Tag: hydrofracture

Drill, North Dakota, Drill — and the Rest of the Country, Too

“Drill, North Dakota, Drill,” is the headline on a recent editorial in Investor’s Business Daily hailing the economic benefits from energy development in North Dakota.

One state, North Dakota, is in a boom of sorts, so much so that it was rated by the Adversity Index as the first state to have moved out of the recession and actual expansion mode.

The key may be North Dakota’s development of the energy resources under its soil and in its rocks, something the Obama administration is loath to do nationally. Instead we get drilling moratoriums and polar bear habitat protection that serve to make America the only industrialized nation not developing its domestic energy resources.

North Dakota is simply gushing. It has a billion-dollar budget surplus and oil revenues ready to shoot up 70% over the next two years.

Contrast this with the Gulf states, where job losses could reach tens of thousands as the oil industry atrophies and rigs leave for foreign waters.

North Dakota has risen to become the fourth largest oil-producing state in the nation. Along with a friendly population and reasonable regulatory environment, thanks for the boom go to the technological advances like hydrofracturing and horizontal drilling that have made it profitable to develop the oil-rich Bakken Shale formation.  

Hydrofrac is already helping to create thousands of jobs in the states that lie above the Marcellus Shale. From AP:

A recent report by Pennsylvania State University, commissioned by a natural gas industry group, predicts that in 2010 drilling in Pennsylvania’s shale formations will add 89,000 jobs and inject $8 billion in spending into the state.

And consumers of natural gas are welcoming low prices. Analysts predict heating bills this winter could be as low or lower than last year and sharply lower than in recent years. Through the first six months of 2010, average residential gas prices were 9 percent lower than for the same period in 2009 and 18 percent lower than in 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Pennsylvania’s political leaders are stuck on the details of an excise tax on the natural gas, but by and large the state seems welcoming to the Marcellus Shale development. In New York, unfortunately, the environmentalist reactionaries and anti-energy forces are slowing the development and jobs that come with it.

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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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NAM’s John Engler on Natural Gas as a Jobs Creator

In his speech to the State Chamber of Oklahoma on Thursday, National Association of Manufacturers’ President John Engler discussed jobs creation through energy, infrastructure and exports. On the energy front, he discussed the astonishing expansion of domestic natural gas production (and potential production), thanks to technological advances in hydrofracturing.

Following are his prepared remarks from that section:

In Oklahoma, a proud tradition of supporting energy has helped keep your unemployment 3 percentage points below the national average.

You’re one of the states benefiting from development of shale gas, in this case the Woodford Shale. In Texas, there’s the Barnett Shale; in Arkansas, the Fayetteville Shale; in Louisiana the Haynesville Shale. Since 2000, gas from shale has grown from less than 1 percent of the nation’s production to about 10 percent.

Perhaps the most promising development is the Marcellus Shale underneath Pennsylvania and New York and West Virginia. Analysts say the Marcellus alone has enough gas to meet the nation’s needs for at least 14 years.

These natural gas deposits are close to northeastern population and manufacturing centers – they could be a real boon to consumers and industry in the area. But environmental groups have stirred up opposition, for example, in New York State, where there’s a pitched battle going on over natural gas drilling.

Opponents play on people’s fears of a technology that’s actually been in use for decades –- hydrofracturing. Thanks to massive R&D by energy companies, the technology has been improved, made even safer, and combined with horizontal drilling to open these shale deposits.

Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in October was 7 percent.

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Just Saying ‘Halliburton’ is Not an Argument

A letter refuting the fact-challenged New York Times editorial that attacked the hydrofracturing technology used to develop natural gas.

To the Editor:

“The Halliburton Loophole” (editorial, Nov. 3), about hydraulic fracturing, dismisses a 60-year record of safety with the utterance of a single word: Halliburton.

Regulation of fracturing, a natural gas drilling process in use since the 1940s, has always been left to the states, not the Environmental Protection Agency. The Times endorses legislation that it says will “restore” E.P.A. authority over the process. But how can you restore something to the E.P.A. that it never had in the first place?

The campaign to empower the E.P.A. with authority over fracturing is an effort to shut down the process in its entirety.

That’s why The Times supports it, and why the rest of New York shouldn’t.

Lee Fuller
Washington, Nov. 3, 2009

The writer is senior policy adviser for Energy in Depth, a coalition of oil and natural gas producers.

So the thesis upon which the Times editorial was built was wrong. Seems like it should warrant an actual correction.

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