Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Norse Energy: Two More, Please — Further South, Down in Broome, Closer to PA Line

[Update April 2, 2012:  For the 8th, the Emerson, D. 1H, the proposed Spacing Unit Map has been obtained in PDF form and uploaded here.  For the 9th, the Fritzsch, C. 1H, I put it here.]

Though Google maps notoriously bogs down bandwidth, hang in there while we try it this way this time:

View Two New Marcellus Applications From Norse in a larger map

These markers mark the proposed surface (blue) and "bottom hole" (red) locations for two drilling permit applications filed with NYS DEC by Norse Energy on February 27 and March 1, 2012 — assuming there haven't been any data entry errors, which have plagued prior filings.

The Emerson, D. 1H is more easterly, while the Fritzsch, C. 1H maps out to the west of that.  Both are proposed full-scale horizontal Marcellus shale gas projects in the Town of Sanford, Broome County.

[Corrected March 21, thanks to a sharp-eyed commenter below: 
The landscape under the proposed wellpad locations turns out to drain to the Delaware River watershed via Oquaga Creek, rather than to the Susquehanna — which would have posed fewer regulatory complications.  On closer look, I see the Emerson without question as laying wholly within the Delaware watershed.  And the Fritzsch as proposed appears very close to the unknowing divide — but just a whisker over onto the Delaware's side of the hill.  Norse's applications thus, in one fell swoop, pose an intriguing nudge against two unresolved and here overlapping Shale Gas Moratoria, the first from NY's own DEC, and the second from the federal-state compact known as the Delaware River Basin Commission.  It both saddens me and entertains me that such a seemingly inconsequential distinction — literally, the width of one fallow pasture — could be the deciding factor in triggering a hailstorm of additional red tape.  But that's the complex institutional world New York State chooses to accommodate.]

One notable point is that these wellbore laterals — usually planned to run pretty close to 90 degrees against the shalebed's natural fractures — vary somewhat from the purportedly more typical, slightly northwest-slightly southeast arrangement.

Another notable point is the relatively small unit sizes proposed.  NYS's ultra-conservationist spacing laws were changed in 2008 in order to rationally accommodate the Shale Gas Technological Revolution with low-surface-impact 600-acres-plus-sized units — usually envisioning six laterals drilled from the same centralized well pad.  But these applications from Norse (and some prior) appear to propose putting only the acreage over maybe one lateral at a time through the state's compulsory integration process, which is triggered any time there are any unsigned minority-interest lands involved.

These filings represent the 8th and 9th, post-draft-SGEIS shale gas applications coming from Norse (most Marcellus, but some Utica) — none of which can go forward unless and until Governor Andrew Cuomo gets around to green-lighting the state's new rules for this new method of fossil fuels extraction.  Needless to say, this regulatory re-write has now been under development — and the subject of unprecedented persuasive gyrations, politically — for three and a half years.

Below I've listed selected details on these wells from the DEC database (which you can comb for yourself here).  Applications One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six/Seven were previously covered on this blog, through annotated details, and occasionally maps, so feel free to poke around.

The 8th application:

API Well Number:  31007300020000
Well Name:  Emerson, D. 1H
Company Name:  Norse Energy Corp USA
Well Type:  Not Listed
Well Status:  App to Drill/Plug/Convert
Objective Formation:  Marcellus
County:  Broome
Town:  Sanford
Status Date:  3/1/2012
Permit Application Date:  2/27/2012
Well Orientation:  Horizontal
Surface Longitude:  -75.48125
Surface Latitude:  42.12631
Bottom Hole Longitude:  -75.468137
Bottom Hole Latitude:  42.122344
True Vertical Depth:  5100
Bottom Hole Total Measured Depth:  9060
Drilled Depth:  9060
Proposed Well Type:  Gas Wildcat
Spacing Acres:  158.27
Last Modified Date:  3/1/2012

The 9th application:

API Well Number:  31007300010000
Well Name:  Fritzsch, C. 1H
Company Name:  Norse Energy Corp USA
Well Type:  Not Listed
Well Status:  App to Drill/Plug/Convert
Objective Formation:  Marcellus
County:  Broome
Town:  Sanford
Status Date:  3/1/2012
Permit Application Date:  3/1/2012
Well Orientation:  Horizontal
Surface Longitude:  -75.521749
Surface Latitude:  42.13475
Bottom Hole Longitude:  -75.524847
Bottom Hole Latitude:  42.125574
True Vertical Depth:  4714
Bottom Hole Total Measured Depth::  8348
Drilled Depth:  8348
Proposed Well Type:  Gas Wildcat [fixed after initial filing]
Spacing:  Non-statutory unit under Title 5; review in progress
Spacing Acres:  161.57
Integration:  Integration order pending
Last Modified Date:  3/2/2012


Anonymous said...

The location shown for app#8, the more easterly of the two sites shown is definitly in the Deleware watershed. The location for app#9 is uncertain as the blue wellhead flag is very close to being on the watershed divide while the red bottom flag is probably on the Deleware side of the slope.ropMat

Andy Leahy said...

Awesome catch! Thanks!

I agree on the easterly Emerson, and I'll check further on the westerly Fritsch, and then make some fixes.

My sense is that the pad location alone should be the determining factor, based on sediment and spill flow -- both of which are real and rational risks worthy of regulatory oversight.

But, with so much unrealism and irrationality crowding this debate, who knows what the powers that be will decide.