along with other bioslimes and charged particles.   Therefore - it may not be advisable to monitoring just the effluent but some air monitoring and checking of the sludges.

Note: Looking for funding of independent research related to radionuclide management in production and brine water and tracking.


Links to good reports- by EPA on radiation and Marcellus Shale or Oil/Gas Development

Other Website Articles
Radon In Water  and Air

Online Training Courses in

Radon Inspection and Testing
Radiation the Silent Killer
Household Hazardous Wastes

Sunday, October 24, 2010

EPA Underground Injection Control Program- Few Points

What is the UIC program?

The  Underground Injection Control (UIC) program was established established under the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974.  The program is either managed by individual states or by regional EPA offices.   The program protects and is designed to prevent contamination of the  Underground Sources of Drinking Water (USDW) caused by the operations of an injection well.   A USDW is defined as an "aquifer or its portion which supplies any public water system, or contains less that 10,000 milligrams per liter total dissolved solids and is not an exempt aquifer."


The PADEP and EPA drinking water standard has drinking water should be < 500 mg/L- 99.95 % pure water.   1% contamination is 10,000 mg/L or 99% pure water.

Underground Injection Wells

Basically, injection wells are man-made or improved "holes" in the ground, which are deeper than their widest surface dimension and are used to discharge or dispose of fluids underground. When properly sited, constructed, and operated, injection wells can be an effective and environmentally safe means of fluid waste disposal. There are many different types of injection wells, but they are all similar in their basic function. The Federal UIC program has grouped injection wells into five types or Classes.

Class I wells are technologically sophisticated wells that inject large volumes of hazardous or non-hazardous wastes into deep, isolated rock formations that are seperated from the lower most USDW by layers of impermeable clay and rock. Although most hazardous waste fluids are treated and released to surface waters, Class I wells account for 89 percent of the hazardous waste fluids disposed of on land. Still, Class I wells inject mostly non-hazardous waste. For example, while all of U.S. industry together injects approximately nine billion gallons of hazardous waster each year, one state alone

Class II wells inject fluids associated with oil and natural gas production. Most of the injected fluid is brine that is produced when oil and gas are extracted from the earth (about 10 barrels of brine for every barrel of oil). The brine is reinjected to increase production, or for disposal. Some Class II wells are used to store hydrocarbon products. Class II wells inject 300 billion gallons of fluid each year. They comprise 41 percent of U.S injection wells.

Class III wells inject super-hot steam or water into mineral formations, which dissolves or loosens minerals, which are then pumped to the surface and extracted. Generally, the fluid is treated and reinjected into the same formation. More than 50 percent of the salt and 80 percent of the uranium extracted in the U.S. are produced this way. Class III wells comprise eight percent of injection wells in the U.S.

Class IV wells are defined in OAC 3745-34-04(D). Class IV wells are shallow wells used to inject hazardous or radioactive wastes into or above a geologic formation that contains an underground source of drinking water (USDW). In 1984, EPA banned the use of Class IV injection wells for disposal of hazardous or radioactive waste. Now, these wells may only be operated as part of an EPA- or state-authorized ground water clean-up action. There are about 32 waste clean-up sites with Class IV wells in the United States.

Most Class V wells are "low tech" holes in the ground, although a few are technologically advanced wastewater disposal systems used by industry. Generally, Class V wells are shallow and rely on gravity to drain or "inject" liquid waste into the ground. Examples of Class V wells include dry wells that collect surface water runoff and industrial, commercial, and utility disposal wells. A Class V well's potential to endanger a nearby ground water resource depends largely on the type and / or quantity of waste fluid it injects.

What is the difference between Class IV and Class V injection wells?

In general, both shallow Class IV and Class V wells inject fluids into or above the uppermost USDW and may be of similar construction, such as a septic system or dry well. The difference between Class IV and Class V wells is the quality of the fluid being injected. Class V wells may only inject non-hazardous fluids that will not endanger USDWs. However, if a Class V well is misused and receives hazardous waste (as defined by RCRA), the well would be considered a Class IV well and therefore be banned.
Class IV wells are prohibited unless the injection wells are used to inject contaminated ground water that has been treated and is being injected into the same formation from which it was drawn.

