PA: Brine Is Not For Drinking

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that wastewater produced in Pennsylvania might be radioactive:  "Millions of barrels of wastewater trucked into Ohio from shale-gas wells in Pennsylvania might be highly radioactive, according to a government study."  Fortunately, it's being disposed of through injection wells to formations thousands of feet below the surface.  "Michael Snee, the Ohio Department of Health’s radiation-protection chief, said that’s the safest place for brine.'Injection wells are almost the perfect solution for that disposal issue,' Snee said."

Whew ...

Prices Driving Oil and Gas Development

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting article on how development is moving west from Pennsylvania to Ohio.  It starts:  "If you're looking for a shale success story, look no farther than Lisbon, a small town that's hit it big. *** Local roads have been transformed from gravel to asphalt. There's talk of widening Lincoln Way, the main thoroughfare, to four lanes. And three new restaurants have opened -- including The Shale Bar and Grille, a nod to the industry that's making all this possible. *** It's everything the proponents of natural gas development have promised Pennsylvania. There's only one problem: Lisbon is in Ohio."

A problem?  Not really.  The explanation:  "But as a glut of natural gas drives prices down, drillers are increasingly willing to shoulder the cost of processing wet gas in exchange for the valuable liquid hydrocarbons that come with it, including ethane, propane and butane."

Read the whole thing.

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Ohio: New Industry Severance Tax?

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the Kasich Administration may be contemplating new taxes on the energy industry in Ohio to fund tax breaks for others:  "Sources tell The Dispatch that the Kasich administration, in its negotiations with oil and gas producers to revise the state’s severance tax to include natural-gas liquids, has discussed using the cash to implement an across-the-board income-tax cut."

Reminds of the Golden Goose fable.  The President of Ohio's Oil and Gas Association had a good reply:  "'There’s an old adage in life: If you want less of something, then you tax it,' said Jerry James, president of the Oil and Gas Association and president of Artex Oil Co. in Marietta."

[Update:  For more, see here - "Oil and natural-gas drillers in Ohio (STOOH1) would pay a severance tax as high as 4 percent to fund income- tax cuts under a plan Governor John Kasich will unveil next week, according to an administration proposal obtained by Bloomberg News."(Bloomberg).]

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Ohio Economic Impact Study

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce has released an economic impact study for shale development in Ohio (see here).  From the report's executive summary:

Interesting.

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Wastewater Disposal - Ohio

We've noted before that Ohio will not allow POTWs to be used for the disposal of wastewater (see here, e.g.).  You might be interested to know that Ohio EPA has asked the Environmental Appeals Review Commission to vacate as unlawful the permits issued to the city of Warren, Ohio, and Patriot Water Treatment, LLC, to allow such disposal:

Revised Code 1509.22(C) specifically states that brine may only be disposed of by one of the following three methods:  (1) underground injection; (2) surface application on roads for dust control and ice; or (3) any other method approved by the Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management ***.  Disposal of brine wastewater through a wastewater treatment plant and discharge to waters of the state is not an authorized method of disposal under R.C. 1509.22(C), unless and until the Chief *** approves this technology.  At this time, no such approval has been given.  (Emphasis in original.)

For the filing, see here.

New Marcellus Shale Estimate

This is a large increase:  A Penn State University geoscientist estimates that there may be more than  360 Tcf of natural gas recoverable in the Marcellus Shale.  This is seven times greater than his earlier estimate.