What They’re Saying: “Shale Gas Development is a Game-Changer of Huge Proportions”

Gov. Corbett: “It’s not just jobs. It’s national security. It’s national defense. It’s a future for our children, our grandchildren”

Philadelphia Gas Works customers see an “annual savings of $594” thanks to Marcellus Shale development

“We’re the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. This single-handedly can change the US economy”

  • “Shale Gas is Shaving Bills”: The five big regional utilities that serve Pennsylvania and New Jersey customers have reduced their prices on the gas portion of bills by amounts ranging from 37 percent to 52 percent since Dec. 1, 2008, reflecting the steady fall in market prices that experts attribute to new supplies of shale gas. For the 500,000 customers of Philadelphia Gas Works, the cost of gas has decreased by more than half since December 2008, from $1.27 per hundred cubic feet (ccf) to 61 cents. What’s that mean to a typical PGW customer who uses 900 ccf of natural gas a year? Annual savings of $594. … Including both the gas cost and the delivery charge, PGW now charges 55 cents less per ccf than it charged in 2008. That translates into $495 in annual savings, per household. … A Peco Energy Co. customer is paying about $350 less a year for gas. Public Service Electric & Gas Co. in New Jersey says a winter monthly bill for a typical customer is down 34 percent from 2008. … Though the utilities’ gas prices are now at their lowest since 2002, customers in this region could see even more savings in the future as production increases from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale wells. … UGI Central Penn Gas Inc.’s customers now pay 54.7 cents per ccf for gas, about 20 percent less than UGI Gas Service customers in other parts of Pennsylvania. “If your distribution system is in proximity to the wells, there’s a really substantial potential savings,” said Joseph Swope, a UGI spokesman. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/23/11)
  • “Energy Kept Region Afloat”: Williamsport was the seventh fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation this year, something the head of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce attributes to the rise of the gas industry atop the Marcellus Shale. “There were six above us,” said Vincent Matteo, chamber president and CEO of the rankings by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. “Four to five, or six, were all energy-related. … The gas industry is benefiting us tremendously. That’s what is driving the growth.” … Matteo said in the past three to four years, more than 100 companies located to Lycoming County because of the gas industry. Those companies employed 2,000 to 3,000 people collectively, according to Matteo. … The numbers kept multiplying as they realized there was more gas than they expected, and better quality gas too. (Sun-Gazette, 12/25/11)
  • “Shale-Gas Boom Spurs Race”: The boom in low-cost natural gas obtained from shale is driving investment in plants that use gas for fuel or as a raw material, setting off a race by states to attract such factories and the jobs they create. Shale-gas production is spurring construction of plants that make chemicals, plastics, fertilizer, steel and other products. A report issued earlier this month by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC estimated that such investments could create a million U.S. manufacturing jobs over the next 15 years. … “This shale gas development is a game-changer of huge proportions,” said Dan DiMicco, chief executive officer of Nucor Corp., a steelmaker based in Charlotte, N.C. … Because electric utilities often burn gas, that price drop has helped bring down average electricity costs. (Wall Street Journal, 12/27/11)
  • “Corbett Praises Plant for Using Drilling Industry to Create Jobs”: Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday helped to dedicate a new plant near Johnstown that serves the Marcellus Shale industry and that he said was born of the American spirit. Corbett also took a tour of Environmental Tank & Container, a manufacturing arm of Johnstown Welding and Fabrication that is located in the building once used by the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. along Cramer Pike in Tanneryville. The plant opened in the spring with a handful of workers but has grown to 80 employees, said Bill Polacek, JWF president. The company expects to hire 70 more people next year. (Tribune-Democrat, 12/22/11)
  • “Corbett Touts Johnstown Manufacturing Plant”: Gov. Tom Corbett visited Johnstown early Thursday evening to tour and praise a growing manufacturing business directly tied to the Marcellus Shale industry. Environmental Tank & Container — a subsidiary of JWF Industries — employs 70 people. The company makes tanks for water used in hydraulic fracturing, mud tanks, vacuum boxes and portable impoundments. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday at the facility along Cramers Pike. Corbett touted the business as an example of how the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry can be a “game-changer” for not just the state, but the entire country. “It’s not just jobs,” he told a crowd of prominent area business owners and politicians. “It’s national security. It’s national defense. It’s a future for our children, our grandchildren.” (Daily American, 12/22/11)
  • “We’re the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas”: After sitting idle for two decades, there’s steam billowing from the top of the big old steel plant in Youngstown, Ohio. This does not represent a renewal of the steel production that once created the Rust Belt. Instead, this is a product of a new industry proponents say can be a game changer, not just for the depressed Youngstown Warren area, but for the U.S. economy and the bigger energy game. It is the exploitation of oil shale. The former steel plant now builds things like seamless piping for extracting the natural gas and oil deep underground. There’s enough natural gas down there, some experts claim, to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and completely turn around the current financial state. … A “new and improved” process for pulling massive deposits of fossil fuels from the ground in financially devastated areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is bringing a lot of hope to communities where homelessness and poverty run rampant. … “We’re the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. This single-handedly can change the US economy” he said. (Fox News, 12/27/11)

