Archive for the ‘Marcellus Shale Coalition’ Category

MSC Letter to PA DEP Secretary Michael Krancer

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), I write to you today to express our commitment to meet the call of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to halt the delivery of flowback and produced water from shale gas extraction to the facilities that currently accept it under special provisions of last year’s Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) regulations. Our members are carefully reviewing their operations and support achieving this milestone by May 19, 2011. The MSC shares the DEP’s dedication to the protection of public water supplies and is taking this action as a clear demonstration of that commitment. This decision is a further reflection of our Guiding Principles for responsible natural gas production – including our focus on state of the art environmental protections and increased transparency in our operations throughout the Commonwealth.

MSC Actively Addressing Bromide Issue, Supports DEP Guidance

Canonsburg, PA – The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) is actively working to reduce the amount of water taken to surface discharge facilities and is crafting solutions to address the issue of bromides entering waterways. When present with organic matter and chlorine – commonly used to at drinking water plants – brominated species of trihalomethanes (THMs) can form. Bromide, however, is not a public health concern, unless it reacts with other elements to form THMs above safe drinking water standards over an extended period of time. There are many known bromide contributors in our waterways. Marcellus operators are recycling significant and growing amounts of water; these figures continue to increase as technologies advance.

Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the MSC, issued the following statement:

“Research by Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority experts suggests that the natural gas industry is a contributing factor to elevated levels of bromide in the Allegheny and Beaver Rivers. We are committed to leading efforts, and working alongside DEP and other stakeholders, to address these issues quickly and straightforwardly, and support the appropriate action taken by DEP today. As emphasized in our Guiding Principles, our industry will continue to implement state-of-the-art environmental protection across our operations and operate in a transparent and responsible manner.”

Gov. Tom Ridge, an MSC strategic advisor, added this:

“The Marcellus Shale Coalition remains committed to developing this great natural resource in a responsible manner. When sound research is brought to our attention, we will take swift action to address issues directly, as laid out in our Guiding Principles. We support DEP’s efforts, and will continue to work aggressively and collaboratively to craft solutions aimed to protecting our waterways and our environment.”

What They’re Saying: Shale Gas Development Moving Country Toward Cleaner Energy Future, Diminishing the Middle East’s Strategic Importance

New York Times Columnist Joe Nocera: “The country has been handed an incredible gift with the Marcellus Shale. With an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of reserves, it is widely believed to be the second-largest natural gas field ever discovered. Which means that those of you who live near this tremendous resource have two choices. You can play the Not-In-My-Backyard card, employing environmental scare tactics to fight attempts to drill for that gas. Or you can embrace the idea that America needs the Marcellus Shale, accept the inconvenience that the drilling will bring, but insist that it be done properly. If you choose this latter path, you will be helping to move the country to a fuel that is — yes — cleaner than oil, while diminishing the strategic importance of the Middle East, where American soldiers continue to die. (New York Times, 4/15/11)

“Local Economy Could Benefit From Utica Shale Leasing”: Ohioans are rediscovering oil and natural gas in their own backyards, because of the potential of the Utica Shale deposits thousands of feet below the surface. And Coshocton and surrounding counties are primed for the pumping. Energy companies are looking to lease land to expand west out of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale and into Ohio’s Utica Shale play. … “It’s a game-changer for the economy here,” [Jack Sordoni, president of Homeland Energy Ventures] said, due to the potential for six-figure bonus payments and annual royalties. (Coshocton Tribune, 4/17/11)

NY Congressman Tom Reed: “New York – and America – Can Profit From Marcellus Shale”: Responsible development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas field has tremendous potential to help meet both of these challenges, and many, many more. In 2009, the production of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania had an economic output of more than $3.8 billion, and generated more than $400 million in state and local tax revenues, while creating 48,000 new jobs. There is no reason to believe that we wouldn’t see a similar positive effect in New York. We need this economic development. The 2010 census numbers released recently were, unfortunately, no surprise. Western New York and the southern tier of New York experienced concentrated levels of population decline. … Penn State recently determined that counties in Pennsylvania where Marcellus development has taken place saw, on average, an 11 percent growth in sales tax revenue. Our local governments could derive much needed revenue from Marcellus Shale production. (Washington Examiner, 4/14/11)

