Posts Tagged ‘Westmoreland Club’

Encana Oil & Gas discusses natural gas drilling at chamber breakfast

Published: August 26, 2010

WILKES-BARRE – Encana Oil & Gas continues its quest for natural gas.

The company remains in an exploratory mode as it drills two natural gas wells in Fairmount and Lake townships, said company Vice President Don McClure.

“It’s very dependent on what we find in those two wells as to what our next steps are going to be,” Mr. McClure said.

Mr. McClure and Brian Grove, senior director of corporate development for Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s Eastern Division, spoke about the impacts of drilling natural gas wells to more than 100 business leaders who attended the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce’s CEO-to-CEO networking breakfast Wednesday at the Westmoreland Club.

Earlier this month, the Luzerne County Zoning Hearing Board granted Encana Oil & Gas conditional use to drill 10 more wells in Fairmount and Lake townships. Mr. McClure says the company is “being very conservative” with the drilling process.

“We’re only going to drill a couple wells and we’ll evaluate what they’re going to produce,” Mr. McClure said.

The company drills wells simultaneously to be efficient and reduce community impact, Mr. McClure said. The potential for water pollution are among the concerns arising from the increased drilling. Yet, Mr. McClure said he sees natural-gas drilling as a “tremendous opportunity” that could reduce dependence on Middle East oil from about 44 percent to 10 percent by increasing natural gas production.

“That’s substantial,” Mr. McClure said. “That’s the kind of impact that Marcellus Shale can have.”

Showing the company’s track record in the United States and Canada on a slide presentation, Mr. McClure said the company takes safety of people and the environment very seriously. As the second largest natural gas producer in North America, he said Encana’s goal is not to be the biggest but the “best we can possibly be.”

“We’re always pursuing a higher safety standard,” he said.

Both Mr. McClure and Mr. Grove touted benefits of natural gas drilling, which they said will be an economic development engine for job growth.

When asked how many jobs could be created as a result of Marcellus Shale, Mr. McClure said studies show for every one percent increase in natural gas production across North America, that correlates to 20,000 to 30,000 jobs.

More than 350,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania since the first commercial oil well was developed in 1859, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

When asked what the biggest misconception of drilling is, Mr. Grove was quick to respond, “Hydraulic fracturing.” Fears about hydraulic fracturing, or the process used in wells that results in fractures in rocks, have been driven by a “lack of knowledge,” he said.

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Copyright:  The Scranton Times

Banker: Marcellus Shale to boost region

Economist from M&T Bank predicts gas drilling will give area “a huge shot in the arm” in next decade.

By Ron
Business & Consumer / City Editor

WILKES-BARRE – The Marcellus Shale gas play will be “a game changer” for Northeastern Pennsylvania, bringing a “huge economic injection” and making life here very different a decade from now, an economist said Wednesday.

James Thorne , Ph.D., a chief investment officer for the M&T Bank, right, chats with Chris Borton during lunch at the Westmorland Club Wednesday.

James E. Thorne, Ph.D., chief investment officer of equities for M&T Bank, told members of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry during a luncheon talk at the Westmoreland Club that the region will get “a huge shot in the arm” from natural gas drilling. “The economic forecast is very bright.”

Gas drilling has boomed in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania since horizontal drilling technologies using pressurized liquids have made it financially feasible for companies to drill into the Marcellus Shale, a layer of gas-laden rock that runs about a mile underground from New York into Virginia.

Many landowners in Luzerne County have entered into leases with drillers, but no wells are yet operating in the county.

Thorne said the future direction of the national economy is less clear while emphasizing that the United States has a history of adapting to changing times. He cited the push into science and technology in the late 1950s after the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite as an example.

As at that time, “there’s got to be a new industry created” that the U.S. can lead the world in, Thorne said, suggesting “green” technology may be the logical successor to space exploration and the Internet. The current economic problems, he said, were made worse by a diversion of resources to consumption and housing, which do not increase productivity.

Export-led, resources and infrastructure industries need to be the immediate focus, Thorne said, adding that additional government spending to rebuild and repair aging domestic

The present weakness of the dollar is necessary, Thorne said, to give American exporters the opportunity to expand their markets. But in the long run “the solution is to create inflation.

“The dollar is a reflection of economic growth; we benefit from a weak dollar.”

“We’re going to enter an adjustment period,” Thorne said, that could be several years long. But he said there’s reason to be optimistic about the outcome.

“We’ve done this before. I’m hugely bullish on the American economy,” he said.

Copyright: Times Leader