Posts Tagged ‘STATE COLLEGE’
Barnstorming Pa., MSC Continues to Educate, Engage “Friends of Marcellus”
The positive and overwhelming benefits associated with the responsible development of the Marcellus Shale’s abundant, homegrown, clean-burning natural gas know no county lines or state borders. Considered to be the world’s second largest natural gas field – second only to one in Iran – the Marcellus Shale’s potential to generate jobs, revenue and opportunity for all Pennsylvanians is real. And it’s a story worth taking on the road.
And so this week, that’s what the Marcellus Shale Coalition and its growing grassroots network did – traveling the length and width of the Commonwealth to continue to educate and engage the 12 million folks that proudly call Pennsylvania home. Along the way, we also took some time to highlight the economic, supply-chain and job growth opportunities that continue to be created for the local workforce — efforts that will continue at an aggressive pace as the responsible exploration of clean-burning natural gas in Pennsylvania continues to expand.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the ground that the MSC has covered in just the past couple days, along with a run-down of where we’re headed next:
We Started in Philadelphia
The MSC joined the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to educate local businesses last week of the enormous opportunities that exist up and down the Marcellus Shale supply chain. MSC president Kathryn Klaber also met with elected leaders in Philadelphia to discuss the merits of natural gas-powered vehicles, and other benefits that the Mighty Marcellus will continue to deliver to the city’s residents.
- “There’s a lot of safeguards in place…that make sure Pennsylvanians have safe drinking water,” said Marcellus Shale Coalition president Kathryn Klaber. Klaber is also here to talk about the economic benefits of expanding drilling, mainly the estimated 200,000 jobs that would be created in Pennsylvania. (ABC6 TV, 8/13/10)
Then We Headed Back to Pittsburgh
At the Pittsburgh Business Times’ Energy Inc. conference yesterday afternoon, Gov. Tom Ridge – as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – highlighted the benefits of responsible Marcellus development, as well as the safeguards in place and the commitment from the industry to protect the environment.
- Gov. Tom Ridge
o “I think this is a potentially a transformational opportunity for our state. At the same time, we have to – we must – do it in a way consistent with our commitment to retain the beauty and the bounty, and the pristine condition of Pennsylvania.”
o “I was on site today that 80 or 90 folks working that at the that site, and about 80 percent of them were local residents from Pennsylvania. Of course, the economic sustainability is real. They call it the ‘Marcellus Multiplier.’
o “At the end of the day, facts are stubborn things. And we just have to get some facts out there so people can better understand what the industry can do – and will do – to build a sustainable economic model and be true to our commitment to the environment.”
And Now We’re Headed to State College – And Beyond
In an effort to further underscore the benefits responsible that Marcellus Shale development is generating for family farmers and Pennsylvania’s agriculture economy, the MSC will attend Penn State University’s Ag Progress Days today. And tomorrow, MSC president Kathryn Klaber will discuss ways that local business can join the growing Marcellus supply chain network with the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) at Lock Haven University; she will also participate in a shale gas forum at Marywood University, alongside U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
Interested in learning more, and joining our fight for a stronger economy and a cleaner and more secure energy future? Become a “Friend of Marcellus” today.