“Ohio’s Shale Deposits Hold Potential For Oil, Gas Jobs”: Thousands of feet below the surface of Ohio, encased inside a rock formation millions of years old, is a veritable ocean of oil and natural gas that could be worth billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs. … Eventually, drilling jobs could be created in eastern Ohio, where unemployment rates are much higher than the state and national averages. Some landowners there already have benefited, getting thousands of dollars per acre from mineral extractors competing over increasingly fewer tracts. … Pennsylvania and West Virginia both enjoyed a natural gas boom in recent years spawned from the Marcellus Shale, which sits a thousand feet or so above the Utica and has only a small presence in the extreme east of Ohio. … A Penn State University report, updated last year, on the economic effect of the Marcellus projects expects 111,000 total jobs to be created this year alone. More than $10 billion will be added to the Pennsylvania economy through extraction from the Marcellus, according to the report. (Zanesville Times Recorder, 4/17/11)

“Marcellus Among Reasons Pittsburgh Moves up 48 Slots on Small Business Vitality Rankings”: Credit the Marcellus gas exploration boom for keeping Judy Wojanis smiling these days. The emerging gas industry is fueling double-digit sales growth at Wojanis Hydraulic Supply Co. Inc., a Coraopolis-based supplier of pneumatic and fluid power equipment, said Wojanis, company president. And the company has been hiring, too. Wojanis Hydraulic employs 18 people, three of whom were added in the past year. “There’s been a boom during the last two years,” Wojanis said. “We’re very happy about it.” (Pittsburgh Business Times, 4/15/11)

“Unprecedented Economic Impacts of Shale Gas Development”: Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for Range Resources in Cecil, said that’s an example of the “unprecedented economic impacts of shale gas development” in the state. He noted an uptick this year in weekly wages in Washington County and an almost 50 percent increase in the number of Pennsylvania mining and logging industry jobs from 2007 to 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Tribune-Review, 4/17/11)

USA Today Analysis Shows Marcellus-Related Jobs in Pa. Continue to Grow As Nation’s Workforce Hits 30-Year Low

Canonsburg, Pa. – According to a new USA Today analysis, “The share of the population that is working fell to its lowest level last year since women started entering the workforce in large numbers three decades ago.” In today’s paper, reporter Dennis Cauchon notes that “only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record.”

The nation’s economic outlook, by most metrics, is grim. In Pennsylvania, modest overall employment growth is projected over the next year, the USA Today reports. Yet there’s a silver lining. While many industries have experienced cutbacks and lower rates of projected job growth, Pennsylvania’s ‘Natural resources & mining’ and ‘Professional & business services’ — at respective rates of 4.0% and 3.2% — continue to be leading sources of job creation in the Commonwealth.

Natural resources jobs account for direct Marcellus Shale-related employment. And according to the USA Today, professional and business services jobs included ‘scientific, technical services, management of companies, administrative support, waste management and remediation services.’ (Yes, these numbers are in line with the Marcellus Shale’s Coalition’s (MSC) analysis from earlier this month – available HERE).

We call it the ‘Marcellus Multiplier’ – the powerful supply chain, made up of a host of small and mid-sized businesses, that plays a critical role in enabling the responsible development of clean-burning American natural gas from up to 9,000 feet below ground. Here’s a quick look at how this job-creating impact is revitalizing communities:

  • While Fewer Than Half Americans Had Jobs Last Year, Penn Tech Grads “Can Pick From 15 to 20” Marcellus Jobs: Students graduating from the Pennsylvania College of Technology with two-year degrees in heavy equipment technology and diesel mechanics are being offered up to $20 an hour, said Mary Sullivan, dean of natural resources management. Some graduates are earning $70,000 a year, she said. Companies are telling the college “we’ll take everyone you can give us and then some,” Sullivan said. A graduate can pick from 15 to 20 jobs, she said. (Patriot News, 4/9/11)
  • “Pennsylvania Enters ‘Golden Age’ of Natural Gas”: More [Marcellus] jobs draw in more people, boosting the state economy and the finances of individuals. Supply store owners like Paul Battista have tailored their inventories to meet the demands of the natural gas industry, resulting in a boom in profits. “From ‘08 to ‘09, we probably had a 30-35 percent increase in our gross sales,” Battista said. “And from ‘09 to ‘10, we had a 100 percent increase in our business. And so far, 2011, we’re seeing another 100 percent increase over 2010.” (CBN News, 4/14/11)
  • “Landscape Architects Find New Business in Marcellus Shale”: The term “landscape architect” is more likely to conjure images of Central Park in New York than it is drilling rigs in Pennsylvania, but the natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale has brought new life to a profession hit hard by the recession. … However, work generated by the Marcellus industry has become the bread and butter for many of his colleagues in the west and north-central portion of the state, said [Thomas] McLane. …McLane said he’s already seeing a surge in commercial and residential work along Route 6, the main road across the northern tier. (Patriot-News, 4/11/11)

Families, consumers, small businesses and those looking for steady work across the region recognize these clear economic benefits. In fact, a recent Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development poll analysis determined that a clear majority of Pennsylvanians support the responsible development of American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. According the survey, “among those who did have opinions, more than two times as many expressed support for developing the gas industry as opposed it.” By clear margins, respondents not only support or strongly support Marcellus Shale development, but they also believe the “availability of jobs and job training opportunities were more likely to be expected to ‘get better.’

More important than new jobs and millions in tax revenue generated for local governments and for the Commonwealth, though, is the industry’s unwavering commitment to protecting the environment and getting this historic opportunity right. “Drilling can proceed safely,” said PennFuture president and CEO Jan Jarrett this week. She’s absolutely right. And as Ray Walker Jr., senior vice president of Range Resources and chairman of the MSC, told a crowd of 700 in Pittsburgh on Monday evening: “Nobody wants to do it right more than the companies that do it.”

Interested in joining our industry? Please visit the MSC’s Jobs Portal to learn more about employment opportunities, because we’re hiring.

MSC: Draft DRBC Regulations Duplicative, Exceed Body’s Legal Authority

Canonsburg, PA – Pursuant to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) public notice for comment on Proposed Amendments to the Water Quality Regulations, Water Code and Comprehensive Plan to Provide for Regulation of Natural Gas Development Projects (hereinto “draft regulations”), the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) this week submitted comments outlining concerns with the draft regulations, while emphasizing support for working with the DRBC throughout the regulatory process.

“The MSC supports DRBC in its stated mission of ensuring that proper environmental controls are provided to safeguard the water resources of the Delaware River Basin, and of establishing a regulatory scheme within the scope of DRBC authority that complements state and federal requirements,” said Kathryn Klaber, president of the MSC. “However, the MSC has significant concern regarding the scope of the draft regulations, which we believe exceed DRBC’s legal authority and duplicate member state jurisdiction and existing DRBC programs in several critical respects.”

Specifically, the MSC’s comments, in part cite the following areas of paramount concern:

  • · Requirements for the Siting, Design and Operation of Well Pads: The Draft Regulations contain very detailed and far-reaching land use requirements pertaining to the siting, design, construction and operation of well pads for natural gas activities – representing a significant and unnecessary departure from the agency’s role of managing water resources in the basin. These proposed regulations contain a host of new construction and operational standards that are either not required by or inconsistent with state regulatory requirements.
  • · Exceed the Scope of DRBC authority: DRBC’s regulatory authority is derived from, and thus limited by, the Delaware River Basin Compact, which established DRBC in 1961 as a regional agency to manage and control the water resources of the Delaware River Basin. The Compact does not grant DRBC review and approval authority over land use as outlined in the draft regulations.
  • · Duplicative of State Requirements: Both New York and Pennsylvania have comprehensive oil and gas regulatory programs.  DRBC should defer to the member state programs in all areas where they regulate, and thereby avoid unnecessary, duplicative requirements and administrative costs.
  • · Natural Gas Development Plan (NGDP) is Unworkable: A requirement to submit a 5-year NGDP for review and approval, which would compel operators to prepare detailed, forward-looking information about the development of all of their leasehold areas in the Basin, is unworkable and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the manner in which natural gas development occurs. This level of detail – over the entirety of an operator’s lease holdings to be developed in 5-years – would be impossible to assemble with any meaning or accuracy in advance.
  • · Water Related to Natural Gas Development: The Draft Regulations addresses water sources for uses related to natural gas development.  Much of this section is unnecessary, since DRBC already has a well-established program for review and approval of water withdrawals.  DRBC should utilize its existing program for Project Review under Section 3.8 of the Compact and should not adopt a special water source program for water used in natural gas operations.  No other industry is singled out by DRBC with an industry-specific water source regulation.