Comments- Taken from EPAs Website

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Conservation Pooling Forced Pooling in Pennsylvania - What is the Debate

" Landowners without gas leases could be compelled to allow companies to drill in the Marcellus Shale beneath their land under a procedure outlined in legislation proposed by two members of the state House of Representatives.

The Conservation Pooling Act, sponsored by state representatives Marc Gergely, D-Allegheny County, and Garth Everett, R-Lycoming County, which has not yet been introduced, would establish how gas companies form orderly units of land for developing the gas from the shale - a priority issue for the growing Marcellus Shale industry in the state."

The draft legislation would
1. Create an Office to oversee the process, develop a procedure that would put in place "forced pooling".
2. It is likely that this process - would provide some general provisions in the lease including bonus payments and royalities.
3. Industry indicates this is needed to minimize environmental issues  (???) - They are not specific about chemical usage.
4. The current bill requires an operator to have leases to drill on 75 percent of the land in a proposed unit .
5. Defines a standard drilling unit as 640 acres, establishes a notification and hearing procedure for objectors, sets a royalty of 12.5 percent for the gas produced, and protects an unleased landowner from having any surface impacts from the drilling.   (Guess what - royality payment is low - there has been deals that are as high as 25% - this is one of the problems- this approach prevents negotiation and in some cases could be used to force the hand of a private land owner that has access to a critical area - remember real estate is all about location, location, location.)
6.Three choices to unleased landowners who will be forced to join the pool-
a.  accept the terms of the lease offered to others in the pool;
b. pay their share of the costs of developing the well up front  (Really Now we are paying development costs) and
c. share in any profits; or share in the profits of the well after a penalty worth 400 percent of their share of the costs is deducted from their payments (Legisators are WORKING For Who?).

Guess What - I do not like forced pooling -and this proposal I like even less.
My thoughts
1. Forced Pooling - Ok may be needed but - the gas company should be required to own 90 % of the plot and not be permitted to use the surface for this additional area - no pipelines, compression stations, and not well sites.
2. Royality Payments - the payments should be market rate and be at a premium to the landowner.  This premium should be at least 25 %.
3. The landowner should not have to reimburse for cost of development.  Especially if the landowner is only getting wellhead price.
4. This right should not include other minerals or gas, have a depth provision, and the company should be prevented from any form of injection other than hydrofracing.
5. Agreement would need to have additional provisions and require the company to pay all growing greener fees or cost or fees, require long-term monitoring of surfacewater resources, and long-term assumed liability for the life of the well, plus 25 %.
6. Shut in fees need to be higher - and really account for the fact the company is using the well as a storage reservoir.  The fee should be based on a percentage of production prior to be shut in.  The minimum fee should be 25 % of production or should be a fee that approaches the storage cost for the gas.   They are leasing the space by shutting in the well and not paying rent.  Since the gas rights owner is only getting a portion of the wellhead price, the mineral rights holder is not truely benefiting from the value of storage.
7. Land owner should be given free gas or a flat check for the free gas provisions.
8. In addition to a bonus payment - land owner should receive a supplementary payment (tax free) to account for the landowner given access to something the landowner does not want to release but is being forced to release for the benefit of the community- This should not be a taking.
This is a working blog concept on forced pooling  - I would prefer not to have forced pooling.   Also, I do not think we need this regulation to promote horizontal wells.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pennsylvania House of Representative Passes Marcellus Shale Extraction Tax SENATE BILL 1155 by tight margin

On Wednesday the House of Representatives passed an extraction tax on the Marcellus Shale Development on deep gas drilling - The Vote was tight 104 - 94.  

This is difficult reading - but here it is:

I have not reviewed yet