Noted Houston geologist John J. Amoruso passed away Jan. 29 at age 87.

The AAPG Foundation was scheduled to honor him later this year with its highest award—the L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal—at its annual convention in Salt Lake City in May. Amoruso had previously served as AAPG president in 1982-83 and was awarded the Michel T. Halbouty Outstanding Leadership Award from the organization in 2007, among many other industry awards and recognition. He also received the Col. Edwin Drake Legendary Oilman Award from the Petroleum History Institute in 2013.

Amoruso had a lifelong love of and career in geology after receiving his master’s degree in geology from the University of Michigan. He began his career with Pan American Petroleum (later it become Amoco), but went independent in 1969. He was active exploring in several states and discovered numerous fields.

Source: Daily Dose of News


Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) recently released projections for the 2017 Act 13 Impact Fee that will be disbursed in April 2018. Based on these projections, the Commonwealth can expect just under $219.4 milliona $46 million-plus increase over the 2016 disbursement ($173,259,000). This will bring the total amount paid in Impact Fees since 2011 to nearly $1.5 billion.


Note: 2011 distribution was $204,210,000 and 2012 was $202,472,000.

Marcellus Shale Coalition president Dave Spigelmyer issued the following statement about the report and the Impact Fees overall:

“Pennsylvania’s natural gas tax provides critical funding for community and environmental programs across the Commonwealth. This report, along with strong support from local leaders, demonstrates the benefits and effectiveness of this tax, which will total nearly $1.5 billion since 2012. Additional and higher energy taxes jeopardize these local benefits and jobs, along with the significant cost-savings that families are seeing in their natural gas and electricity costs.”

As Spigelmyer mentioned and can be seen from the above chart, the bulk of this “critical funding” goes to the local municipalities and counties with shale development.  For instance, the two counties with the most wells drilled in the state — Bradford and Washington — have received about $33.9 million and $26.5 million, respectively, in 2011-2016 disbursements.

Further, those amounts don’t even include Impact Fee money distributed to individual municipalities within those counties. Municipalities in Bradford and Washington counties received an additional $4.4 million and $5.7 million, respectively, in the 2016 disbursement alone.

Every county in the state receives some portion of the Impact Fee, but there is no denying that the majority of this money stays in the communities where – as the name of the tax implies – there has been the most shale development or impact. And that money has helped those counties and communities to make significant improvements.

Pa. Rep. Jonathon Fritz testified at the recent Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Hearing in Waymart on the differences in this distribution between counties in his district with shale development, such as Susquehanna, and those that don’t have shale development, such as Wayne County:

 Wayne County receives approximately $100,000 per year in Act 13 monies – that’s versus $8 million in Susquehanna County. Folks, $8 million in a rural economy, that translates into real tax relief.” (emphasis added)

The DRBC, of course, has prohibited Wayne County from developing its potential shale resources via a de facto fracking moratorium that could soon become a permanent ban.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will issue the official Impact Fee distribution amounts in April, and if these projections are accurate, these monies will once again provide an important source of revenue for the Commonwealth, particularly in Marcellus Shale counties and municipalities.

Source: Daily Dose of News

Posco Daewoo, the trading arm of South Korean steel giant Posco, is seeking to expand its energy business, specifically in the natural gas sector, the Korea Herald reported.

The company’s CEO, Kim Young-sang, attended Baker Hughes, a GE company’s annual meeting in Italy, as a panelist to discuss global energy trends, the company said.

As the only Korean panelist, Kim spoke about successful business models to cope with changes in the energy industry, the Herald reported.

Kim’s attendance at the event reflects Posco Daewoo winning recognition from major companies as an energy service company following its successful natural gas development and operations in Myanmar, the firm said.

Kim also met Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman of Baker Hughes, to discuss possible business partnerships, it added.

Last week, the company said it would establish an integrated energy value chain that will encompass gas production, trading and power generation, Kallanish Energy learns.

Posco Daewoo will take part in 10 new gas production projects over the next five years, with a goal of becoming a global exploration and production firm, it said.