In addition to submitting formal comments, the MSC, partnering with American Petroleum Institute (API), requested an independent analysis of the draft regulations by ALL Consulting, a professional consulting firm specializing in water management, planning and energy development. The complete analysis, available HERE, was submitted to the DRBC for review and consideration. Following are several key findings of the analysis:

  • The consumptive water use requirements for natural gas development at full build-out, as compared to other water uses within the Basin, are relatively minor. The nuclear power industry uses more than 10 times the amount of water that would be used for natural gas development; golf course maintenance uses more than 20 times the amount; and thermoelectric power generation and agriculture use more than 45 times the amount.
  • The land footprint for natural gas development, as compared to other land uses, is relatively minor. The footprint for natural gas development would be less than the footprint for golf courses in the Basin and 50 times less than the footprint for homes in the Basin.
  • Absent a variance, the siting restrictions and setbacks contained in the Draft Regulations would preclude natural gas development in more than half of the land area overlying the Marcellus Shale formation in the Basin.
  • Many of the submittals, reporting requirements and notices required by the Draft Regulations are duplicative of host state requirements.
  • The process of applying for and obtaining approval to develop natural gas wells pursuant to the Draft Regulations is likely to take as long as 24 months.

The ALL Report also includes a comprehensive bibliography of technical resources that address many of the issues raised in comments to DRBC regarding shale gas development in the Basin.

MSC on New Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Site: “Positive Step Toward Further Heightening Transparency”

Canonsburg, Pa. – After months of collaborative efforts led by the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), officially launched yesterday. The site, funded in part by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, will disclose the additives used in the hydraulic fracturing process on a well-by-well basis. These additives typically make of less than 0.5 percent of the fluids used in the process – the remaining 99.5 percent is made up of water and sand.

“As underscored in our Guiding Principles, our industry is continuously working to improve best practices while seeking transparency across all of our operations. This new site is a critical tool, and represents a positive step toward further heightening transparency,” said Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. “This online database should also bring closure to the question of what and how many additives are used in the fracturing process, a tightly-regulated 60 year old technology that’s been safely used more than 1.1 million times across the nation without ever impacting groundwater.”

In a release, GWPC executive director Mike Paque said: “For the past six months, our two organizations have been working together to build this first-of-its-kind web-based national chemical registry. As more and more questions were asked about the hydraulic fracturing process the past couple of years – particularly relating to chemical additives used in the process – we recognized an obstacle to greater disclosure was the lack of a uniform and efficient way to collect, report, and ensure public access. Information about additives used in the process was widely distributed, but difficult to access.”

·         PA DEP Fact Sheet: Chemicals Used by Hydraulic Fracturing Companies in
·         PA DEP Fact Sheet:
o    Can drilling companies keep the names of chemicals used at drilling sites a secret?
o    No. Drilling companies must disclose the names of all chemicals to be stored and used at
a drilling site in the Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan that must be submitted to
DEP as part of the permit application process.