What They’re Saying: Responsible Marcellus Development “A wonderful thing,” Creating “much-needed jobs and economic growth”
- “Business is booming thanks to the lucrative gas drilling industry tapping into the Marcellus Shale”
- Marcellus development “enables those of us who have farms to keep our farms so they can be passed on to our families”
- “Safe and responsible gas development could provide the three counties with much-needed jobs and economic growth”
- WV small business “having a banner year in 2010”
“Marcellus Shale region creating growth of business and industry”: “With the development of the Marcellus Shale region creating growth of business and industry within Bradford County, we feel there is tremendous opportunity for this new hotel. In addition to our locations in State College and Lock Haven, it becomes our third Fairfield Inn and Suites in the region.” (Star-Gazette, 7/14/10)
Marcellus development positively impacting local businesses; WV small business “already is having a banner year”: “Assuming the landowner group agrees to $3,000 per acre, the resulting $79.2 million could have a major impact not only on landowners, but on local businesses. Karen Knight, a partner at Knights Farm Supply in Glen Easton, said her company already is having a banner year in 2010 as both property owners and the drilling companies themselves scramble to acquire heavy equipment and other items. “We have seen a big increase in tractor sales, farm equipment sales, grass seed for reseeding at the drilling sites, straw for reseeding and other items. It’s a better year than 2009 for sure,” she said. “Our counter is swamped every day with residents and representatives from the drilling companies. In fact, our parts and counter people are about done in. We’ve been extremely busy.” (News-Register, 7/18/10)
“Prosperous Plans For Bradford County”: “As gas companies tap into the Marcellus Shale in Bradford County, businesses are looking to cash in on what many now consider a booming local economy. … A once abandoned warehouse is now the home for a trucking company. A hotel — gutted for refurbishing. And a excavator sits in this empty lot ready for its next construction project. One thing is clear in Bradford County — business is booming thanks to the lucrative gas drilling industry tapping into the Marcellus Shale, as thousands of workers and their families flock to the area. “I think there are many small towns across America that would die to have a natural resource that they can sell and revitalize their economy,” said Mike Holt of Red Rose Diner in Towanda. (WBNG-TV, 7/13/10)
Marcellus Shale helping to keep family farms in tact: “Nearly 600 residents attended Wednesday’s day-long DRBC meeting to plead their clashing cases: That drilling is needed not only to produce relatively clean energy but to save economically desperate communities … Landowners like Judy Ahrens of Hanesdale, Pa., argued that they should be able to lease the mineral rights to their land. “It enables those of us who have farms to keep our farms so they can be passed on to our families so they don’t have to be split up and developed,” she said. (Associated Press, 7/15/10)
“Gas drilling not only creates local jobs, but increases the nation’s energy independence”: “Gas drilling not only creates local jobs, but increases the nation’s energy independence, pro-drillers say. “I support gas drilling,” said David Jones, as part of a three-hour public comment period with more than 250 speakers. “I also believe that the industry is being unfairly treated. This process has been delayed for too long. Let’s get the regulations out,” he said, to the jeers of most of the crowd. “We don’t need further studies. The process should move forward.” (Bucks Co. Courier Times, 7/15/10)
Responsible Marcellus development “a win win situation all around”: “Some landowners in Wayne County want natural gas drilling to start and start now. They are upset over a decision to halt drilling by a group watching out for the land and water in the Delaware River Basin. Landowners are ready for the halt on gas drilling to be lifted in Wayne County. “It will help to maintain open space and keep our forest grounds grounded and our farms farming.The influx of cash is desperately needed in the state of Pennsylvania, and particularly in the depressed areas of Wayne County, said Alliance Executive Director Marian Schweighofter. … “The effect this has had is its given us the ability to make a college fund for our family members. We think it’s a win win situation all around, most definitely for the economic ability of Wayne County,” said Schweighofter. (WNEP-TV, 7/13/10)
Marcellus production providing “much-needed jobs and economic growth”: “The bottom line is this: If natural gas drilling has economic benefits for Wayne County and can be conducted safely with people mindful about protecting our natural resource, the Delaware River, then shouldn’t we explore the possibilities? … Mary Beth Wood, WEDCO’s executive director, said it best in stating that the coalition — through pooling resources — can gather the best information available. “Safe and responsible gas development could provide the three counties with much-needed jobs and economic growth,” Wood said. (Wayne Independent Editorial, 7/14/10)