Source: Daily Dose of News

By Rick Hiduk

While a crew from SWN (Southwestern Energy) was breaking for lunch at Germana’s Pizzeria in Nicholson just before noon on Jan. 23, a potential disaster was unfolding in a relatively small stream nearby. Temperatures had risen into the 40s that day, and rain that fell overnight was unable to soak into ground frozen solid during a cold spell.

“Everyone starting noticing that all of the ice had lifted up to the bridge in under an hour, and the water was backing up,” said Dave Bowman, production supervisor at SWN’s regional office on Route 92, where the employees returned and told him of the unusual situation.

Within an hour of that, normally tranquil Martins Creek, which meets Tunkhannock Creek on the south side of the borough, was overflowing its banks and stretching out onto Water, Williams, Oak, Market, and Walnut streets towards homes and businesses. Nicholson United Methodist Church was also in the path of the rising waters and thick chunks of ice.

Alarms literally started going off everywhere. Wyoming County EMA director Gene Dziak and county commissioner Tom Henry were both on the roads to Nicholson in short order. PennDOT received a call from EMA operations training manager Dave Carichner, and their officials arrived in Nicholson as low-lying flooding expanded.

Bob Thorn drove south from Susquehanna County, where he was met by PennDOT Wyoming County assistant maintenance manager Manny Menendez, who had stopped first to check on potential flooding along Route 6 in Tunkhannock Township.

It was clear that the creek was clogged with ice and that the water had nowhere to go but backwards and higher. According to Menendez, PennDOT granted Dziak’s request to close Route 92 over concerns that the bridge at Martins Creek might be compromised.

Penn Dot also responded with a crew and a Grade-All excavator. “We attempted to start breaking up the ice jam. It worked momentarily, but it backed up again,” said Menendez.

“PennDOT had some machinery here, but it couldn’t reach out into the creek,” Bowman concurred. The dire situation would require collaboration that is customary in the gas fields, when energy companies rely on local businesses for support. Bowman put in a call to Bill Ruark of Meshoppen Stone to see if he had a long-arm excavator available.

“They are difficult to find. There aren’t too many around,” Bowman said of the excavator and its 75-foot extension. Ruark was away on vacation but took Bowman’s call and quickly had his son, Ryan Ruark, on the task of moving the needed machinery from Lawton to Nicholson.

The two hours it took to bring in the excavator seemed like an eternity to Bowman, Dziak, and Nicholson officials like Bob McClain, the borough’s emergency management director. But it also gave them time to coordinate the efforts of a growing army of volunteers.

“Within an hour, SWN was mobilizing equipment, resources and people to help us in any way that we needed,” recalled Nicholson mayor Charles Litwin. In the meantime, the water was rising about three inches per hour, and the scope of the crisis was becoming more grim with each passing minute. Water was surrounding homes and flooding basements. “We were looking at a major financial disaster.”

Additional fire companies arrived with pumps and worked side-by-side with Nicholson firefighters to empty basements, including that of borough council president Dawn Bell. The influx also brought people with specialized skills, like logger Ben Ryan of RHL Companies of Montrose, who removed a large sycamore tree just downstream that was seen as a hindrance.

Smaller pieces of equipment provided by Harold Luther and Sabuacak Excavating still proved valuable, as they pulled the heavy buildup of ice away from the creek banks.

“Without these guys, we would have been screwed,” Bell stated matter-of-factly three days later, as several of those most heavily involved in the incident reconvened along Water and Williams streets for a debriefing.

“The goal Tuesday night was to relieve the pressure off town and give the water a path to run for the night,” said Bowman, adding that it was a “now or never” situation.

Finally, as midnight approached, the operator of the long-arm was able to punch through a wall of ice and allow the water that was unable to reach Tunkhannock Creek to flow across a relatively flat empty expanse behind the Methodist Church where homes stood prior to a 2004 flood.

“We freed that last bit of ice, and the water moved through like a freight train,” Bowman remarked.

“Had that not happened, we would have water onto Main Street by Wednesday morning,” Litwin stated.