MSC Study Adds Momentum to Nationwide Drive for Natural Gas Vehicles

NGV Roadmap Sets Strategy for More Economic and Environmental Benefits, Greater Energy Security

Canonsburg, PA – In Harrisburg, Washington, DC, and across the country, policymakers and other key stakeholders are engaged in an ongoing conversation about expanding the use of low-cost, clean-burning natural gas – specifically through consumer and commercial natural gas vehicles (NGVs).  Last week, President Obama noted that, [T]he potential for natural gas is enormous,” while detailing the benefits of NGVs.  And yesterday, several Pennsylvania state lawmakers introduced a legislative package aimed to encourage and promote NGVs, demonstrating yet again the vast potential of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

In the midst of this robust conversation, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) this week unveiled a major study – A Roadmap For Pennsylvania Jobs, Energy Security and Clean Air – laying out a strategy to position Pennsylvania as a national model for NGV use and adding further momentum to the ongoing NGV discussion.  The Roadmap examines one of the many long-term benefits associated with the responsible development of the Marcellus, in both the natural gas and transportation sectors, and provides a common sense, workable pathway to achieve a host of benefits, such as lower-cost fuel, more robust job creation, expanded energy security, and a cleaner environment for the region and nation.  Following is just a sampling of the recent media coverage of the MSC’s Roadmap and the surrounding NGV policy developments:

  • Inquirer reports on Pennsylvania Clean Transportation Corridor. “The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the trade group promoting the state’s booming natural gas industry, on Tuesday released a study it called a ‘road map’ to converting vehicles to natural gas by constructing a chain of refueling stations along Pennsylvania’s Interstate highways.  The coalition’s study calls for spending up to $208 million over five years to build a ‘Pennsylvania Clean Transportation Corridor’ of 17 new refueling stations and to subsidize 850 heavy-duty natural gas vehicles, or NGVs.  The new refueling stations would supplement an existing network of 24 stations that supply compressed natural gas to fleet operators, including agencies like the Lower Merion school district, which has converted 72 of its 112 buses to natural gas in the last 20 years.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/6/11)
  • Post-Gazette highlights potential for public and private cooperation. “GOP lawmakers unveiled their revamped seven-bill package Wednesday, aimed at encouraging businesses, transit systems and other organizations to switch their dirtier diesel engines to natural gas. The measures, dubbed collectively as ‘Marcellus Works,’ would offer $47.5 million in tax credits, grants and loans to subsidize the cost of new natural gas vehicles and fueling stations…  The drilling industry is promoting a similar message, releasing its own report earlier this week calling for 17 new fueling stations along the state’s major interstates.  Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said the GOP measures fit well with their goal of both public and private investment: ‘They reinforce the fact that it’s going to take a lot of different players.’” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/7/11)
  • Citizens Voice notes consumer, environmental benefits of NGVs. “‘The foundation of a fueling infrastructure needs to come from the fleet vehicles – the long-haul trucks and the come-back-to-base types of trucks,’ [MSC President Kathryn Z. Klaber] said, adding that the envisioned filling stations would be open to the public ‘so the early adopters on the personal vehicle side will have the ability to fuel their vehicles.’  The coalition of natural gas operators drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale wants to grow the market for the gas they produce, but the report details how the expanded use of natural gas in vehicles has broader benefits.  Natural gas costs less than diesel or gasoline, can be sourced from the state rather than foreign oil reserves and creates fewer smog-producing pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions.” (Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice, 4/6/11)
  • Tribune-Democrat cites cost savings of clean-burning natural gas. “[Natural gas] has the potential for significant savings to all levels of government, businesses and motorists.  Compressed natural gas could sell for $1.90 per gallon, according to information provided by the coalition.  Diesel fuel currently costs about $3.85 per gallon.  ‘More efficiently using American natural gas as a transportation fuel offers a clear, clean and cost-effective alternative to address air quality challenges while providing a reliable energy source to fuel economic growth,’ Klaber said.” (Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, 4/6/11)

An overview of the MSC’s Roadmap For Pennsylvania Jobs, Energy Security and Clean Air is available here.

Wheeling News-Register Editorial: “Keep Drilling Rigs at Work”

Keep Drilling Rigs at Work
April 6, 2011
By The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

  • Moratoriums such as New York’s make no sense in view of the gas drilling industry’s environmental record. We are aware of no serious, proven environmental problems with Marcellus Shale wells. … Americans need all the help we can get with new sources of energy. Economically beleaguered areas such as ours need every dime gas drilling and production can pump into our communities.”

