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Oil and Gas Roundup — August 9

August 09, 2013
TOPICS: In the news

A roundup of oil and natural gas news from around the state, nation and world:

Interior's Jewell visits Bakken oil sites


North Dakota is a "perfect example" of how new drilling technologies are reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.

Jewell met with state officials during a tour of oil and natural gas production facilities.


The state hosts the Bakken shale reserve formation, which the state government said last month helped it achieve record-breaking oil and natural gas production thanks in part to new drilling technologies like hydraulic fracturing.


"The Bakken boom is a perfect example of how new and improved technology is allowing industry to tap previously inaccessible or unknown energy resources to create jobs, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and grow our economy," Jewell said in a Wednesday statement.

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The shale revolution’s impact abroad


Americans tend to see the shale revolution as, well, an American story, a domestic and sometimes even divisive tale. But the impact of shale has a large and beneficial foreign dimension also.


Within the U.S., surging shale production wins support for igniting economic revival and unlocking indigenous supply; on the other hand, critics target hydraulic fracturing for such alleged offenses as endangering water supply, entrenching fossil fuel dependence, and generating ground tremors.


Yet unconventional U.S. energy production has much wider impact than this. In terms of global market share, shale development has propelled us into first place as the world’s largest natural gas producer. Ever larger amounts of American liquid natural gas (LNG) will be entering world markets in coming years.


Domestic oil production mirrors this trend. North Dakota’s Bakken formation, or Texas’ Eagle Ford field and other locations have changed the supply picture radically. U.S. daily production will soon eclipse that of Saudi Arabia, reducing our own and other countries’ external dependency, tempering world demand.


Constantly improving operational efficiencies plus better oversight are altering global shale economics. For example, a firm in Arkansas this year has cut the number of per-well drilling-to-production days, from 25 to just six. 

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Chesapeake drops N.Y. energy leases


Chesapeake Energy has given up a two-year legal fight to retain thousands of acres of natural gas drilling leases in New York state, landowner and legal sources told Reuters.


Landowners in Broome and Tioga counties, who had leased acreage to Chesapeake over the past decade, had battled the pioneering oil driller in court to prevent it from extending the leases under their original terms, many of which were agreed to long before a boom in hydraulic fracturing swept the United States.


But Chesapeake is now ready to walk away from the leases, according to a letter some landowners received two weeks ago from their attorney at Levene Gouldin & Thompson, potentially allowing the landowners to renegotiate new deals with other drillers at a higher rate, if New York state eventually ends a five-year fracking ban.


The decision, expected to be finalized next week, is a sign of energy firms' growing frustration over operating in the Empire State, where most drilling is on hold.


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David Letterman's latest stupid celebrity trick: Sowing confusion about hydraulic fracturing


Checking in on David Letterman for political insights is a little like seeking out Alec Baldwin for anger-management tips. But that doesn’t stop Letterman from spewing nonsense on issues about which he is amazingly ill-informed, such as the “fracking” process of harvesting natural gas deep beneath the surface of the Earth via hydraulic fracturing.

Letterman is one of many celebrities saying idiotic things about fracking, which has spurred a shale-gas industry that is now harvesting some $36 billion worth of clean-burning American fuel.


Letterman’s latest Stupid Human Trick of sowing confusion and fear about fracking came on his July 31 chat with guest Matt Damon, who last December starred in an anti-fracking film called “The Promised Land.” Letterman said, “This fracking, I’m tellin’ you, you get yourself on the wrong end of the fracking, it’s bad business! It is bad business!….But the fracking, I mean water is disappearing from the planet. I mean, we have poisoned and drained the great aquifers underneath the great plains, for heaven’s sakes.”


Since most of fracking’s most feverish opponents aren’t making the (ludicrous) claim that fracking (which doesn’t drain aquifers) is causing H20 to vanish from the planet, Letterman’s remark may be the new chart-topper on the list of the most ridiculously ignorant lies celebrities have ever told about fracking.


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