Tag: hydrofracking

Marcellus Shale: From Rigs to Barbecue, Energy Creates Jobs

The Washington Times today completed a two-part series on Pennsylvania’s economic boom from development the Marcellus Shale natural gas, made possible through the technology of hydrofracturing and horizontal drilling.

The first day’s story, “Shale motherlode brings world of change,” reports on wide variety of economic effects and benefits, including the growing emphasis on workforce training to meet the energy sector’s demand for skilled employees.

A sidebar examines the small, ideologically committed opposition to domestic energy development, “‘Don’t frack with our water,’ say foes.”

Energy companies are doing big business, obviously, but the activity spreads throughout the economy, creating jobs and opportunity and allowing people to support their families. From Day Two’s entry, “Locals cash in on natural gas boom in Pa.“:

Other businesses also are seeing huge paydays. Rig workers for drilling companies such as Range Resources, one of the biggest players in the game, end up at local bars and restaurants after their shifts.

But they also must eat on the job. The hectic schedule doesn’t allow them to clean up and take a formal one-hour lunch break. Instead, the food comes to them.

“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Frank Puskarich, owner of Hog Father’s restaurant in Washington and daily caterer to Range Resources‘ “frack jobs” across the region. The boisterous barbecue pit master said he has hired eight employees who do nothing but prepare chicken, ribs, brisket, macaroni and cheese and other entrees for tired, hungry workers. He picked up the contract with Fort Worth, Texas-based Range Resources five years ago, and that also has helped drive business to his small establishment in Washington.

“It’s standing-room only for lunch” every day, Mr. Puskarich said. “[Business] has been tremendous. There’s a lot of work for people who want it, and not just in the food business.”

It’s a well-reported series.

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In the Culture Today

The darn funny Pearl Before Swine has just started a new storyline that draws on energy extraction.

Hydrofracking does NOT contaminate the aquifer with rodents.

And how is that Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! can turn around a strip about TSA screenings in less than two weeks? Impressive literary reference, too.

Meanwhile, Black Eyed Peas are everywhere in an Oprah sort of way with their new release, “The Beginning.” As the ultimate consumer product, the group is comfortable dropping the names of other consumer products. From The Washington Post’s review today, a citation of lyrics from the song “XOXOXO,” which the reviewer hates, hates, hates: “Girl you stole my heart like a klepto/Butterflies in my tummy need Pepto/Bismol.”

That’s got to be good for sales.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for a revival of Carter’s Little Liver Pills as a universal cultural reference. America’s too bilious these days.

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In North Dakota, a New Senator, John Hoeven, Who Supports Energy

Gov. John Hoeven (R-ND) has already been declared the winner in the U.S. Senate race to succeed Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND). His victory represents a monumental shift in the North Dakota political landscape, as he becomes the first Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate from the state since Sen. Mark Andrews lost election in 1986.

Your blogger worked as press secretary on Hoeven’s first campaign for governor in 2000, and he’s the most focused candidate and elected official we’ve ever encountered. Good thing for North Dakota and now the U.S. Senate, he’s focused on jobs, business and economic growth.

As governor, Hoeven has fostered a regulatory and business climate that embraced comprehensive energy development, including wind and biofuels, but especially the incredible oil boom that industry has created by  accessing the Bakken Formation. As The New York Times put it, “Hoeven’s win would also give the state’s booming oil and gas industry an adamant advocate in Washington.”

That’s the kind of advocate the entire nation needs.

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Circumnetting: Lithium, Marcellus Shale, Shills and Hacks

If lithium-battery-powered vehicles are the future, then why is the Obama Administration pursuing new regulations that would make shipping the batteries so burdensome and expensive? We’ve examined the issue before here and here, and were pleased to see The Washington Post cover the issue in its Saturday edition, “Everyday lithium batteries at center of debate about cargo handling.” Excerpt:

The new regulations could affect a massive web of companies, including manufacturers, shippers and retailers. They say costs would be staggering. UPS told PHMSA that complying with the rules would cost the company at minimum $264 million in the first year. And the company said each subsequent year would cost an additional $185 million.