Marcellus economic “ripple effect will benefit everyone”: “The Marcellus shale gas drilling boom drew companies from across the country. More than 100 of them packed the Indiana County Fairgrounds Wednesday. The PA Gas Expo was a job fair, a networking event, and a chance for folks to find out what Marcellus shale gas drilling means in employment for thousands. County Commissioners said they have already noticed hotels and restaurants in Indiana County filling up with gas company workers. They said ripple effect will benefit everyone. “The growth element for the region will not be in just one area, but in many areas. And we need to be prepared for that,” said Rod Ruddock. (WJAC-TV, 7/14/10)
“Is this a golden era for Pennsylvania? Absolutely it is.”: “In a sour economy, the word out of Renda Broadcasting Corp.’s first Pennsylvania Gas Expo was sweet: Now hiring. Several companies at the expo, held Wednesday at the Mack Park fairgrounds, reported thatthey are in a hiring mode as they ramp up operations in the Marcellus shale fields underlying the region. The expo brought together 120 or so natural gas producers, drillers, land brokers, well-service companies, suppliers and job seekers. … “Is this a golden era for Pennsylvania? Absolutely it is,” said Rod Foreman, Vanderra’s director of growth and corporate development, speaking during a panel discussion. (Indiana Gazette, 7/15/10)
Pa. landowner on Marcellus development: “I think it’s a wonderful thing”: “The tiny farming community has struggled to strengthen its economy ever since Mosser Tanning Co. left town in 1961. … So, when a gas company comes and injects millions of dollars into a community that has seen half a century pass by since its industrial backbone collapsed, residents are more than excited. “I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Ms. Race said. “It’s got to help financially; much more taxes, much more money. “We’re going to finish paying our mortgage off.” (Times-Tribune, 7/19/10)
Homeowners getting in on Marcellus Shale benefits: “In this struggling economy homeowners have been coming forward hoping to make a big buck from Marcellus shale natural gas drilling boom. Mary Elwood and her husband own a farm in Saltburg, Indiana County. They already have three gas wells and a lease with PC Explorations. Elwood said it is a very profitable endeavor. She wants to sign a lease with another gas company for Marcellus shale drilling. “We get a nice check four times a year,” said Elwood. (WJAC-TV,7/14/10)
Filling county coffers: Marcellus “lease, permit fees good for tens of thousands of dollars”: “The governmental fees related to natural gas drilling that industry officials have been dangling as a cash carrot of sorts to local officials are starting to add up in Luzerne County. A review of county Zoning Office records revealed that just on Wednesday, the office took in $4,450 in permit fees for the construction of a natural gas metering station on property owned by Thomas Raskiewicz near Mossville and Hartman roads in Fairmount Township. … Butthe big winner among county offices to date – as far as revenue associated with natural gas drilling – is the Office of the Recorder of Deeds. (Times-Leader, 7/19/10)
Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale that underlies much of Northeastern Pennsylvania is expected to create hundreds to thousands of jobs, depending on who’s doing the projections, and have other widespread economic effects.
Company jobs should come with good pay
Some of those new work opportunities will be with the drilling and gas companies, but others are expected to be with subcontracted services, from land surveying and engineering to hauling and construction. Legal and banking services also will be needed.
Chesapeake Energy has invested significantly in not only leasing land in Pennsylvania, but in doing business with private companies.
With 94 wells drilled in the state in 2009 and more than 200 additional wells planned for this year, the company has paid subcontractors and vendors in Pennsylvania $269 million since January 2009, company spokesman Rory Sweeney said in an e-mail.
Among the first employers to see the effects of natural gas exploration are law, surveying and engineering firms.
“We are seeing an increase in our business volume,” said Mark Van Loon, a partner with Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald, a law firm with offices in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton.
“We’ve represented quite a few people in relation to the Marcellus Shale and land leases in Luzerne County, north to the New York border, and east and west from there in Susquehanna, Bradford, Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. There have been some in Wayne County, but not as much,” Van Loon said.
Lease holders also will also need to protect their financial assets, and that’s where banks come into the picture.
David Raven, president and chief executive officer of Pennstar Bank, said the financial institution is seeing a significant increase in business related to Marcellus Shale at branches in Susquehanna County.
