EPA: Fracking not source of widespread water contamination
By Amy Joi O’DonoghueJune 5th, 2015 @ 8:46pm

fracking

Utah joins lawsuit over new BLM fracking rule
SALT LAKE CITY — Both friends and foes of hydraulic fracturing are praising a new study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that warns of potential contamination to drinking water supplies but concedes no big problems have happened to date.

That preliminary conclusion in the draft assessment published Friday by the EPA comes after the agency reviewed data from nearly 25,000 oil and gas wells, including hundreds in the Uinta Basin, culled additional records from 333 wells across the United States, and examined 12,000 records.

The agency also released nine peer-reviewed scientific reports that are part of the overall analysis, initiated in 2009 at the request of Congress.

While the EPA did find incidences of contaminated drinking water wells, it said the number of identified cases was small in comparison to the number of hydraulically fractured wells. The EPA did admit that the margin may be small because of insufficient information or other “limiting” factors.

Some say the findings back assertions by Utah and three other states that a new federal rule on “fracking” is unnecessary because local regulatory oversight is sufficiently protective of public and environmental health.

“This report is damaging for the (Obama) administration and contradicts a predominant claim the White House has used to justify a federal fracturing rule,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

In May, Gov. Gary Herbert announced that Utah would join North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado in a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management that asserts the rule is unnecessary, duplicative of states’ efforts and a burdensome cost to industry — as much as $250,000 per well.

“I think what is safe to say from this report is that fracking is really not a water concern. It is not an issue that has had a widespread impact on the nation’s water supply, and it is not going to,” said Cody Stewart, Herbert’s policy adviser. “This supports our position that the federal fracking rule is unwarranted and it is addressing an issue that is really not a problem.”

I think what is safe to say from this report is that fracking is really not a water concern. It is not an issue that has had a widespread impact on the nation’s water supply, and it is not going to.
–Cody Stewart, Herbert’s policy adviser
But the EPA’s assessment did warn there is ample reason for caution when it comes to fracking and safeguarding drinking water in oil and gas-producing regions.

The agency, relying on 950 sources of information, framed its research around five stages of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle:

• Water acquisition — the withdrawal of ground or surface water to use in hydraulic fracturing fluids.

• Chemical mixing to blend water, chemicals and other substances for the fluid.

• Well injection itself to fracture the geologic formations.

• The return of the injected fluid and water produced from the process and its transport.

• Wastewater treatment and waste.

The EPA picked five case study locations in Colorado, North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania, conducting two rounds of sampling at 70 domestic water wells, 15 monitoring wells, and 13 surface water sources.

The agency also is using computer models to identify conditions that may lead to impacts on drinking water supplies. In particular, the EPA has identified what is says are hypothetical but realistic scenarios around the five water cycles in the process.

“Potential impacts to drinking water sources from withdrawing large volumes of water in semi-arid and humid river basins — the Upper Colorado River Basin in the West and the Susquehanna River Basin in the East — are being compared and assessed,” the report said.

Environmental groups say the study backs their fears.

“The EPA’s water quality study confirms what millions of Americans already know — that dirty oil and gas fracking contaminates drinking water,” said Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s director.

“Unfortunately, the EPA chose to leave many critical questions unanswered. For example, the study did not look at this issue under the lens of public health and ignored numerous threats that fracking poses to drinking water. The EPA must conduct a comprehensive study that results in action to protect public health,” Brune said.

Earthworks policy director Lauren Pagel said the assessment should serve as a call to action for the Obama administration, Congress and state governments to step in to protect water supplies.

The study will be finalized after review by the Science Advisory Board and public review and comment.

A recent article written buy Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers shows the USA is still on track to record Oil and Gas production. Its just another indicator that we are in a solid growth market. Mills states as follows:

“The head of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the data collection arm of the Energy Department, projects that the U.S. will become the largest producer of crude oil and natural gas in the world this year if it hasn’t done so already.

“This is a remarkable turn of events,” said Adam Sieminski, the head of the Energy Information Administration. “This is a new era of thinking about market conditions, and opportunities created by these conditions, that you wouldn’t in a million years have dreamed about not long ago.”