Best Buy submitted a long list of products that would be affected, including portable GPS devices, portable DVD players and TVs, cellphones, cordless headphones, universal remote controls, cameras, camcorders, even electric razors and toothbrushes.

In today’s Post, Robert Samuelson digs into natural gas and hydrofracturing today in his column, “Shale gas: Hope for our energy future.” Good and necessary introduction to the issue. We recommend it to whoever writes and edits the editorial page for The Philadelphia Inquirer, who should be ashamed for the bizarre attack against former Gov. Tom Ridge.

Ridge was hired last week to advise and represent the Marcellus Shale Coalition, companies and groups involved with the production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania. In an editorial Friday, “Shale’s shill,” The Inquirer throws out the term “shill,” when describing advocacy for a major and growing contributor to the state’s economy and employment.

Former governors can choose many career paths. Some of them become college presidents. Some go on the lecture circuit.

And then there’s Tom Ridge, who is set to become a paid shill for the natural-gas drillers swarming his native state.

The Inquirer’s argument boils down to “there’s something obnoxious” about a former governor representing an industry “that poses serious environmental risks, and has already spent millions on lobbying to forestall paying its fair share of state business taxes.” Risk! Risk! If there’s risk, we must never act! As for taxes, well, that’s a matter of dispute.

It’s always bizarre to read newspaper writers who are offended by the exercise of the First Amendment, which is what Ridge has been hired to do — express a point of view and petition the government. One’s almost tempted to call the paper’s editorialists “hacks,” but that would be lowering ourselves to their level.

So we’ll just close by referring the editorialists to the Oil & Gas Journal’s recent story, “Study projects boost in Marcellus shale jobs, economy.”

How dare they report that!

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N.Y. Governor Signs Bill for Natural Gas Development

Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) this week signed a bill to update the state’s laws governing oil and gas drilling, at the same time making sure that the public knew his Administration was going to be vigilant about environmental consequences. (News release.)

The broadly supported legislation addresses spacing units and setback requirements and is intended to encourage and/or rationalize horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, key processes for developing the Marcellus Shale’s natural gas deposits. The question now becomes whether the Paterson Administration will carry out the regulatory implementation and oversight with the intention of making the law work or will be so sensitive to environmental activists, advocacy journalism and political pressure as to sabotage the energy development (and Upstate’s economy) in the process.

One has to give the administration the benefit of the doubt, but there’s still cause for concern. In an interview on the public radio station WNYC, Paterson’s deputy secretary for the environment, Judith Enck, laid out a series of regulatory requirements, monitoring and controls, reasonable enough sounding, and, you bet, bet attention to water quality is critical. But in saying that the companies must disclose all the chemicals being used in the drilling process and other comments, Enck seems to buy into the thesis of drilling’s opponents and their allies in media outfits like WNYC and ProPublica, advocacy that produces banner headlines like the Albany Times-Union’s

Upstate New York’s looming natural gas nightmare

Regulators asleep as lawmmakers attempt to declare vast acreage open to the energy industry’s iffy underground fracturing technique

Or today’s headline, “Paterson approves law on risky gas drilling

Iffy underground fracturing technique? Risky gas drilling? Good grief. May look that way from an Albany newsroom or the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but …good grief. From a very good API briefing/fact sheet on hydrofracking:

 

Application of hydraulic fracturing techniques, to increase oil and gas recovery, is estimated to account for 30 percent of U.S. recoverable oil and gas reserves and has been responsible for the addition of more than 7 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to meet the nation’s energy needs.

 

So iffy it accounts for 30 percent of U.S. oil and gas production.

Maybe we’re overreacting, but we’ve seen far too many examples of activists helping to generate media reports, which are then seized by the activists to generate even more media reports, which alarm the alarmable politicians, who propose more regulations that damage the economy but satisfy their core voters so everybody’s happy except why is my heating bill so high?

If enough obstacles can be thrown up in New York to hamper development of the Marcellus Shale’s great potential, then that “success” will be used to try to stop natural gas production throughout the Appalachian States. And energy security will be ever further away.

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