“It’s specific to folks who receive lease (bonus) payments and eventually will receive royalties on the gas that’s produced,” Raven said.
In addition to landowners who want to protect their rights while negotiating the most lucrative deals, firms and individuals that enter into large contracts with the gas and drilling companies – engineers, construction firms, suppliers and haulers, for example – will want to have those contracts vetted before signing, according to Van Loon.
“If somebody has a contract that’s large enough, they’re likely to have it reviewed by their legal counsel because it involves too much risk for them not to. And there could be contractual disputes in relation to the delivery or performance of services,” he said.
Van Loon said his firm has five attorneys actively working on oil and gas lease issues, but at this point the partners have not seen the need to hire additional staff.
That’s not the case with Borton Lawson, an engineering firm based in Plains Township that also has offices in Bethlehem, State College and, as of two months ago because of the business generated by the Marcellus shale, in Wexford – a town in Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs.
Chris Borton, company president, has referred to the Pittsburgh area as “the heart of the gas and oil industry” in the region.
Last year, Borton Lawson laid off some of its survey crew workers as companies hurt by the recession cut back on land development. But over the last six months, the firm has hired six to eight people – including several surveyors – for jobs directly related to the Marcellus Shale.
And the company is looking for 13 more employees right now to fill positions such as environmental engineers and scientists, an electrical engineer, an automation engineer and a mechanical engineer.
Salaries for those jobs range from $40,000 to $80,000 depending on the type of job and experience of the employee, Borton said.
Borton said his firm is working with five natural gas companies in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The company will open a satellite office in the borough of Towanda, the county seat of Bradford County, on April 15 because of the extensive natural gas exploration and drilling in that area.
County drilling near
One of the gas companies – Encana Oil and Gas Inc. – has leased 25,000 acres of property in Luzerne County. The land is mainly on the north side of Route 118 in Fairmount, Ross, Lake and Lehman townships.
Encana so far has obtained permits for drilling one well in Lake Township and another in Fairmount Township and is seeking a permit for one in Lehman Township, said company spokesman Doug Hock. Hydrogeological studies are now under way, and officials hope to begin constructing wells by May.
“For every well drilled, that creates about 120 jobs, either directly or indirectly. … The bulk of these jobs as we begin operations are done by subcontractors,” Hock said.
Subcontracted work includes water haulers, truck drivers, construction crews for well pad grading and construction and rig hands after the wells are built. Local average wages could see a boost, given that salaries even for less skilled positions range from $60,000 and $70,000, he said.
Hock said Encana prefers to hire local contractors, “but it’s not always possible because of the skills available in the labor market.”
He couldn’t predict how many new jobs will be generated by Encana operations because officials won’t know how many additional wells – if any – might be drilled until they see the results of natural gas production from the first two or three.
“By the end of 2010, we’ll have an idea if we have a good program, something that’s economically viable that we can continue to develop,” Hock said.
Steve Mocarsky, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 970-7311.
Copyright: Times Leader
Penn State study finds money Pa. landowners receive will ripple through state economy.
The Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE — With energy companies rushing to lock up rights to suddenly valuable deposits of natural gas, royalties earned by Pennsylvania landowners will ripple through the broader state economy, according to a Penn State University forecast.
Royalty payments will spur additional spending by landowners throughout the economy and lead to the creation of new jobs that will attract workers, researchers said.
There has been something of a land rush in parts of Pennsylvania recently as energy companies negotiate leases to drill into previously untapped reserves of natural gas.
A rock formation in parts of four states, called the Marcellus Shale, is believed to hold a large reservoir of natural gas. Geologists and energy companies have known for decades about the gas, but only recently have figured out a way to extract it.
In their study, Penn State researchers used $1 billion in annual royalty income as a yardstick to measure potential gains in employment, disposable income, population and other economic indicators in Pennsylvania through 2011. The actual amount of royalty income could be higher or lower; the study did not provide a forecast.
