Tag: Marcellus Shale

USGS Releases New Data on Shale

On Tuesday the U.S. Geological Survey released updated data on how much natural gas is contained in the Marcellus Shale. The new estimate finds that the Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids. 

From the USGS release:

The Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids according to a new assessment by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).

These gas estimates are significantly more than the last USGS assessment of the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin in 2002, which estimated a mean of about 2 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCF) and 0.01 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

The increase in undiscovered, technically recoverable resource is due to new geologic information and engineering data, as technological developments in producing unconventional resources have been significant in the last decade.  This Marcellus Shale estimate is of unconventional (or continuous-type) gas resources.

This news provides additional evidence of how promising of a source the Marcellus Shale is for our nation’s energy supply. It is absolutely critical to the competitiveness of manufacturers that they have access to affordable sources of energy. Adding burdensome and unnecessary regulations to the shale industry will only drive up the costs and add bureaucratic red tape with little benefit. 

You can find out more about this new estimate from the USGS here.

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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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Hydrofracturing Produces Jobs, Energy, Wealth, Parasitic Lawsuits

Reporting on shale gas and hydrofracturing, the public radio program Marketplace Morning Report today captures the classic American phenomenon at work: Innovation creates opportunity, investment and wealth, and trial lawyers follow with bogus, hyped, shake-down lawsuits.

From “Fracking employs plenty of lawyers“:

Sarah Gardner: The U.S. is awash in natural gas. But the latest drilling technology that’s made the glut possible isn’t winning any popularity awards. “Fracking” involves a high pressure cocktail of water, chemicals and sand injected into shale rock — deep underground. Gas companies are drilling wells from Pennsylvania to Wyoming, and it doesn’t always go smoothly.

Richard Lippes: There have been explosions of homes, there’s a lot of people who can now actually light their water.

Not winning any popularity awards? Too bad this worthy report starts with such a clunker. Every job that hydofracturing creates wins a popularity award with the worker. Every stream of income from a producing well wins a popularity award with the property owner. Every hundred million dollars of tax revenue wins a popularity award with the taxpayers and citizens of a state.

As for the assertion from Lippes, the trial lawyer, that there are many who can now actually light their water? It’s false, a claim that’s supposed to inflame NIMBY sentiment against natural gas development and scare up clients. One scene of a fellow lighting water in his kitchen sink appeared in the agitprop film, “Gasland,” but the claims about fiery faucets have since been refuted and the entire movie debunked.

The Marketplace report also covers that activities of New York lawsuit engine Marc Bern, who specializes in environmental claims. Next up? The class-action lawsuit. Bern declares: “Wherever there is shale and there is natural gas trapped underneath, there will be litigation.” Isn’t that the sad truth. Just as where there is any creation of wealth in the U.S. economy, there will be trial lawyers. The more wealth, the more lawyers, which makes shale natural gas such a tempting target.

“Trial,” the monthly magazine of the American Association for Justice, hyped environmental litigation in its March issue, “Poisoned wells: dangers of natural gas drilling,” a piece authored by another plaintiffs’ attorney, William S. Friedlander. Environmental activists and litigators often team up in campaigns against energy, both exaggerating the risks to increase their potential income via membership dues or settlements, respectively.

Do we want a prosperous society, a growing economy, and a strong manufacturing base fueled by affordable natural gas, or do we want an elite class of trial lawyers and winners of the litigation lottery? (continue reading…)

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Gov. Perry: $100 a Barrel Oil? Think about $200, $300

The uncertain situation in the Middle East could send world oil prices to $200 or $300 a barrel even as the Obama Administration fails to promote domestic energy development, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) warned today.

Gov. Perry spoke to bloggers at a briefing in Washington, D.C., this morning. (Present were Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation, Jen Rubin of The Washington Post, and your Shopfloor.org correspondent.) The governor, who is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is in town for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

In light of oil crossing the $100 a barrel price this week, we asked about the Obama Administration’s policies and attitudes toward development of domestic energy. The governor responded:

Gov. Rick Perry

Putting America’s future at jeopardy by basically hand-cuffing ourselves because of our lack of focus on domestic energy policy I think is devastating to the future.You said hundred-plus-dollar-a-barrel oil. Yes. That’s today. It certainly could go to $200 or even $300 a barrel if the situations in the Middle East – Libya, into Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen all of those countries – if we’re to see continued deterioration of peaceful conducting of business in the drilling and transportation of oil….