  • “With Gas Drilling Next Door, County in New York Gets an Economic Lift”: The workers stream across the Pennsylvania border in search of amenities that are relatively scarce at the rural drilling sites. “Places are jammed,” said Thomas J. Santulli, the Chemung County executive. … The [NY State Department of Environmental Conservation] report said that Chemung and other counties in the state’s Southern Tier where shale gas is assumed to be plentiful can expect a surge in retail sales and tax revenue from those workers once drilling begins. … Last year, Chemung led all New York counties in the growth of sales tax and hotel tax revenue, as well as in the expansion of its tax base, avoiding the property tax increases and economic doldrums faced by local governments elsewhere in the state. To a lesser degree, Broome County…is also enjoying brisk business. Mr. Santulli, the Chemung County executive, attributes at least half of its tax revenue growth to the increased activity of the extracting industry on both sides of the border. He said 28 gas-related companies employing more than 1,000 had leased or bought more than one million square feet of commercial space in the county as a staging area for current and future drilling operations in the region. Many businesses provide support and technological services for gas fields. One of the biggest, Schlumberger Technologies, is completing a 400,000-square-foot plant in Horseheads that will employ 400 people by next year. (New York Times, 12/27/11)
  • “The Gas Worker: Economic Hope in Bleak Times”: It was hard to drive down most major thoroughfares, go to a restaurant or stay in a motel or hotel in the region without feeling the gas worker presence. … Harvey, Street and Gleason are three examples of local residents who have found jobs with the natural gas industry. “We’re pleased with the number of jobs being created,” said Dr. Vincent J. Matteo, president and CEO of the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. “As time passes, we’re seeing more and more people from the area and Pennsylvania being hired, which is what we’ve pressed for all along. You see more people with good-paying, family sustaining jobs, and they’re putting money back into the economy,” Matteo said. (Sun-Gazette, 12/27/11)
  • “America’s Massive Energy Potential Awaits, Mr. President”: The stats on domestic natural gas are also eye-opening. Recoverable natural gas in North America is estimated at 4.2 quadrillion — or 4,244 trillion — cubic feet. At the current rate of consumption, that’s enough natural gas to power North America for the next 175 years. And it means that our continent has more robust gas reserves than Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan — combined. Roughly 272.5 trillion cubic feet of that total are in the United States. … In the late 1990s, pundits were predicting a sharp uptick in natural gas prices due to a decline in reserves. Just a few years later, American production actually increased dramatically. The reason? Human imagination bred breakthrough technological innovation. Developers built new extraction tools, making it economical to tap into reserves buried in shale and other tight rock formations. (Forbes.com, Robert Bradley, 12/27/11)
  • “Butler County Cranks up Gas Processing Plant Construction”: Construction will ramp up next week on a natural gas processing plant in Butler County, part of what could be a buildup of several plants there, industry and state officials said on Tuesday. The plants are designed to give special capacity to pipe away shale gas that comes up mixed with liquid fuels, which is common in Butler County and has led to increased attention there. … The sister plant, Sarsen, in Forward, has nine employees, and Bluestone should have the same or slightly more because of its bigger capacity, Brinkmeyer said. Bluestone construction will employ about 120, with another 30 people working on pipeline projects to connect it to wells, he added. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 12/28/11)
  • “Sunbury Generation Confirms Conversion to Natural Gas”: Sunbury Generation…will soon be generating more electricity by burning natural gas. … Reports show that the plant will be able to generate enough electricity to power 500,000 homes. … The switchover may result in cheaper electricity. “We have the largest natural gas line potentially right under our territory,” [Don Brominski, director of business development at UGI Utilities] said. “That’s going to have downward pressure on prices.” UGI just lowered rates on Dec. 1 because of the Marcellus shale gas boom, he said. (Daily Item, 12/28/11)
  • “Technology Center to Provide Training for Marcellus Shale Industry”: Workers eyeing a career in the Marcellus Shale industry need look no further than the Somerset County Technology Center. … “We’re talking about a chance at very good, high-paying jobs,” [Tom Wojcicki, adult education coordinator for the Somerset County Technology Center] said. “The industry has a huge demand for workers and the drilling companies are investing in the work force.” … Wojcicki said many Marcellus Shale industry positions begin at a wage of $20 per hour. ShaleNET training graduates could make more than $70,000 within the first year, he added. “They’re not easy jobs and the industry is very demanding,” Wojcicki said. “But it’s a tremendous opportunity.” (Daily American, 12/23/11)
  • “Uniform Supplier: Shale Drilling Helps our Sales”: Gas companies from around the nation have come for the Marcellus Shale, but area businesses also have profited this year. One example of the ancillary growth, Jody Rogers, partner of Rogers Uniforms with his mother, Margie, noticed a change in the business at the beginning of the year. He said he stocks the store with what customers want, and just having one worker from the gas industry was not enough to start stocking their uniforms. … “At this point, with nothing at the beginning of the year, (gas industry clothes are) 25 percent of the business, just in a short time,” Rogers said. “I predict it will double next year to 40 to 50 percent of the business.” Growth of the business has meant increases in staff and changes in the way the business is run, Rogers said. (Sun-Gazette, 12/25/11)
  • “Ohio Sand Turns to Gold as Drilling Boom Comes to Buckeye State”: Rob Sidley is sitting on a gold mine, thanks to Mother Nature. His family-owned company produces the special sand needed for the drilling boom in Ohio’s deep layer of Utica shale. The sand is perfect for the hydraulic fracturing process which uses force to open cracks in the shale and free up natural gas, oil and other lucrative products. … Sidley declined to reveal how much fracking sand his company is expecting to produce, but the company annually produces 400,000 to 500,000 tons of sand and gravel from its 1,800-acre operation with its 150 employees. (Akron Beacon Journal, 12/26/11)