“It’s a real unknown at this point,” David Passmore, director of the Penn State Institute for Research in Training and Development, said Tuesday. “Royalty income only occurs when the asset is lifted out of the ground. When the gas comes out, nobody knows. How much comes out, nobody knows.”
According to the researchers, each $1 billion in royal
Copyright: Times Leader
Energy resource below Appalachia in four states seen as possible boon.
GENARO C. ARMAS Associated Press Writer
STATE COLLEGE — More than a mile beneath an area of Appalachia covering parts of four states lies a mostly untapped reservoir of natural gas that could swell U.S. reserves.
Geologists and energy companies have known for decades about the gas in the Marcellus Shale, but only recently have figured out a possible – though expensive – way to extract it from the thick black rock about 6,000 feet underground.
Like prospectors mining for gold, energy executives must decide whether the prize is worth the huge investment.
“This is a very real prospect, very real,” said Stephen Rhoads, president of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association. “This could be a very significant year for this.”
The shale holding the best prospects covers an area of 54,000 square miles, from upstate New York, across Pennsylvania into eastern Ohio and across most of West Virginia – a total area bigger than the state of Pennsylvania.
It could contain as much as 50 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, according to a recent study by researchers at Penn State University and the State University of New York at Fredonia.
The United States produces about 19 trillion cubic feet of gas a year, so the Marcellus field would be a boon if new drilling technology works, Penn State geoscientist Terry Engelder said.
“The value of this science could increment the net worth of U.S. energy resources by a trillion dollars, plus or minus billions,” he said.
The average consumer price for natural gas in the United States is forecast to rise 78 percent between the 2001-2002 and 2007-2008 winter heating seasons, which last from October to March. Prices will go from $7.45 to $13.32 per thousand cubic feet this season, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
That translates into the average season bill nearly doubling during the same period from $465 to $884.
One of the main players in Pennsylvania, Range Resources Corp., of Fort Worth, Texas, has roughly 4,700 wells statewide – though it’s the results from five new horizontal wells in southwestern Pennsylvania that have company executives especially hopeful.
The company, in a December financial report, estimated that two horizontal wells are producing roughly 4.6 million cubic feet of gas per day. Tests on an additional three recently completed horizontal wells showed potential for a total of 12.7 million cubic feet of gas per day.
“We’re extremely encouraged. We see many viable parts of the Marcellus that will be commercial,” said Range Senior Vice President Rodney Waller.
Yet he cautioned it was still too early to determine how successful the venture could be because of limited data.
The upfront money may give some pause to prospectors. A typical well that drills straight down to a depth of about 2,000 to 3,000 feet costs roughly $800,000.
But in the Marcellus Shale, Range and other companies hope a different kind of drilling might yield better results – one in which a well is dug straight down to depths of about 6,000 feet or more, before making a right angle to drill horizontally into the shale. That kind of well could cost a company $3 million to build, not counting the cost of leasing the land, Engelder said.
So the multimillion-dollar question is whether that technology can consistently release the gas from the layer of rock hundreds of millions of years old.
Scientists had long thought the Marcellus served as a source perhaps for shallower wells dug by conventional drills. Previous attempts to extract gas conventionally from the Marcellus haven’t led to much success.
According to Engelder, a series of seams, or fractures, in the rock could hold the key.
Drilling horizontally into this matrix could help give the gas an outlet to escape, said Engelder, a principal owner in Appalachian Fracturing Systems Inc., a consulting firm to gas companies.
Homeowners are intrigued, too. About 80 people packed into a lecture hall at Penn State Wilkes-Barre for a gas drilling information seminar sponsored by the university’s cooperative extension.
People such as Carl Penedos, who owns 150 acres of Wyoming County, relayed stories of gas company representatives knocking on the doors of neighbors seeking to lease land. A couple of neighbors recently signed leases for $50 per acre per year, while others have been offered $500 per acre, he said.
The homebuilder said he was also concerned about the potential environmental impact of drilling.
Copyright: Times Leader