Saudi Arabia remains the world’s largest producer of crude oil and related liquids. As of July, Saudi Arabia was producing 11.7 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the International Energy Agency. Russia was second, at 10.8 million bpd, with the US third at 10.3 million bpd.

While oil production in Russia has remained flat the past few years, U.S. oil production has grown and erased a 3 million barrel per day difference. The amount of crude from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota, the Permian Basin in West Texas and the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas continues to rise rapidly.

The Russian government predicts oil output will remain flat through 2016, while natural gas is up three percent. If Russia’s oil and natural gas wells flowed at the same rates as they did in 2012, total US production would have surpassed them on a daily basis this summer, according to EIA.

In 2012, the U.S. produced more natural gas than Russia for the first time since 1982. The rise in oil and gas production in the U.S. has reduced imports and closed the huge trade deficit. Oil imports are down 32 percent and natural gas imports declined 15 percent. Russia’s natural gas exports have declined because of economic conditions in Europe and increased competition.

Increased competition in global crude oil markets have hurt Russia’s oil exports, too. Russian energy analysts believe that the increase in U.S. oil and gas production will not last very long. They believe the increased production from shale will run into trouble. The head of OPEC also cast doubt on increased U.S. production recently.

Everyone in the oil and gas industry in the U.S. knows that shale drilling and production is very expensive. If exploration and production cannot be profitable, activity will decline. The industry has witnessed the decline in natural gas activity because natural gas prices have fallen and costs have not followed suit.

Just as important as price is action taken by government regulators that could drive up costs dramatically or prohibit drilling activity altogether.

However, the industry in the U.S. and Texas continues to expand.

Dramatic upward revisions of crude oil production in Texas combined with strong crude prices and strengthening natural gas prices propelled the Texas Petro Index to a record high for the second straight month.

“The Texas Petro Index continued its march into record territory in August, rising to 289.8,” said Karr Ingham, the economist who created the TPI and updates it monthly. That eclipsed the old record, set in July, which itself was revised upward by Ingham to 288.2 from 287.7 due to ongoing, upward revisions of Texas oil production since the July 2013 TPI was released less than 30 days ago.”

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.

After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.

most of the problems have been     related to well construction, not fracking  chemicals

Although the results are preliminary — the study is still ongoing — they are the first independent look at whether the potentially toxic chemicals pose a threat to people during normal drilling operations. But DOE researchers view the study as just one part of ongoing efforts to examine the impacts of a recent boom in oil and gas exploration, not a final answer about the risks.

The DOE study monitored fracking fluids for a year that were injected deep underground in wells in western Pennsylvania. By tagging the fracking fluid with “unique markers,” federal While preliminary in nature, the study results provides solid weight behind the oil and gas industry’s claim that hydraulic fracturing, now a routine procedure, is safe and does not impact groundwater.

Fracking involves injecting fluids into cracks in rock formations to widen them and enable more oil and gas to escape, increasing the amounts that can be recovered. The process generally occurs several thousand feet below ground.

Environmentalists opposed to fracking claim that it can contaminate groundwater sources and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but so far, these claims are largely unfounded.

Spills during drilling, leaks from ruptured lines like that which occurred in the Parachute, Colorado region and other instances of equipment failure can impact groundwater situations, but the idea that widespread fracking is poisoning drinking water supplies is — so far at least — an unsubstantiated charge by opponents, and it should be reassuring to the public that another study has confirmed this.

Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface at the gas well bore but weren’t detected in a monitoring zone at a depth of 5,000 feet. The researchers also tracked the maximum extent of the man-made fractures, and all were at least 6,000 feet below the surface.

Potentially dangerous substances stayed about a mile away from surface drinking water supplies, which are usually at depths of less than 500 feet.

Over the last four years the debate over fracking chemicals has attracted tremendous attention from state and federal agencies, public health experts, and opponents of fracking. Yet while many people have focused on the potential threat from the chemicals, experts have come to believe that more routine aspects of the drilling process are more likely to cause problems. Poor well construction that allows excess gas to escape, spills of chemicals or other fluids that take place at the surface, and disposal of wastewater are all issues of concern.

The study done by the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh marked the first time that a drilling company let government scientists inject special tracers into the fracking fluid and then continue regular monitoring to see whether it spread toward drinking water sources. The research is being done at a drilling site in Greene County, which is southwest of Pittsburgh and adjacent to West Virginia.

