HARRISBURG, Pa. – Members of the Natural Gas Caucus, with the support of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), brought a sampling of people to the Capitol today to discuss the economic success being realized in communities across the Commonwealth through the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation. Business executives, government officials and industry employees presented diverse perspectives on their experiences with this important economic and energy development opportunity.
Members of the MSC also brought a drill rig and a computerized van used in the fracture stimulation process for the public to view and tour.
“The Marcellus Shale story is being told in many counties, but it also needs to be told here in Harrisburg. It’s a story of new jobs, economic investment, energy development and environmental stewardship,” said state Rep. Tim Solobay (D-Canonsburg), co-chair of the House Natural Gas Caucus. “Washington County was the home to the first Marcellus Shale well almost five years ago. It has improved all aspects of the county’s economy, and has great promise for decades to come.”
“This is a great opportunity for Pennsylvania to become a leader in developing the clean-burning energy our nation needs, and it is being realized without government subsidies, tax-increment financing or other incentives that are too often required for economic development initiatives,” said state Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler), co-chair of the caucus. “We need to support this industry by working with them on challenges such as water treatment technology and infrastructure investment, and not work against them by imposing a severance tax just as drilling activity is getting a foothold here.”
MSC co-chair Ray Walker, vice president of Range Resources, emphasized the industry’s commitment to develop the Marcellus Shale and work with government officials, communities and other organizations with an equal interest in a productive dialogue. “Pennsylvania is in the position to become a huge contributor to the future of the nation’s energy equation with the natural gas contained in the Marcellus Shale,” said Walker. “At the same time, it is essential to recognize the impact of market forces on our industry, the competition from other states for drill rigs, technology, investment and manpower, and the need to allow the industry to grow in the Commonwealth.”
Natural Gas Caucus members and industry representatives heard from the following speakers:
- Doug McLinko, County Commissioner, Bradford County: Bradford County, an area new to mineral extraction, has seen an increase in economic growth with the introduction of drilling in the county.
- Jack Sordoni, Homeland Energy Ventures, Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Sordoni, whose company drills conventional oil and gas wells in the Commonwealth, expressed concern that the proposed severance tax on natural gas would decimate Pennsylvania’s traditional mineral industry, which generates more than 25,000 direct and indirect jobs and will continue to produce energy and economic benefits as the Marcellus is developed.
- Greg Carder is the Corporate Operations Manager for Universal Well Services, Inc. which serves both the traditional and Marcellus industry. Universal is Headquartered in Meadville, PA and has operations throughout the Eastern US producing states and the Rockies. Universal has invested over 50 million dollars in new equipment and facilities to service the developing Marcellus Shale activity including outfitting a comprehensive state-of-the-art training facility. They currently employ over 800 people, with approximately 500 in Pennsylvania.
- Shawn Clark, Eastern Reservoir Services, Union City, Erie County: Mr. Clark found significant opportunity in the industry when he took a break from college after his first semester. He started at Eastern Reservoir Services, a frac flowback and testing company based in Pennsylvania that provides service in the Appalachian Basin and in Colorado, in January 2008. He is currently a Senior Well Test Supervisor.