Since 2008, foreign companies have entered into 21 joint ventures with U.S. acreage holders and operators, investing more than $26 billion in tight oil and shale gas plays.More at Energy Information Administration.
In 2012 the Niobrara Shale helped propel Colorado to its highest annual oil production levels in 50 years.More at Denver Post.
“After decades of hydraulic fracturing-related activity there is little evidence if any that hydraulic fracturing itself has contaminated fresh groundwater. No occurrences are known where hydraulic fracturing fluids have moved upward from the zone of fracturing of a horizontal well into the fresh drinking water.” Quoted from the Association of American State Geologists statement.More at Association of American State Geologists.
The United States Geological Survey has published: “Water Quality Studied in Areas of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development, Including Areas Where Hydraulic Fracturing Techniques are Used, in the United States.”More at United States Geological Survey.
Record amounts of oil and natural gas are being produced in North Dakota. However, about 1/3 of the natural gas is being flared because of inadequate pipelines to carry the gas to market. This article explains why the state needs more pipelines to de…More at CNBC.
An article in the Denver Post discusses horizontal wells being drilled by Nobel Energy in the Niobrara Formation of Colorado. The wells go horizontal for about 9000 feet and cost about $8 million each.More at Denver Post.
“The chances of rogue fractures due to shale gas fracking operations extending beyond 0.6 kilometres from the injection source is a fraction of one percent, according to new research led by Durham University. The analysis is based on data from thousands of fracking operations in the USA and natural rock fractures in Europe and Africa.” Quoted from the Durham University press release.More at Durham University.
Drilling for oil in the shale formations of Texas and North Dakota often results in the flaring of natural gas – as some of these areas are not served by natural gas pipelines. Although this practice is somewhat of an industry tradition it is drawing increasing criticism because it wastes a non-renewable energy resource, is an economic loss, produces air pollution and contributes to climate change.More at FuelFix.com.
“Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas has no direct connection to reports of groundwater contamination [...] many problems ascribed to hydraulic fracturing are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations, such as casing failures or poor cement jobs.” Quoted from the University of Texas at Austin press release.More at University of Texas at Austin.
Sinopec, a major Chinese oil and gas company also known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation Limited, will purchase a 1/3 share of Devon Energy’s holdings in five shale plays in the United States for $900 million in cash and contribute $1.6 billion towards future drilling expenses. Properties in the Utica Shale, Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, Niobrara Shale are included.More at Business Week.
Many property owners are very surprised when the royalties that they receive from a natural gas well on their property decline sharply. They are learning about production decline curves.More at Geology.com.
An article in the New York Times reviews some potential rewards and problems that occur when a landowner decides to lease his property for oil and and gas development.
Related: Mineral Rights 
 http://geology.com/articles/mineral-rights.shtmlMore at New York Times.
Anadarko Petroleum estimates that the Niobrara Formation in the Wattenberg Field contains the equivalent of 500 million to 1.5 billion barrels of oil that can be tapped by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. (See slides 11-15 in the .pdf doc…More at Anadarko.
Thousands of high-paying new jobs are unfilled in North Dakota where natural gas and oil are being produced from the Bakken Formation, the Niobrara Shale and other rock units.More at MSNBC.
Is natural gas part of the shale or is it a fugitive commodity that is not an integral part of any specific rock unit? Will a refined legal definition of natural gas in Pennsylvania overturn thousands of historic leases?More at Business Week.
An article in the Casper Star-Tribune reports that companies interested in the Niobrara Shale of Wyoming and Colorado are using seismic surveys to understand the stratigraphy.More at Casper Star-Tribune.
In most of the shale plays a newly-drilled well has a reasonable probability of producing the same mix of natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids produced by existing wells that region. However, wells drilled into the Niobrara of southeastern Wyoming are often dry – a problem that has drillers learning more about the geology or moving their activity to more predictable locations.More at Trib.com.
Natural gas was the initial target of horizontal drilling in the shale plays, however, natural gas liquids, condensates and oil are now attracting most of the attention. An article in Investing Daily calls natural gas the “incidental” product.More at Investing Daily.
The Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University has published a report titled: “Shale Gas and U.S. National Security”. “This study assesses the impact of U.S. domestic shale gas development on energy security and U.S. national security, with emphasis on the geopolitical consequences of rising supplies of U.S. natural gas from shale and the implications for U.S. foreign policy.” Quoted from the report summary.
A post on the Seeking Alpha blog details how successful Chesapeake Energy has been at rapidly leasing enormous acreages in all of the major natural gas shale plays in the United States. They author calls them a “land acquisition machine”.
Some companies are starting to doubt the initially optimistic opinions about the Niobrara Shale that has produced oil and natural gas in the Colorado, Western Nebraska and Wyoming area. Some recent wells have not been commercially viable and that has generated uncertainty. More at GulfNews.com.
Mark Northam, director of the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming says that horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing allow drillers to “manufacture a reservoir” in the Niobrara Shale. More in the Billings Gazette.
An unusual entry into the Niobrara Shale is CNOOC Ltd., China’s largest offshore energy company. They are buying 1/3 of Chesapeake Energy’s Niobrara Shale assets for $570 million cash. More at Bloomberg.com.