“Within minutes, the water level in town dropped two feet,” Bowman recalled. “We weren’t even sure the next morning where it all went.” Nonetheless, no major rises were reported downstream, which was a serious concern for the contractors and emergency management officials throughout the ordeal.

Bowman called the crews off at midnight, but they returned at dawn on Wednesday to find their channel blocked and the water slowly rising again.

“The creek was being stubborn,” said Dziak.

Workers wasted no time cutting a series of breaks into the ice jam, which now also fully involved Tunkhannock Creek. Temperatures were plummeting, and the frozen debris was becoming harder to move all the time.

The work continued through nightfall on Thursday, Jan. 25, when the decision was made to widen a channel in Tunkhannock Creek off the end of Factory Street that the churning water was already carving, diverting the stream into a natural overflow bed on the far side of a small island. Dziak was in communication with DEP throughout the efforts and relaying the successes Bowman and his ad hoc crew were having in diverting the crisis.

“A key piece of the puzzle was the gas industry stepping up,” said Dziak, citing SWM, Cabot, and Williams among the major players. Dziak was also grateful for the commitment of PennDOT’s Bob Thorn. “He stayed with us through the entire event.”

For Bowman, suspending some of the company’s operations during a time of crisis was a natural course of action. SWN’s Tunkhannock Branch office is just west of Nicholson on Route 92, and the company employs a number of local residents, including recent graduates of Lackawanna Trail High School.

“These are our citizens and neighbors,” Bowman stated. “We weren’t going to let them get flooded out.”

As of Jan. 26, officials were grateful that no residences or businesses took water into the first floors and were relieved by near normal water levels in the two creeks. But neither were they resting on their laurels.

Another thaw and some rain were in the forecast for the weekend, and nobody was sure how stable the walls of ice still lining the creeks would remain under those conditions. Given the uncertainty, the long-arm that saved the day and another excavator remained at the ready, and residents were keeping their wary eyes on the water.

“We couldn’t have had the outcome we did without these fine folks,” Commissioner Henry said of SWN, Williams, Cabot, PennDOT and all of those who helped them. “I’ve gotten so many calls from the citizens of Nicholson thanking us for being out there, but the credit goes to them.”

Henry said that the weekend had given him time for reflection on the community effort and the crisis that was diverted.

“People often come down hard on the gas companies, but they are such an asset to the county,” he remarked. “Nicholson could have been devastated, and we would have come to work on Monday, scrambling to figure out how we were going to pay for this. It made what we do so much easier. They were amazing.”

Photos and Captions:


Nicholson borough council president Dawn Bell (foreground), mayor Charles Litwin (center) and SWN production manager Dave Bowman review the process of how the ice jam on Martins Creek was dissolved from a point along Water Street close to where the water was allowed to flow away from town.


The borough of Nicholson in northeastern Wyoming County could have sustained major damage and incurred substantial financial distress on Jan. 23 when an ice jam in Martins Creek started to flood the town.


The backlog of ice was preventing Martins Creek (foreground) from flowing properly into Tunkhannock Creek, though both were bank-full at this point.


Quick action by SWN, with additional support by Williams and Cabot helped to save the day, especially when this long-arm excavator was brought in by Meshoppen Stone from Susquehanna County.


The long-arm worked into the evening on Jan. 23 until a hole could be punched int the ice wall to allow the flood waters to drain out of Nicholson.

nich-flood-2.jpg bridge-ice-pile.jpg

The famous Tunkhannock Viaduct at Nicholson can be seen in the background when the town was still under seize by tons of ice and again after the ice had been moved into piles.


The final solution to getting the water away from town was to widen a natural overflow of Tunkhannock Creek just southwest of Nicholson on Jan. 25.


A pair of excavators, including the long-arm remained at the ready on Jan. 26 due to forecasts of more rain and another thaw over the weekend that, thankfully, never materialized.


Looking upstream from the Route 92 bridge on Tuesday afternoon.

Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) will sell a 7.5% stake in the Tamar natural gas field offshore Israel to Tamar Petroleum Ltd. for about $800 million in cash and shares, the Houston-based oil and gas producer said Jan. 29.

