Shale coalition president promotes drilling’s economic benefits

Orginally published on May 21, 2010


SCRANTON – The president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition on Monday told regional community leaders that development of the Marcellus Shale not only will help the economy on a large scale, but it’s just as important to recognize the effects on the area business owners and the area job market.

Kathryn Klaber, who was hired four months ago as the first president of the fledgling coalition, said it was formed in 2008 to advance responsible development of natural gas from the geological formation that lies more than a mile below a good portion of the state.

She was a guest speaker at the annual Lackawanna-Luzerne County Indicators Report presented by the Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development at the Radisson Lackawanna Station hotel.

The report looks at many factors in the area, including jobs, economics, housing and education. All of those are being influenced by development of the Marcellus Shale, Klaber said.

Klaber said macroeconomics are important, “and every shale play has them. But we also realize we have to make this more understandable, that these are real jobs with real companies in Pennsylvania,” she said.

“Around a well site, you’ve got basically a $4 million construction project for each well. And with that comes all sorts of stuff that we make here in Pennsylvania. This is a chance to kind of rebuild that making-and-doing economy,” Klaber said.

Klaber went through each step of well development and explained the types of companies are involved, the kinds and quantities of materials used, and the opportunities that already are being realized by local and Pennsylvania companies.

With new well cementing regulations being proposed by the state Department of Environmental protection, “there is more cement manufacturing that we could be doing here. Rail has been seeing record months of cargo with their hauling related to the Marcellus, she said.

“When we think of it, we just think, oh, the handful of people running that one piece of equipment to drill the well,” Klaber said.

“Oh my gosh, no. In site operation, who’s going to bring backhoes and graders from out-of-state? No, it’s the companies that own the backhoes and graders that is going to be hired to do the site preparation work. Compressors, we’ve got a lot of companies that build components for compressor stations here,” she said.

“Chief Oil & Gas had a 4,000-ton order they just placed with U.S. Steel in the Mon Valley (near Pittsburgh). It’s 50 miles of pipe and that’s only a fraction of what you need in the course of a year,” Klaber said.

Klaber said the coalition is 92 members strong and “growing by the dozens every month.”

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