Eight Marcellus Shale wells were monitored seismically and one was injected with four different man-made tracers at different stages of the fracking process, which involves setting off small explosions to break the rock apart. The scientists also monitored a separate series of older gas wells that are about 3,000 feet above the Marcellus to see if the fracking fluid reached up to them.

The industry and many state and federal regulators have long contended that fracking itself won’t contaminate surface drinking water because of the extreme depth of the gas wells. Most are more than a mile underground, while drinking water aquifers are usually close to the surface.

DOE spokesman David Anna added that while nothing of concern has been found thus far, “the results are far too preliminary to make any firm claims.”

Bighorn Oil and Gas Win Bid at Montana Lease Auction

Following the nomination of additional key Montana State acreage in the Golden Eagle prospect target area last February the property made its way to the public bid process on June the 4th in Montana. At the June 4th auction Bighorn Oil and Gas was the successful bidder and added 1570 more acres to its lease base in the area.

The property is in blocks of 600, 240, 80 and 640 acre tracks. These prospects all have multi target pay zones including the Twin Creek at 3000 feet, the Virgelle ant 4500 feet the Jurassic at 5500 feet and the Mississippian at 6500+ feet.

Bighorn Oil and Gas now has 5550 acres in the Golden Eagle Montana base prospect for which we have multiple seismic lines, well logs, radiometric and soil gas data in place. The leases are 10 year lease with a NRI of 82%. Management at Bighorn Oil and Gas is excited about having assembled a sizeable lease base and being one step closer to filing for drilling permits and preparing to test this structure.

For more information on Bighorn Oil and Gas see www.bighornorilandgas.com

 

 

2013 Building the Base – A Look Forward

2013 will be a great year to build our base by the expansion of current fields and strategically adding more prospects to Bighorn Oil and Gas. The company has been successful in acquiring two major prospects in the upper Rocky Mountain Thrust Belt region, one in the Montana Thrust Belt and one in the Wyoming Big Horn Basin.

We are preparing to be back at public auction with another thousand acre nomination to add to our holding in the Montana Thrust Belt. At the same time we have initiated farm out discussions with lease holders adjacent to our holdings in the Montana Golden Eagle prospect to further expand our lease base. We have discovered a large hidden anomaly on this prospect. The more geological work we do, the more exciting the Golden Eagle prospect becomes.

The  EIA Oil and Gas map to the side shows primary oil and gas fields in the USA. Bighorn Oil and Gas holdings are pointed out by the two white arrows. We are working to add additional prospects along the Rocky Mountain hinge line with the goal of doubling our current lease holding size in 2013.

One very interesting prospect is close to the Greater Green River Basin. As show on the following top USA producing well map below this area has the 45th, the 49th, the 14th the 7th and the 3rd best producing gas and oil wells in the country. We are developing science on an anticline that is situated basically north and south and appears to have the characteristics of a classic rocky mountain thrust anticline trapped against a lateral fault. Our initial science suggests that the whole North end of the thrust from the break is loaded for about 5 miles to the south. This prospect looks very similar to the prolific Pinedale field in Wyoming. If our basic science continues to prove out this one could be substantial play. There are examples of similar anticlines in the region that are huge producers. The total size on this prospect is about 20,000 acres, a mix of Federal and private. Even a foothold in this one would be exciting.

Another prospect under investigation is in the southern part of the Uinta Piceance Basin. This prospect is a rework and reentry prospect of about 10,000 acres in size. It currently has twelve producing gas wells that were drilled to the first reservoir horizon. The wells are currently capped waiting for the better gas price increases. In addition there is a producing oil well on the property that can be reentered and brought up to 50 to 100 barrels per day. Another intriguing aspect of this property is the three additional lower hydrocarbon zones that are known to run through this prospect. They are proven produces in the region, however have not yet been tested on this property. This plus better gas prices makes this an attractive field. We are in a buyout discussion with the current owners. If we can get the terms we want this will be a good addition to our current positions.