Officials in West Virginia and Ohio have taken a relatively wise course regarding natural gas drilling. They are investigating the process used to exploit gas in the Marcellus Shale, discussing new regulations – and allowing wells to be drilled in the meantime.

Not all states have been as rational. New York has enforced a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling since 2008, while new regulations are being drafted. Maryland lawmakers are considering restrictions while they spend two years studying the industry.

That’s fine – at least for Ohio and West Virginia residents – unless the federal government gets into the act. We encourage members of Congress from our states to resist any suggestions the EPA interfere with state regulation of gas drilling.

A coalition led by several environmental groups is demanding the government conduct a “programmatic environmental impact statement” study of Marcellus Shale drilling. That would require the Environmental Protection Agency to intensify the study already in progress on issues such as drinking water quality and gas wells.

Rest assured that at some point, the more radical in the environmentalist community will suggest the government should impose its own moratorium on Marcellus Shale wells until an exhaustive study is completed.

We have no concern about such a study. The more we know about any industry, the better. That should be obvious.

But moratoriums such as New York’s make no sense in view of the gas drilling industry’s environmental record. We are aware of no serious, proven environmental problems with Marcellus Shale wells. The existing regulatory framework in most states seems to address most concerns, and new rules on the way should take care of issues unique to the Marcellus Shale drilling process.

In the meantime, Americans need all the help we can get with new sources of energy. Economically beleaguered areas such as ours need every dime gas drilling and production can pump into our communities.

By all means, then, investigate gas drilling scientifically – but don’t hamper it until and unless good reason is found to do so.

# # #

NOTE: Click HERE to view this editorial online.

New Study Outlines Pennsylvania’s Clean Transportation Roadmap

Natural Gas Vehicles: A Clear, Cleaner, Cost-Effective Alternative

Canonsburg, PA – While it is widely known that the Marcellus Shale’s abundant, clean-burning natural gas resources represent one of the world’s largest energy reserves, a new study — Roadmap for Pennsylvania Jobs, Energy Security and Clean Air — examines one of the many long-term benefits associated with the responsible development of the Marcellus, in both the natural gas and transportation sectors.

The Roadmap provides a common sense, workable pathway to achieve a host of benefits, such as lower-cost fuel, more robust job creation, expanded energy security, and a cleaner environment for the region and nation. Specifically, the study — sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) — focuses on expanding Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs), which has the potential to provide Pennsylvania with a unique opportunity to achieve a more economically and environmentally sustainable future.

“Leveraging our region’s clean-burning, job-creating resources from the Marcellus Shale, through smarter technologies, will generate huge economic and environmental benefits for Pennsylvania businesses, consumers, and public transportation systems,” said Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the MSC.

Added Klaber: “More effectively using American natural gas as a transportation fuel offers a clear, clean and cost-effective alternative to address air quality challenges, while providing a reliable, homegrown energy source to fuel economic growth. New sources of domestic energy, specifically shale gas, provides this region and our nation with a transformative opportunity. As shown in The Roadmap, the transportation sector will certainly be a part of that transformation.”

MSC members Chesapeake Energy Corporation, EQT Production Company, Range Resources, and UGI Energy Services co-sponsored the study.

“Natural gas continues to prove it will play a significant and necessary role in the Commonwealth’s – and the nation’s – clean-energy future,” noted Barbara Sexton, Director of Governmental Affairs for Chesapeake Energy Corporation.  “This Roadmap is a definitive guide for creating a profitable, sustainable and growing market for vehicles powered by natural gas.”

“This project is an important and effective first step toward achieving energy security for our country and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said David Ross EQT’s Director of Technical Marketing and Business Development. “The cost savings and environmental benefits of transitioning to NGV’s illustrated in the report underscore the importance of natural gas to this country’s energy future.”

Dan Cotherman, Manager of Business Development for Range Resources, noted, “Pennsylvania consumers have a significant stake in the future of clean-burning, abundant natural gas, and Range Resources supports this Roadmap to expand and enhance the use of this resource. Developing forward-thinking and innovative uses of natural gas in this way will further secure our energy future and solidify benefits for the entire Commonwealth.”

