February 17, 2010

International Corporation Invests In Marcellus Shale Despite Controversy

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Although Cornell has placed a moratorium on discussion of leasing its land for natural gas drilling, international corporations still have their eyes on the resource-filled property surrounding the University’s.

Mitsui & Co., a Japanese based international oil corporation, recently reached an agreement to take 32.5 percent of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s stake in the Marcellus Shale, according the The Ithaca Journal. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Marcellus Shale could contain anywhere from 168 to 516 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Cornell owns the rights to about 11,000 acres of land in Tompkins county and 420,000 nationwide, a portion of which crosses into the Marcellus Shale.

Mitsui & Co. will not be drilling on University land because of the moratorium. Additionally, the bulk of the company’s drilling will take place in Pennsylvania, where it will drill several thousand wells over the course of 10 years, according to the company’s website. Mitsui & Co. hopes to accrue between $3 and $4 billion over the course of the drilling campaign.

“This just validates that everybody around the world is interested in this play,” Anadarko’s CEO Jim Hackett said Tuesday on CNBC.

Anadarko holds natural gas interests in more than 700,000 acres in northern Pennsylvania and is the largest leaseholder in Pennsylvania’s state forests, according to The Journal. The company expects to drill more than 4,500 wells in the coming years. Of the 1,100 Marcellus Shale wells drilled in Pennsylvania to date, about half of them are producing, according to the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Cornell created an ad-hoc advisory committee on Feb. 10 to put forth guidelines for the University to make decisions regarding the leasing of land for natural gas exploration. While the venture would favor the University’s economic interests, many members of the Cornell and Ithaca communities are concerned about the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing into the Marcellus Shale. Opponents of drilling fear that the process could be harmful to the local environment.

“There are radioactive materials [and danger regarding] sand and chemicals used to help facilitate with the drilling … [and there is a] possibility of the broken shale collapsing,” Lucia Von Reusner ’12 of KyotoNOW! told The Sun in an article on Feb. 16.

— Compiled by Sun Staff

Original Author: Sun Staff