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Ohio and Pennsylvania activity report, October 5-12

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Management department issued 17 oil and gas permits last week, October 5-12.

This total may seem underwhelming compared to the previous week’s eruption of 64 oil and gas permits, but researchers at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health might see a permit cutback as a good thing.

The university issued a study suggesting pregnant women who live closer to active natural gas well have a greater risk of high-risk pregnancies or preterm births.

While Johns Hopkins researchers hope policymakers take the findings into consideration, research on other environmental issues within the state could affect the oil and gas permit process.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are partnering with Pennsylvania State University to improve seismic monitoring. Though earthquakes rarely occur in Pennsylvania, scientists believe the study will help track valuable information about the area’s environment.

“It will allow us to know what is normal and to be able to quickly identify what isn’t normal, whether man-made or natural,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “We can then apply this important information to permitting decisions and other work that protects public safety.”

The US Geological Survey reports earthquakes linked to man-made causes like oil and gas development rarely prompt safety concerns, but an earthquake in 1954 believed to be linked to a sinking coal mine caused about $1 million in damages to a neighborhood in Wilkes-Barre.

Top Pennsylvania Counties for well permits for September 28 to Oct 5:

McKean: 12

Susquehanna: 10

Bradford: 8

Washington: 7

Warren: 7

Top Pennsylvania Counties for well permits for October 5-12:

Washington: 5

McKean: 3

Lycoming: 3

Lawrence: 3

Clarion: 2

In the latest reports for Ohio, the state issued one horizontal permit for its Marcellus shale from September 27 to October 3. The singular permit, granted to CNX Gas Company LLC, is set for Switzerland in Monroe County.

The Utica formation, however, gained 18 horizontal permits for that same time frame, most of which are concentrated in Monroe and Belmont Counties.

Thanks in part to the area’s cheap natural gas, South Field Energy LLC plans to build a $1.1 billion natural gas-fueled power plant. Not only will the plant be capable of heating as many as 880,000 homes, it is also expected to create 550 construction jobs over the course of three years and employ 25 workers upon completion.

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