We are exploring opportunities in the Denver Basin as well. Building on a drilling partner relationship and combining it with a new geophysical survey technology for both ground and airborne systems we believe are able to identify what appear to be ancient streambed deposits in the Denver Basin. This basin has a history of easy drilling formations and also has the 13th largest oil well in the nation and the 10th largest gas producing well in the nation, see the map above.

On the corporate side of the business we continue to explore liquidly options that could result in a public traded position. We have been approached by several groups with which we have had exploratory public offering discussions. We are currently in active discussion with a New York group that has taken several oil and gas public and could offer intriguing possibilities. We are cautiously optimistic as we pursue this course of action, however timing, positioning and deal structure are all critical elements to success in this process. This story will continue.

Once again as we prepare to close this year we are debt free, we have good prospects in hand, and we have additional opportunities on the horizon.  As we move into 2013 we appreciate our shareholders and the excitement they bring to our company. We doubled in size over last year we hope to do the same this next year and as we focus on moving closer to a being production based company.

Dan Mabey

 

 

 

 

President and CEO Bighorn Oil and Gas


Right Time – Right Place

Only a couple of years ago when Bighorn Oil and Gas was founded the conventional wisdom was America’s dependence on Middle East Oil was ongoing and unavoidable. This situation not only impacted the cost and consumption of oil in the USA and impacted the cost of economic production but also drove much of America’s global strategic decision and planning process. United States has had to safeguard major trade routes around the world, such as the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East. It had to wade into regional conflicts in order to maintain a safe supply of energy to it and the world at a tremendous expense to US tax payers.

Just this month in a newly published report by the International Energy Agency titled “The World Energy Outlook 2012” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told a news conference in London that the United States would overtake Russia as the biggest gas producer by a significant margin by 2015. By 2017, it would become the world’s largest oil producer. Following is a link to the Executive Summary of the IEA report for our readers benefit. http://iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/English.pdf

With the recent rebound in U.S. oil and gas production, driven by new technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, it will spur economic activity both in and out of the oilfields. Now a different course is coming to light and a new global energy landscape is emerging. It is not clear how the US world police role may change, however a renewed sense of independence and the possibility of a return to a more competitive edge in manufacturing and transportation starts to give a new complexion to our world.

How does this news impact Bighorn Oil and Gas?  Well we definitely are in the right place at the right time and in a position to contribute to the growth in this market. One of our guiding principles has been that “We create projects that diversify investor’s portfolio and provide a long term, partially sheltered revenue stream in an environment that has minimal political, social, environmental and geological risk” id est the USA.

We believe that there will be a continued concerted effort by administrations from either of the two leading political parties to grow our energy independence in the form of more favorable incentives and regulations. The amount of new jobs and new tax revenue that will flow to the states and the federal governments is substantial. The market freedom from regions seemingly always in turmoil will be refreshing. If one believes in the aphorism that “a rising tide lifts all boats” this trend will play well for Bighorn Oil and Gas.

“The world’s largest deposits of oil” – In our back yard

Earlier this month that Anu K. Mittal, the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s director of natural resources and environment, told a house subcommittee that potential oil reserves in a remote area where Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado converge at trillions of barrels.

The formation, an assemblage of more than 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks, contains “the world’s largest deposits of oil.” More specifically, according to Ms. Mittal, the U.S. Geological Survey “estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions.”

What does this mean? Well it’s true that Green River Formation, beneath areas of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale. As for just how much “oil” is there, it’s about equal to the world’s entire proven oil reserves. But the catch is in this specific formation its not “crude oil” and the production of this shale is still costly.

A more exciting aspect is however that the world is coming to recognize that in the Western USA, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota and Colorado there are huge hydrocarbon deposits. This is in Bighorn Oil and Gas own back yard and we are acquiring and developing prospects throughout this region.

Our Horton Draw and the Golden Eagle are exciting prospects that we are developing drilling plans and investment opportunities for at the same time we are identifying additional prospects to add to our base.

Bighorn Oil and Gas is an energy exploration and development company. We target projects that are in the region of and close to existing, productive sites, which means that new wells have a good likelihood of being productive. Our development is science based using a variety of layering tools including seismic, radiometric, surrounding oil field well logs, and geological surveys.

