Game Commission OKs gas lease in Washington Co., amends lease in Greene

The state Game Commission said Wednesday it approved an oil and gas agreement with Chesapeake Appalachia for 1,200 acres of land comprising State Game Land 232 in Donegal and Independence townships in Washington County. The commission also announced an amended lease agreement with Chevron for state game lands in Greene County.



Game commission OKs drilling underneath game lands near school

The Pennsylvania Game Commission board Tuesday approved a Texas company's bid to extract oil and natural gas from state game lands in Lawrence County two days after it received a petition bearing nearly 5,000 signatures opposing the move. "The least they should have done is put a 'wait' on this vote," said Volant resident Carrie Hahn, who, along with Suzanne Bobosky-Matteo, has circulated the petition that was submitted to the commission Sunday at its meeting in Harrisburg.



DEP pulls permit, to allow comment

The state Department of Environmental Protection has rescinded a Marcellus Shale wastewater treatment permit that would have allowed a New Jersey company to spread chemically contaminated salts on roadways, sidewalks and fields statewide. The DEP pulled the permit, issued in August to Integrated Water Technologies Inc., after admitting the required public notice about the permit did not accurately describe the permitted activity and the department hadn't fully considered the impact on the environment.



Billions in gas drilling royalties transform lives

Private landowners are reaping billions of dollars in royalties each year from the boom in natural gas drilling, transforming lives and livelihoods even as the windfall provides only a modest boost to the broader economy. In Pennsylvania alone, royalty payments could top $1.2 billion for 2012, according to an Associated Press analysis that looked at state tax information, production records and estimates from the National Association of Royalty Owners. For some landowners, the unexpected royalties have made a big difference.



NiSource to spend $1.5B on pipeline upgrades

The parent of Columbia Gas Transmission said Friday it has won federal approval for a plan to spend $300 million a year through 2017 on improvements to its Appalachian pipeline system. Indiana-based NiSource Inc. said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the plan for Columbia Gas Transmission's lines in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Kentucky. Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Staton says the $1.5 billion investment will help ensure safer, more reliable pipeline infrastructure for customers and the communities across the region.



Fifteen-year deal to ship ethane via Marcus Hook

A European petrochemical producer has entered into a 15-year agreement to ship Marcellus Shale ethane to Norway from a Sunoco Logistics terminal in Marcus Hook. INEOS Europe, which is based in Switzerland, announced that it has signed a deal with Evergas, a Danish shipping company, to build and operate vessels to transport super-cooled ethane to chemical plants called "crackers" in Europe. Ethane, a derivative of natural gas, is used to manufacture plastics. Sunoco Logistics is modifying a pipeline to deliver ethane and other shale-gas products from western Pennsylvania to the former Sunoco refinery site in Marcus Hook.



UGI pushes ahead with pipeline plans

Although plans for a natural gas compressor station in West Wyoming are temporarily on hold, UGI Energy Services still plans to construct a pipeline that will provide UGI Penn Natural Gas customers with gas from Northeastern Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. "We're moving forward with the pipeline regardless," said Kevin Kelleher, manager of producer services for UGI Energy Services Inc. in Wyomissing. The company plans to run approximately 28 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline from an existing facility in Washington Township, Wyoming County, to connect to a UGI utility line and the Transco interstate pipeline in West Wyoming.



Yearlong study to test radiation levels in oil and gas equipment and waste

The state Department of Environmental Protection has announced a yearlong study of radiation levels in equipment and wastes associated with oil and gas development it says will be the "most extensive and comprehensive" ever conducted. The regulatory agency announced the study Thursday and said it will test radiation levels at dozens of well pads, wastewater treatment plants and waste disposal facilities statewide.



PUC ups fine against UGI over fatal Allentown gas blast

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday raised the financial penalty against UGI Utilities to the maximum $500,000 for the February 2011 natural gas explosion in Allentown that killed five people and leveled half a block. Under the original terms of the settlement, announced in October, UGI was to pay a $386,000 fine and speed up replacement of cast-iron pipes.



Cumberland County OKs $50K of Marcellus shale money for farm preservation; $350K on hold

Cumberland County commissioners voted 2-1 today to use $50,000 of its $400,000 in Marcellus shale funding for the county's farmland preservation program. Before the commissioners hand over the remaining $350,000 to the Land Partnership Grants Program, they want to review the program's operational guidelines to verify that it's a fit for Marcellus shale funding, said Stephanie Williams, the county's greenway and open spaces coordinator.