I don’t think it’s out of the reach of possibility to see oil even twice or three times what it is today –- devastating to the world economy.

America really needs to get on, and this Administration needs to respect that we can drill safely, cleanly, and get America independent.

Gov. Perry made those comments after citing the technological advances that have made U.S. oil and gas resources far more attainable than in the past. He named examples: the Bakken Formation in the Dakotas and Montana, the Barnett Shale natural gas formation in Texas, Marcellus Shale, and the Eagle Ford shale formation in South Texas.

I share those with you to say the United States has oil and gas reserves that can take us years and years and years into the future without being held hostage by these countries that in many cases don’t care for us all at all, at all. This Administration, with that knowledge, is making decisions that are limiting our ability to discover and produce more of those energy resources in the United States. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturing in State of the State Addresses: West Virginia

West Virginia’s new governor, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, delivered his first State of the State address on Wednesday (text). In our search for references to manufacturing in governors’ agenda-setting speeches, the Democrat takes first prize so far — not just for his specificity, but also for putting industry in the context of energy development.

Tomblin, who succeeded Gov. Joe Manchin after Manchin won the U.S. Senate election, declared, “Our top priority must be to continue to improve our business climate to attract, retain, and create good paying private sector jobs.” He naturally discussed coal, persuasively and proudly so. Less expectedly, Tomblin also hailed the potential of Marcellus Shale natural gas.

West Virginia’s economic future lies not only in its continued use of coal as a resource. Lying just a mile below the surface of much of our State is a rock formation called the Marcellus Shale. This formation is rich in natural gas and new technology and techniques have made access possible for the oil and gas industry.

The development of the Marcellus Shale formation for natural gas production is an economic development opportunity for the State, and we need to embrace it! [applause] Billions of dollars of private capital have already been invested in this activity and with it has come many jobs.

For example, today Dominion announced its intention to build a natural gas processing facility in Natrium, West Virginia. This project will allow for significant development opportunities in West Virginia. And it is not only about the production of natural gas. The development of the Marcellus Shale has the potential to restart the manufacturing industry in West Virginia. It is an opportunity that we simply cannot let go by. [applause]

Are you paying attention, New York?

The governor also emphasized the importance of education and more efficient, responsive government.

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Manufacturing in the State of the State Addresses: New York

The newly elected Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, delivered his first State of the State address Wednesday, eschewing the state Capitol to speak at the convention center of the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

Gov. Cuomo did not mention manufacturing in his remarks, which were mostly about government and the state’s budget crisis. He did decry the state’s high taxes, concentrating on property taxes: “We have to hold the line on taxes for now and reduce taxes in the future. New York has no future as the tax capital of the nation. Our young people will not stay. Our business will not come. This has to change.”

Otherwise, Cuomo’s business-related proposals showed a reliance on government. From the transcript:

We are going to establish economic regional councils. Ten economic regional councils all across the State. They are going to be chaired by Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy. These will be public private sector partnerships the focus of which is to create jobs, jobs, jobs in those regions. It starts with the premise that there is no top down template to create jobs. You have different regions in this State with different assets and different abilities and these plans are going to have to come from the bottom up and let’s empower the local communities to plan their future and help themselves.

Higher education will be the key economic driver. We look to partner with our great SUNY system, especially across upstate New York in making this a reality. They will provide both intergovernmental and intra-governmental coordination and be one stop shops. State government, county government, local government will all be on one board and all the State agencies will be on that one board. If you need to get something done in that region, it’s a one stop shop and the government will actually cooperate with each other rather than conflict with each other.

These councils will have two main functions. First they will coordinate all the existing economic development money that goes into that region, primarily through ESDC. But second, they will be able to come up with job development plans and then compete against the other councils – to compete for up to $200 million in funding. Competition works. Let them come up with their best plans, compete against the other regions and we will fund the most creative plans.

The strategy will be familiar to followers of state government: Councils, coordination, one-stop shops, seed money, higher education as an economic-development engine. Some private-sector jobs might result, eventually.

Gov. Cuomo missed what would be a far more effective strategy for jobs: developing natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation, already a proven engine of growth in Pennsylvania. Now that would have a been a striking call an end to business as usual: “We will embrace the potential of the Marcellus Shale, moving forward with development a vibrant natural gas industry homegrown in New York State, creating jobs and providing the affordable energy that will boost industry and save money for New York consumers.”

