We are honored to have the Otsego County Conservation Association, the Otsego Land Trust and the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service of Otsego and Schoharie Counties co-sponsor our presentation at Foothills Center in Oneonta on January 17th at 7 PM. Come early and enjoy the band. Linger and ask questions moderated by Prof Ingraffea. Hope to see you at the show !
For Immediate Release: December 31, 2013
Shale gas potential in New York: Limited production doesn’t preclude possible negative impacts
ONEONTA – The likelihood of marginal shale gas prospects in New York State, which may in turn attract marginal drilling companies, is one of several possible scenarios to be discussed during a presentation on New York shale gas potential onFriday, January 17 at The Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market Street, Oneonta.
Lou Allstadt, former executive vice president of exploration and production for Mobil Oil in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, is among a team of analysts who have concluded that high-volume hydraulic fracturing of shale would be significantly less productive in New York than in Pennsylvania.
A gas drilling boom as described by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in its draft regulations – anticipated to extend throughout Central New York – is just not in the cards, said Allstadt, though intensive drilling in a small area near the Pennsylvania border is likely.
“If drilling and fracking in New York is allowed to proceed, it is also quite possible that there will be test wells drilled in other areas of the state, particularly by low-cost fringe operators who do not have multiple prospects to choose from,” warned Allstadt. “We should be worried about test wells in outlying areas – these companies will be looking to drill as cheaply as possible.”
Widespread problems associated with ancillary drilling activities such as water impoundments, compressor stations and waste disposal cannot be discounted, either.
“We are already seeing infrastructure impacts in New York State associated with drilling in Pennsylvania,” Allstadt explained. “If drilling does come to New York, these impacts will increase and the affects will be felt over a much wider area than just where the wells are located.”
“New York could end up with little of the purported benefits of gas drilling but many of the infrastructure and waste disposal issues,” Allstadt said.
Joining Allstadt on January 17 are presenters James “Chip” Northrup, retired oil and gas investor and former planning manager at Atlantic Richfield, retired Lockheed Martin systems engineer Jerry Acton, and geologist Brian Brock. The presentations and Questions and Answers will be moderated by Prof. Anthony Ingraffea.This event is a reprise of a forum held at Cornell University in Ithaca on October 30.
In his presentation, Brock discusses the major geological factors that influence the amount of gas which might be extracted from shale. He shows how these factors virtually eliminate the prospect for gas in some areas and why much less gas can be expected from wells in New York compared to the highly publicized gas wells producing high yields in Pennsylvania
“The Marcellus Shale gets thinner and shallower as it crosses the border into New York resulting in significantly less gas production than in Pennsylvania,” said Acton, who analyzed production data from more than 1,500 Pennsylvania wells.
By analyzing Pennsylvania well productivity as a function of Marcellus shale depth and thickness, Acton was able to project well productivity for similar Marcellus depths and thicknesses in New York.
The Marcellus shale extends northeast from West Virginia through eastern Ohio, across most of Pennsylvania and into central New York. From Pennsylvania it gets thinner and shallower going northward into New York.
Acton’s analysis showed that the highest yields are seen where the Marcellus shale is deepest and thickest at the intersection of Bradford, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties in Pennsylvania. Based on this comparison of geology to production levels, Acton projects that a few towns in New York’s Southern Tier would have below average productivity, while the rest of New York’s Marcellus shale would have low to very low productivity.
Data from exploratory wells and industry investment activity in New York supports Acton’s projections.
“By 2008, a number of oil and gas companies drilled hundreds of vertical wells that either specifically targeted the Marcellus or Utica shales or which had to pass through them,” explained Allstadt. “Long before the de facto moratorium on hydrofracking came into effect in 2010, many industry players had already determined it wasn’t worth investing in New York shale plays, and they began investing elsewhere.”
“The remaining well permit applications listed by the DEC are largely concentrated in a small area near the Pennsylvania border. These southern tier areas will remain uneconomic as long as more productive wells are active in Pennsylvania and other states,” Allstadt stated.
“Surface restrictions, such as steep slopes, setback requirements and watershed protection areas further constrain where drilling can occur,” said Northrup.
“Water withdrawals, compressor stations, pipelines, drilling wastes, road damage, and relatively little gas production; that is what to expect in New York if high-volume hydrofracking is permitted here,” Northrup added. “There will be little economic gain to offset the risks to water, land, air, municipal infrastructure and public health if hydrofracking in shale is allowed in New York State.”
“Prospects for Shale Gas in New York” is co-sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego Land Trust and Cornell University Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Darla M. Youngs, Executive Director
Otsego County Conservation Association
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