U. of Wyo. Prof: “Pennsylvania is becoming a big gas producer in a major way”
As jobless claims once again ticked upward this past week, it’s no wonder why consumer confidence dropped “in August to the lowest level since the recession.” Yet, despite these broader, national economic trends, there’s a silver lining in the Rust Belt, of all places — and it comes in the form of American oil and natural gas. This from today’s Pottsville Republican-Herald under the headline “Marcellus Gas production continues steady growth in Pa.”:
Marcellus Shale natural gas production in Pennsylvania continued its rapid rise in the first half of 2011, according to figures released this week by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The state’s 1,632 producing Marcellus wells pumped out 432.5 billion cubic feet of gas during the first six months of the year – a 60 percent increase from the amount of gas produced in the second half of 2010. The three counties that led the state in gas production, Bradford, Susquehanna and Tioga, pulled 260 billion cubic feet of gas from the shale – slightly less than all of the Marcellus Shale gas that was produced in the entire state in the last half of 2010.
Timothy Considine, a professor of energy economics at the University of Wyoming, said the production numbers are in the ballpark of what the state’s shale gas operators forecast for the year in a report he co-authored this summer. “Pennsylvania is becoming a big gas producer in a major way,” he said. The state is now a net exporter of gas, he added. “That’s changing the entire natural gas market picture in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic region.”
So what does a 60 percent increase in Marcellus Shale natural gas production mean to consumers and small businesses across the region? Well, in addition to saving Pennsylvania consumers nearly $633 million on their utility bills over the past year, according to a recent study by Penn State University researchers, news broke these week that UGI – a Marcellus Shale Coalition member – will be providing even more clean-burning, American natural gas to the region. The Standard Speaker reports this under the headline “NEPA natural gas customers could benefit from Marcellus Shale by 2012”:
By next year, Wilkes-Barre area UGI customers should be getting natural gas from Northeastern Pennsylvania instead of other states and countries. UGI Vice President of Government Affairs Michael Love made the revelation Monday during a hearing in front of the state House Democratic Policy committee at Wilkes University.
“Natural gas is the cheaper fuel today, will be tomorrow and for the foreseeable future because of shale gas,” Love said. Until recently, Pennsylvania imported 75 percent of its natural gas from other states or countries.
More affordable and reliable supplies of American energy is helping to create jobs at a time when they’re most needed. Indeed, our region’s demonstrable shale gas-related economic growth is even making its way to the editorial pages of newspapers in Connecticut. In an editorial today, the Waterbury Republican American notes that responsible Marcellus Shale development has “created 13,000 jobs in Pennsylvania in 2010, according to the state’s Department of Labor.” And as responsible domestic shale gas and oil production continues to expand in earnest, more jobs and more access to homegrown, reliable energy resources are being realized. It’s been called a lot of things: a game-changer; a revolution; and of course, “An American Renewal.”