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Haynesville! The Movie

From The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Documentary about natural gas field debuts on CNBC,” announcing tonight’s premiere of Haynesville, a documentary film that tracks the lives of three people affected by the big Haynesville Shale natural gas field in Louisiana and East Texas.

The full title is Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future. The film outlines potential economic benefits of the field and shale gas development in the U.S., as well as concerns of residents it could directly affect.

The three “stars” of the film are Kassi Fitzgerald, a single mother and community activist who tries to help secure a favorable gas lease agreement and environmental protections for the rural area where she lives; Reegis Richard, a pastor who uses drilling proceeds to benefit his growing church and expand education and recreation opportunities for youths; and Mike Smith, a self-described “country boy” and lover of the outdoors who marvels at his new millionaire status while trying to keep his rural-oriented life on an even keel.

Haynesville will premiere tonight 9 p.m. Eastern on CNBC. The one hour documentary will repeat at 10 p.m., midnight and 1 a.m.

The movie’s website is www.haynesvillemovie.com. We’re already awaiting the sequel, Marcellus!

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’60 Minutes’, Hydrofracturing, and Cowboys Beat Giants

“60 Minutes” ran a segment Sunday on the growth of natural gas production in the United States thanks to hydrofracturing; the technology uses pressurized fluids to crack shale formations deep underground to release the gas. Given the CBS program’s tendency to sensationalize, we were a little surprised to see industry representatives make such positive comments about the piece, “Energy: The Pros and Cons of Shale Gas Drilling: Emerging Energy Source Burns Cleaner Than Coal, Could Reduce U.S. Dependence On Foreign Oil.”

As The Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre reported in “TV report focuses on gas drilling”:

Chris Tucker, of EnergyInDepth.org, an organization that promotes the benefits of natural gas drilling, said the segment was “fairly balanced,” although the show didn’t get everything right.

“I think they did a great job of telling the story of real people, everyday people, all across the country whose lives have changed for the better thanks to the development of this clean, American resource,” Tucker said.

“They didn’t quite get it right when they attempted to venture into the regulatory history of hydraulic fracturing. The reality is that fracturing technology is among the most thoroughly regulated procedures that takes place at the wellsite, which is a big reason why it’s been able to compile such a solid record of safety and performance over the past 60 years of commercial use.”

The most heated debates over hydrofracking are occurring in Pennsylvania and New York, regions where the Marcellus Shale formation is being developed (less so in New York). Critics often claim methane contaminates water wells and even causes explosions. A “60 Minutes” scene showed a man lighting a flame while filling a water jug from his well. But, as Travis Windle of the Marcellus Shale Coalition points out in the Times-Leader story, “Pennsylvania has a long and well-documented history of naturally occurring methane entering private water wells. ‘It will take private water well standards and fact-based reporting on pre-existing methane in water wells from shallow sources of contamination to demonstrate how safe shale gas development is,’ he said.” (continue reading…)

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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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Different Attitudes Toward Energy, Different Results

Bloomberg, “North Dakota Passes Oklahoma in Drilling Rigs as Baker Hughes Count Rises“: “North Dakota overtook Oklahoma this week as the third-most active state in drilling for oil and natural gas, according to data published by Baker Hughes Inc. The number of North Dakota rigs exploring for and producing oil and gas jumped by two to 128, Baker Hughes said.”

Job Service North Dakota, July 20, “North Dakota’s Unemployment Rate 4.1% for June“: “Job Service North Dakota (JSND) reported that labor statistics released today show North Dakota’s June not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. The rate is 0.9 percentage points higher than May (3.2 percent), and 0.6 percentage points below the same period of prior year (4.7 percent).”

Job Service North Dakota, August 2, “Oilfield Jobs in North Dakota”: “Looking for work in the oil industry? lick on this article for an overview of the industry, wage information, frequently asked questions, and more.”

Bloomberg, August 3, “New York Weighs State Drilling Ban on Natural Gas From Shale“: “Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) — Companies led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. would be banned temporarily from drilling for natural gas in shale in New York under state legislation proposed because of disputes over environmental risks.”

New York State Department of Labor, July 15, Unemployment Rate Dropped to 8.2% in June, Lowest Since April ’09“: “New York State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 8.3% in May to 8.2% in June 2010, the State Labor Department reported today. This was the state’s lowest unemployment rate since April 2009, when it was 8.1%. …New York State’s economy lost 8,500 private sector jobs (-0.1%) in June 2010, on a seasonally adjusted basis. This was the state’s second straight monthly decline in private sector jobs.”

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