In a press release issued earlier today, the DRBC announced that it is postponing the special meeting it had scheduled for November 21 to vote on its proposed Marcellus regulations. No new date was provided.
At this point, the uncertainty created by DRBC, and the continued de-facto moratorium resulting from the inability of drillers to obtain permits, has made it very unlikely that any drilling will occur anywhere in the basin even after DRBC issues its regulations. The word on the street is that the leasing agents for the oil and gas companies have been told to stay away from the few counties within the Delaware River basin (mostly Wayne and Pike) that overlie the Marcellus formation and not sign any more leases. In all likelihood, leases previously signed in those counties will be allowed to expire, and the landowners who thought they would be benefiting from development of their shale gas rights in those counties will be out of luck, no matter what the DRBC’s final regulations look like. With that said, if you take the few counties that are within the DRBC’s jurisdiction off the table for drilling, there still remains a very large untapped area within the central and western parts of the Commonwealth where the regulatory climate is much more welcoming to the shale gas industry. As they said during the gold rush — Go West Young Man.