The business model for the companies interested in our area was local gas for local needs. Their research indicated that their model could work, given high interstate transportation costs to “move the molecule.” There was money to be made in the difference in transportation costs.
In 2010, Gastem fracked the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Worcester for a combined initial production of over 300,000 cubic feet per day. This pales in comparison to yields in Dimock, but this was a small 80,000-gallon frack in a vertical well by a company with limited goals. Any comparison to the lateral fracks at much higher volume in Pennsylvania is “apples to oranges.”
Would this well have been profitable? We’ll never know, given the circumstances that forced them to return their leases to their partner, Covalent, and leave the county.
Otsego’s potential is unknown. It has to be tested. If there’s no commercially viable gas in Otsego, no one will drill. Period. If there is gas, the usual ecology of a gas field will ensue; drillers will drill, produce, and perhaps be bought out by larger companies. All companies, large and small, have to work under DEC standards. The standards have been five years in the making.
So what motivates the “No Gas Here” message? The Foothills gig is the fourth stop in the rollout, with a “No Jobs Here” sequel scheduled in Albany next month. This takes coordination. This is no spontaneous Mickey and Judy in “42nd Street” — Hey kids, let’s put on a show!!! It’s central planning and message discipline.
For what purpose? Is there a problem? Yes, there’s a problem. For over five years, the prospect of gas development has roiled our community. In the meantime, upstate New York continues to hemorrhage young people, lose jobs and stagnate.