Bighorn Oil and Gas Adds Two Substantial Leases to the Golden Eagle Prospect in Bakken Rich Montana

Bighorn Oil and Gas announces a substantial expansion of the Golden Eagle prospect.
Golden Eagle Prospect is located in the ‘Rocky Mountain Over thrust belt’ close to Augusta, Montana. The location is in the general area of the prolific Bakken shell development that has created so much excitement in US oil circles of the past few years.

An initial block of 600 acres was secured By Bighorn at a competitive auction towards the end of 2011 and created the foundation for the “Golden Eagle Prospect”. At the same time management nominated an additional 4,040 acres which came up for bid on this month on March 6th at Helena, the capital city of Montana. Bidders were in attendance from most of the major oil companies active in the region and competition was fierce. However, BigHorn was able to place winning bids on all but 120 of the 4,040 acres nominated. The two main parcels are substantially contiguous and now bring our bloc of ten year lease holdings on the Golden Eagle prospect to a total of 4,520 acres. We consider this a coup to have acquired this much land in this highly sought after area.
Throughout last summer Bighorn Oil and Gas, while developing additional science on the Horton Draw prospect in the Bighorn basin in Wyoming, conducted additional lease prospect development in the Montana area. The company was able to secure proprietary drill logs, seismic data and field notes. This data was acquired while working closely with the lead geologist that had previously helped discover the Bakken oil field expansion with data collection and assessment in this region for a major oil and gas company.

Last fall BigHorn Oil and Gas worked with geophysics and geologists as they completed soil gas tests and onsite surface geological assessments. Mr. Mabey, President of Bighorn Oil and Gas stated “After acquiring the seismic and geological data we were convinced that the Golden Eagle could become an exciting prospect.” The company was prepared for the first round of targeted leases and following additional property nominations, we were successful in securing the two leases that we had targeted to up this purchase.

Several known production formations including the Bakken, Three Forks, Poltlatch, Nisku Two Medicine, the Eagle, the Virgelle and the Telegraph Creek make up the subsurface geology of the Golden Eagle prospect.

Mr. Mabey further stated that “Having several layers of known oil bearing targets in the leasehold provides a verity of development opportunities for the company”. This prospect now puts Bighorn Oil and Gas in a position to develop and expand into a new region with substantial additional development options. The expansion continues to build the assets base for Bighorn Oil and Gas investors.

Bighorn Oil and Gas is an energy exploration and development company. We target projects that are in the region of and close to existing, productive sites, which means that new wells have a good likelihood of being productive. Our development is science based using a variety of layering tools including seismic, radiometric, surrounding oil field well logs, and geological surveys.

“The Golden Eagle” a new Bighorn Oil and Gas Prospect

Once in a while all our best laid plans come together and the ordinary day becomes extraordinary.  This week Bighorn Oil and Gas had such a day.  Over the last several months, while we have been developing science on the Horton Draw Prospect we have also been hard at work investigating other potential prospects that meet our investment parameters.

We had focused in on an area that has all the hallmarks of a first class oil and gas play and is, well just an extremely exciting area. This week we successfully secured a ten year lease on a key six hundred acre property and are in position to expand our holding to be equal in size to the Horton Draw prospect. We named this “The Golden Eagle Prospect”.

One note of caution, there is fierce competition for leases in this area so we are at the moment not able to disclose its location and or specific details.  That will all come soon. What we can share is that we have acquired seismic data, surface and subsurface geologic data, proprietary well logs and detailed hands-on geological expertise that have convinced us that this could be a very productive prospect.  We had added our own surface testing that has further helped us define the hydrocarbon footprint for targeted leasing.

We have been successful in getting a toe hold and are diligently working to expand the base holding for this prospect. This we believe has the potential to add a lot of value to Bighorn Oil and Gas. We will keep our investors informed through our sales team as much as we can as we move forward. We invite you to join in and hang on for the ride. I believe you will come to be just as excited as I am about  The Golden Eagle Prospect, a powerful new addition to our portfolio.

 

Bighorn Oil and Gas is an energy exploration and development company. We target projects that are in the region of and close to existing, productive sites, which means that new wells have a good likelihood of being productive. Our development is science based using a variety of layering tools including seismic, radiometric, surrounding oil field well logs, and geological surveys.