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Natural Gas NOW Picks of the Week – January 27, 2018

natural gas now - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Natural Gas NOW readers pass along a lot of stuff every week about natural gas, fractivist antics, emissions, renewables, and other news relating to energy.

Here’s more material sent along by Natural Gas NOW readers; great stuff highlighting the power of natural gas and the absurdity of fractivism. Check out the links and other short bits below:

Elon’s Government Scams Bite Him in the Behind

Elon Musk’s SpaceX was unable to perform a rocket test fire as a result of the recent “government shutdown.”

Engadget reports that SpaceX, the space exploration company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has been unable to perform the static fire test of their new Falcon Heavy rocket due to lack of ground support from the U.S. Air Force’s s 45th Space Wing and NASA following the recent government shutdown…

Despite being a private company, SpaceX requires government assistance for nearly all of their rocket test launches and static fires. Three of Elon Musk’s companies, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX, have also received approximately $4.9 billion in funding from the U.S. government. The Los Angeles Times reported on SpaceX’s funding saying “On a smaller scale, SpaceX, Musk’s rocket company, cut a deal for about $20 million in economic development subsidies from Texas to construct a launch facility there. (Separate from incentives, SpaceX has won more than $5.5 billion in government contracts from NASA and the U.S. Air Force.)”

Natural Gas NOW

This is the guy Andrew Cuomo is depending upon? His substitute for natural gas development that would have required no subsidies? Seems the whole thing could blow up, just like the SpaceX launch above.

Appalachian Gas Fields: The World’s Most Innovative

Facts you probably didn’t know about Marcellus and Utica Shale (Appalachian gas) production that appeared in a recent OilPrice.com article:

  • Production has surged over 85% since 2014.
  • The region produces more gas than all other shale plays in the US combined.
  • While rig numbers decline, production per well has increased, reaching a record high of 26,027 mcf/day last month.
  • A new Marcellus gas well today yields almost twice as much gas as the same well in the Haynesville field, East Texas (2nd largest producing gas region in US).
  • Arrival of super laterals ( as long as 20,000 feet long), multiple well drilling ( typical pad currently expected to contain dozen wells), proppant with the latest crush resistance and high conductivity allowed Appalachian rig operators to yield an average 60% more gas per well compared to 2014 levels.
  • It currently takes just few days as opposed to months to complete a well, all the while achieving 50% increase in efficiency of a drilling operation.
  • Since 2011 the average drilling cost in Southwest Pennsylvania has gone down 71% while the average lateral length increased by a whopping 9,500 feet.
  • Marcellus and Utica gas have been consistently trading with a discount to the Henry Hub price, making them a distinct bargain.
  • During the polar vortex in winter 2014 gas prices in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina spiked to almost $100/mmbtu, while in Pennsylvania they remained 1/10 of that price level.
  • Massachusetts, although located next to the nation’s largest gas producing region, absurdly relies on LNG imports and hence is vulnerable to price spikes during winter months (as we just saw).
  • Pipelines will pass along the benefits of cheap gas to undeserved markets and the expected net energy savings for the states of Virginia and North Carolina from the Atlantic Coast pipeline, for instance, will be $ 377 million annually.
  • In 2015, the Transo pipeline reversed gas flows for the first time in 50 years and, today, Marcellus and Utica gas is increasingly serving the growing LNG, power and industrial demand load in the Gulf Coast.
  • In the Mid-West, Marcellus molecules are increasingly displacing Rockies gas as a dominant supplier of Illinois market with a large demand center in Chicago.
  • Spurred by favorable economics and build-up in pipeline capacity, Appalachia currently supplies 4@% of US gas demand with further expected growth in 2018.

How about that?

The Gas Fields of the SRBC Region Contribute the Clean Water Downstream

The Pennsylvania DEP) just issued a news release indicating their water quality report to the EPA has been approved. Guess what it says about the Susquehanna River Basin (SRBC) region (emphasis added):

Water chemistry was collected at all four community drinking water intakes in the lower Susquehanna to determine if the levels were acceptable when compared to criteria in 25 Pa. Code §93.7, Table 3. All sample results were within the applicable range, so four segments totaling 34 stream miles are attaining the Potable Water Supply Use

With the exception of the mainstem Susquehanna River from Sunbury to Holtwood Dam, tributaries and other portions of the river have been fully assessed for aquatic life use. There are generally fewer impaired tributaries in the upper portions of the Susquehanna and West Branch Susquehanna River basins, which contribute water to downriver reaches that meet water quality standards. As the Susquehanna River flows south through its middle reaches, the number of impaired tributaries increases; therefore, the percent contribution of these waters to the Susquehanna River also increases.

Yes, the gas fields portion of the Susquehanna, the upper portions of the watershed, provide the clean water downstream that offsets water from impaired tributaries in the lower reaches, allowing our Governor to drink the water in Harrisburg.

Natural Gas NOW

The Susquehanna River water Governor Wolf drinks, ensured potable by clean water from the gas fields further north.

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