Marcellus-Related Benefits Expanding Across Philadelphia Region

Pittsburgh, Pa. – The safe, tightly-regulated development of clean-burning domestic natural gas is “firing up an old-fashioned American industrial revival,” strengthening “America’s role in the world,” and putting Pennsylvania on a path toward becoming an “American energy superpower,” all while “saving U.S. consumers billions” in more affordable energy costs. These positive benefits continue to take root across Pennsylvania – both in active drilling regions as well as in the greater Philadelphia area, where consumers are realizing huge energy cost savings and manufacturing is coming roaring back.

The Pa. Public Utility Commission and Drexel University hosted a jobs forum earlier this month, featuring representatives from the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) and its member companies Aqua America, EQT, PVR Midstream, Range Resources, UGI and Universal Well Services. Click HERE to view a photo of forum participants.

And the momentum continued last week when the MSC partnered with the Community College of Philadelphia last week for a supply chain and workforce development forum. These efforts build upon the MSC’s regional outreach efforts, specifically the ongoing to Learn About Shale initiative. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the MSC is supporting the Community College of Philadelphia’s new “training program for Marcellus Shale jobs.” This from the story:

Last year, officials from Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry were talking with representatives of Community College of Philadelphia about emerging areas in the job market. Labor Secretary Julia K. Hearthway said the conversation quickly turned to energy. State researchers believed the economic benefits of Marcellus Shale natural gas development were going to radiate across the state, Hearthway said. “And we wanted to make sure that people were trained and ready for the opportunities that were coming.” The outgrowth of that conversation is the college’s Energy Training Center, whose creation will be announced Thursday by president Stephen M. Curtis. The center will offer career, certificate, and academic programs in the energy field and work with employers on workforce development.

Though the center was inspired by the shale gas boom, its aim is not to train roughnecks to work on drill rigs, said Waverly Coleman, the college’s executive director of corporate solutions. Few Philadelphia-area workers are expected to migrate to jobs in the gas fields in Northern and Western Pennsylvania. Rather, the college aims to prepare students to work for local companies doing Marcellus-related work, such as legal firms, engineering firms, and suppliers. Workers will be needed for chemical manufacturers producing goods derived from natural gas, which is expected to be shipped by pipeline across Pennsylvania to Delaware River ports.

Likewise, StateImpact Pennsylvania reports this under the headline “Community College of Philadelphia Offers Training for Drilling-Related Jobs”:

Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry says drilling related jobs are in the Philadelphia area. They have teamed up with Community College of Philadelphia to offer training for these positions. Starting in the spring semester, students will be able to sign up for courses at Community College of Philadelphia’s new Energy Training Center. The goal is to link southeast Pennsylvania’s residents with jobs related to Marcellus Shale drilling. Sue Mukherjee is with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. “Whether you are trying to be a drafter, whether you are trying to get into architecture,” said Mukherjee, “these are all some of the fundamental base supply chain occupations that are not restricted to the core areas where the drilling is going on. But are dispersed throughout the Commonwealth, with a large part of them right here in Southeast Pennsylvania.”

Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway says the goal is not to get Philadelphians into the gas fields, but to train them to work in ancillary jobs in southeast Pennsylvania. “Philadelphia is ideally suited to have that job opportunity, to have that job growth, in this area as long as there’s a trained workforce to fulfill it,” said Hearthway. Hearthway says CCP is planning to offer certificate programs, and work directly with industry to help the students get jobs when they complete the course. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, donated $15,000 toward a scholarship fund.

And here’s what they’re saying about safe, job-creating American natural gas development:

  • BOOSTING MANUFACTURING: “Shale Gas Reshapes U.S. Plastics Industry”: Pennsylvania’s abundance of Marcellus Shale gas has helped drive down the price of natural gas to all-time lows. … One of the main consumers of natural gas in the U.S is the petrochemical industry. Shale gas has been a boon for the folks who manufacture plastics and plastic products. George Biltz spent three decades in the chemical and manufacturing industries. Biltz is vice president of energy and climate change for Dow Chemical. I began the conversation by asking him how natural gas is used as a raw material, or “feedstock,” for all kinds of products. (WHYY, 11/18/12)
  • REVITALIZING RAILROADS: “Marcellus Pushes Boom in Regional Short Line Rail Traffic”: At Allegheny Valley Railroad’s Glenwood Yard in Hazelwood, train tracks laid in the heyday of steel and steam trains are being straightened, strengthened and spaced out for the age of Marcellus shale. “Our business has grown approximately 35 percent in the last three years, and probably two-thirds of that is related to the Marcellus shale,” said Russell Peterson, CEO of Allegheny Valley and the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad. … Over the past few years, short-line and regional railroads in Western Pennsylvania have been moving more cargo related to extracting natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and Ohio. Tracks and equipment that have aged poorly or been abandoned are getting new life. At the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad’s Rook Yard off Mansfield Avenue in Green Tree, dilapidated buildings will be demolished this summer to make more room for trucks and trains to transfer cargo, said railroad President Bill Callison. (Tribune-Review, 11/16/12)
  • CREATING SUSTAINED ECONOMIC GROWTH: “Marcellus Shale County Aims for Long-Term Gain”: Lycoming County and its main city, Williamsport, are working diligently to position themselves not just as a host to the arriving companies, but also as a source of local workers for the industry and a long-term beneficiary of its local and national expansion. The [natural gas] industry helped give the Williamsport metropolitan area the seventh-fastest-growing economy in the United States in 2010, according to figures released last year by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. … [Pennsylvania College of Technology] increased efforts to train local workers, educating 7,000 students in short courses since 2009 and expanding two- and four-year degree programs as well. … The Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, argues that if all jobs tied to shale gas are counted, the number rises to 234,000. (New York Times, 11/17/12)
  • BOLSTERING AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY: Most states were caught off guard when fracking turned Pennsylvania into a major natural gas producer in 2009. Fracking could produce oil or gas in as many as 36 states. Result: The USA will become the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas in 2015 and oil in 2017, overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia, respectively, predicts the International Energy Agency. (USA Today, 11/19/12)

EDITORIALS TOUT JOB-CREATING AMERICAN NATURAL GAS

  • Natural Gas “a Boon to the Economy, Environment”: The new abundance of comparatively cheap energy is spurring growth in U.S. manufacturing — and the creation of much-needed jobs. Fracking technology is also boosting domestic oil production, putting the United States on a path to overtake Saudi Arabia in the black-gold business by 2020. … If you look at the big-picture upsides — for the economy and the environment — properly regulated fracking is a no-brainer. (New York Daily News editorial, 11/18/12)
  • Shale Gas “Strengthening America Economically, Politically”: The country may well become a world leader in energy production — a historic shift that will throw the geopolitical order on its head, strengthening America economically and politically. … A number of states — most notably, New York’s neighbor, Pennsylvania — are already seeing boom times from fracking. Alas, not New York. And it’s not for want of the gas and oil gold within its borders: No, the state’s Southern Tier is believed to hold some 20 percent of the roughly300 trillion to 500 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale region. That’s a lot of gas. And jobs. … More delay won’t just mean the loss of thousands of jobs to an upstate New York region desperate for them; it could also slow America’s emergence as an international energy powerhouse, no longer dependent on foreign oil. (New York Post editorial, 11/18/12)
  • “Saudi America: The U.S. Will be the World’s Leading Energy Producer, If We Allow It”: Sometimes the revolution politicians seek isn’t the one they get. Consider the irony—and the opportunity—in Monday’s report that the U.S. is likely to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer as early as 2020. In its annual world energy outlook, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) says the global energy map “is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States.” The U.S. will increase its production to about 23 million barrels a day in 10 years from about 18 million barrels a day now, the IEA predicts. That’s more optimistic than current U.S. government estimates and a change from a year ago when the IEA said Russia and the Saudis would vie for number one. As readers of these pages know, the key to this U.S. energy boom has been technological innovation and risk-taking funded by private capital. Specifically, the private oil and gas industry pioneered the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) to tap unconventional deposits such as shale that once were technologically out of reach. It also wouldn’t have happened if the industry wasn’t able to drill on private land, free from federal regulation. This is a real energy revolution, even if it’s far from the renewable energy dreamland of so many government subsidies and mandates. (Wall Street Journal editorial 11/12/12)
  • “A Shifting Energy Picture: Long-Standing Trends Reversing for U.S.”: The long and continuing decline in production of oil and natural gas by conventional methods is being more than offset by large increases from unconventional sources made possible by new drilling technologies. By the end of the current decade the U.S. will be the world’s No. 1 oil producer, if liquids made from natural gas are included in the total. … The economic consequences are profound, reaching far beyond the jobs, profits and tax revenues flowing from an energy boom. Energy imports are a primary cause of the United States’ chronic balance of payments deficits. The availability of relatively low-cost oil and gas would make the U.S. a preferred location for manufacturing, reducing imports and bringing jobs onshore. A long-standing threat to U.S. global economic leadership would be put in abeyance. The foreign policy implications are equally large. Anxieties about the stability of foreign energy producers would recede as their supplies became less vital to the U.S. economy. (Register-Guard editorial, 11/15/12)

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