“UGI Utilities, Inc. supports the MSC’s Roadmap for Pennsylvania Jobs, Energy Security and Clean Air report which provides key recommendations for the transportation sector to transition to a cleaner transportation future,” said Anthony Cox, Director of Marketing for UGI Utilities, Inc. “Reducing our reliance on one fuel source with a lower cost, lower emitting, Pennsylvania produced-alternative, will create jobs and further stimulate our region’s economy.”

The Roadmap, available online HERE, projects a more than $200 million investment in the Commonwealth’s economy while yielding other benefits, including:

  • A reduction in annual fuel costs for Pennsylvania fleet operators of $9.2 million – savings that can then be reinvested into their businesses, personnel hiring, and the overall Pennsylvania economy.
  • A direct impact on more than 1,300 Pennsylvania jobs.
  • A reduction of nitrogren oxides (NOx) emissions by 702 tons, particulate matter (PM) emissions by 14.5 tons, and greenhouse gas emissions by 21,000 metric tons each year.

An overview of The Roadmap is available HERE.

Industry head wants policy to follow natural gas promise

By Michael Bradwell
Washington Observer-Reporter

CANONSBURG – The head of the Marcellus Shale Coalition said Thursday she is pleased to see President Obama include natural gas as part of a national energy strategy.

But Kathryn Klaber, executive director of the 2-year-old industry group that represents about 180 companies working in the shale strata said policies regarding the use of the fuel must be consistent going forward.

Klaber addressed more than 350 members of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce during the group’s “Executive Series” dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn, Southpointe.

“It’s good to see that natural gas is on Obama’s list,” Klaber said, “but policies need to be consistent.”

On Wednesday, Obama called for a one-third reduction in U.S oil imports by 2025, but offered little in the way of new initiatives for an energy policy, instead providing a list of energy proposals he’s already called for, including increasing domestic oil production, increasing the use of biofuels and natural gas and making vehicles more energy efficient.

Klaber, noted that because of the use of hydraulic fracturing and the production of natural gas from several large shale fields around the country, including the Marcellus, the U.S. now has an abundance of natural gas supplies that continue to grow by the month.

After stagnating at 3 trillion to 24 trillion cubic feet between 1970 and 2006, U.S production numbers have pushed to new record levels, reaching 26.85 TCF from 2009 to 2010. Last year, the industry set new records in every month except January, February and July.

At the same time, natural gas prices have declined from $8 to $10 per thousand feet in the middle of the last decade to just over $4 per mcf now.

“The big reason we’re seeing lower prices is supply,” Klaber said.

Closer to home, Klaber said the coalition, which is headquartered in Southpointe, is focused on making the gas industry’s work transparent to Pennsylvanians.

“This is an industry that’s clearly focused on doing this right,” she said, adding that drillers and regulators are dealing with an “incredibly complex set of issues” to put natural gas squarely in the middle of the national energy landscape.

According to Klaber, the industry has made safety its top focus, and she disputed claims that the shale gas industry isn’t adequately regulated in Pennsylvania.

“There’s not a single (area) of the well process that is not covered by a regulation,” Klaber said, showing a slide from the state Department of Environmental Protection website that showed 12 separate regulations for construction of a well site, 18 each for drilling and hydraulic fracturing; 10 for site reclamation; and 11 rules for midstream (processing) operations.

While acknowledging that much of the industry’s current focus is on drilling, the coalition has a longer-term goal of promoting “not just home heating and electric generation from natural gas” but finding markets for the hydrocarbons like propane, ethane and butane that accompany methane extracted from the shale, to helping to grow the use of natural gas vehicles.

Klaber said Washington County stands to benefit from those developments, by virtue of its role as the epicenter of the Marcellus Shale development, now seen as the world’s second-largest gas field.

“We are really sitting in a place that makes it strategic from a headquarters place,” she said, noting that many companies located here are involved with developing the shale across the state.

On the environmental front, she said that the industry is also making strides in recycling the millions of gallons of water required to hydraulically fracture the shale to free the natural gas from the highly compacted rocks a mile or more beneath the earth’s surface.

“We’re driving water use down and it’s making a real difference in this part of the country,” she said.