Noble will receive $560 million in cash and 38.5 million shares of Tamar Petroleum.

The deal allows Noble to cut its holdings in Israel’s only commercial gas field to 25% from 32.5%, complying with government plans to open the market to competition.

Source: Daily Dose of News

After months of political theater from national ban-fracking activists at Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) hearings, it appears the commission has adopted a new process to help ensure constructive dialogue and increase opportunities for public comment at its meetings.

Leaders of “Keep-It-in-the-Ground” (KIITG) groups don’t exactly seem to be thrilled with the change. The Colorado Independent reports that “next time you want to voice an opinion or concern to state oil and gas regulators, you’ll want to plan ahead.” As a general rule of thumb, isn’t it wise to “plan ahead” before you speak, whether it’s on oil and gas or any other topic? Just saying… but that’s neither here nor there.

Activists complained to the Colorado Independent that although the hearings have been “a pretty chaotic experience” these new rules are “shameful” — more than likely because they could pose difficulty in staging more theatrical stunts.

Micah Parkin, executive director of 350 Colorado, and one of the ringleaders for the group who is resurrecting a failed ballot measure once again in 2018, told the Colorado Independent about her grievances with COGCC’s new streamlined public comment procedure.

“They specifically reference that it’s in response to so many people turning out to these hearings,” she says. “As more and more of the public is trying to be heard, they’re choosing to listen less, not more… It’s really quite shameful.”

An anti-fracking activist out of Broomfield commented on the COGCC’s new rules as reported by the Colorado Independent:

“Broomfield resident Jean Lim, who has attended multiple COGCC hearings over the past year and a half in response to oil and gas development near her neighborhood, says she has witnessed public comment periods go well over two hours. She admits that the packed meetings can be ‘a pretty chaotic experience,’ but doesn’t think the new policy will change that.”

EID has witnessed firsthand many of these theatrical performances by ban-fracking groups. Recall the meeting where activists wore masks. Yes, medical masks were passed out by an operative from D.C.-based national anti-fracking group Food & Water Watch (F&WW), who told activists to decorate their masks with anti-fracking rhetoric meant to symbolize the “toxic” air in Colorado caused by what one reporter called “oil fracking,” whatever that is.


Source: CBS4 Denver

To be sure, the anti-fracking theatrics aren’t exclusive to the COGCC hearings — KIITG activists perform their stunts everywhere, with an eye on getting media attention.

As another example, there was the recent PR fail made by anti-fracking group East Boulder County United, which protested at the wrong house.

Source: East Boulder County United Facebook. Click here for the full video.

Source: East Boulder County United Facebook. Click here for the full video.


Source: Denver Post

But it appears many of these bad actors were not in attendance at the last COGCC flowline rulemaking hearing on Jan. 8 and 9, because as EID noted, there was a noticeable lack of the usual political theatrics by national anti-fossil fuel groups. In fact, the empty seats even caught the attention of reporters like Colorado Public Radio’s (CPR) Grace Hood, as noted in her tweets from the hearing.

Cue Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic” – because isn’t it a little bit ironic that activists are complaining about the new process even though barely any of the usual suspects bothered to show up to the last COGCC flowline rulemaking hearing, which was moved to a larger venue to accommodate public interest. Another third-party voice highlights the phenomenon of anti-fracking activists leaving empty chairs open at a COGCC meeting earlier this month. Check out this comment on “Wrong Door” anti-fracking activist group East Boulder County United’s (EBCU) Facebook page where the group shared the Colorado Independent’s article:


Source: EBCU Facebook Page

So yes, in the past – aside from the last COGCC flowline rulemaking hearing – many of the COGCC public comment periods have in fact been “pretty chaotic.” With that said, the implementation of the COGCC’s new public comment procedure really shouldn’t come as a shock to the national anti-fracking activists who for months have used and abused the COGCC hearings process to capture media attention, deploying various political stunts in an effort to gain headlines.  The new process should increase discussion to include more of the public, not just the activists.

Source: Daily Dose of News