Inaugural Shale Gas Insight Conference Highlights National Security, Economic, Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas

Canonsburg, Pa. – Last week, more than 1,600 participants – including the nation’s top energy and industrial leaders, legal and environmental professionals, as well as small business owners and entrepreneurs – gathered in Philadelphia for the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s (MSC) inaugural Shale Gas Insight conference, which garnered coverage from dozens of media outlets. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, “The conference drew 1,600 registered participants, and its organizers said they chose to locate the event in Philadelphia to build support for the industry in Southeastern Pennsylvania, where there is no drilling activity. They said the two-day event injected $6.5 million into Philadelphia’s economy.”

Following are conference highlights, with photos available on the MSC’s Facebook page.

As our nation paused over the weekend to remember the fallen who were tragically taken from us ten years ago, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge – our nation’s first homeland security secretary – reminds us that the safe and responsible development of clean-burning American natural gas will continue to bolster our nation’s security:

  • “Ridge says the U.S. needs to rely on natural gas and other homegrown sources of energy, calling it vital to national security.” (Associated Press, 9/7/11)
  • “Ridge: Shale Drilling Makes America Safe”: Former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge kicked off the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s “Shale Gas Insight” conference with a blunt message: the more natural gas the United States extracts from shale rock, the safer the country will be. (StateImpact/NPR, 9/7/11)
  • “Gassing Up For Energy Independence”: In comments to the opening session of the conference, former US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge called for a national energy policy that would reduce dependence on foreign oil from overseas suppliers whose policies may conflict with the country’s interests. Ridge said vast reserves of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale and other US reserves have the potential to cut US oil imports but that the gas deposits need to be developed as part of a national strategy. “The dependency is a vulnerability to which, unlike terrorism, we have not responded,” Ridge said. (AOL Energy, 9/8/11)

INDUSTRY LEADERS EMPHASIZE RESPONSIBLE SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT BENEFITS

  • Talisman Energy executive vice president Paul Smith: “There’s no reason why the state of Pennsylvania, the state of Texas, the state of Louisiana, the state of Ohio, can’t regulate and force everybody in the industry to disclose with the same rules, whatever those rules may be — on a platform” such as FracFocus, Smith said. “There is no need for a national regulator to step into that space. It’s perfectly within the remit of the state regulator here to do that. And to be frank, they’re watching to see just how proactive the industry is being.” (Politico, 9/8/11)
  • “Talisman’s chief issues best-practices blueprint to drilling industry”: “The industry must listen and address the concerns, separate fact from fiction, and take an active lead in developing this unique resource,” [Paul Smith, executive vice president of North American operations for Talisman Energy Inc.] said. (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/9/11)

  • “Williams readies the Atlantic Access Corridor”: “Natural gas production in Pennsylvania is projected to reach 17.5 Bcf/d by the year 2020,” [Williams Midstream president Rory] Miller told his audience during Day Two of Shale Gas Insight 2011, presented by The Marcellus Shale Coalition, in Philadelphia. (Gas Business Briefing, 9/9/11)
  • In “Just a Few Years” Marcellus Likely to be Biggest Shale Play, Says Range CEO: [Range Resources CEO John] Pinkerton, whose company was the first to drill in the Marcellus, said the field is already the third-largest in the US and is likely to become the biggest in “just a few years.” He predicted the Marcellus, together with associated shales such as the Utica, will produce 20 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day in coming years, up from the current rate of about 3 bcf. “[The supply] will last for hundreds of years,” he said. Because of the abundance of shale gas from the Marcellus and other shales, market prices are likely to remain stable for years, Pinkerton predicted. (AOL Energy, 9/8/11)
  • Range CEO: “Natural gas accelerating growth in Pa.”: “Natural gas can accelerate growth in Pennsylvania — and it already has,” [John] Pinkerton says, during his presentation, monitored by Gas Business Briefing. “About $633m was saved in Pennsylvania on natural gas costs in 2010 alone (due to growing production).” … “The development of the shales can be just as transformative as Drake’s oil well and Spindletop.” (Gas Business Briefing, 9/8/11)
  • Top CEOs Tout Safe American Energy Production: [Aubrey McClendon, the chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Co.,] said the choice was clear: “We can follow a path to economic ruin built on fantasies about the viability of wind and solar and the risks of natural gas. Or we can seek to safely build on the reality of the Marcellus Shale American Gas Treasure.” … “This is red, white, and blue energy,” said J. Brett Harvey, chairman of Consol Energy Inc., a Canonsburg company that develops coal and natural gas. … McClendon recited the benefits of gas drilling – thousands of jobs created, tax revenue generated, and the billions in wealth created and retained in the United States. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/8/11)
  • Consol CEO: “Be a good neighbor”: Consol Energy Inc. CEO Brett Harvey told natural gas industry officials that they need to do more to listen to and address community concerns about the impacts of drilling, hours after announcing a major expansion by Consol into a shale basin under Ohio. “Be a good neighbor. That’s our responsibility as an industry,” Mr. Harvey said Wednesday to an audience of hundreds of gas industry officials meeting in Philadelphia at conference sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry trade group. (Dow Jones, 9/7/11)
  • Chesapeake CEO Says American Shale Gas Can Revive National Economy: [Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy] said cheap, abundant US reserves of natural gas have the potential to transform manufacturing, transportation and other sectors, and can help to revive a national economy that is struggling with persistent low growth and high unemployment. (AOL Energy, 9/8/11)
  • UGI CEO Reinforces Consumer Benefits of Marcellus Shale: As his company works to tap local gas for its utility customers, UGI Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Walsh explained how the exploration and production of shale gas has pulled down natural gas prices. For every $1 drop in the price per thousand cubic feet of natural gas, Pennsylvania consumers save $600 million, he said. (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/8/11)
  • MarkWest CEO Emphasizes Staggering Marcellus Growth: MarkWest Energy Partners has seen the volume of gas produced and processed double every year since 2007, said Frank Semple, company president and chief executive officer. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/8/11)
  • MSC President Says Marcellus Benefits Know No Borders:”Southeastern Pennsylvania has so much to gain and certainly has a major role to play in this economic success story,” said [Marcellus Shale Coalition] president Kathryn Z. Klaber. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/7/11)
  • MSC President Kathryn Klaber discusses Shale Gas Insight conference on 1210 WPHT’s The Dom Giordano Program. (9/8/11)
  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce President Touts Statewide Marcellus Benefits: Robert C. Wonderling, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, said the region had much to gain from shale gas. Professional businesses – such as engineering firms, environmental service providers, legal firms, and financial advisers – are already getting work from the Marcellus industry.. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/7/11)

  • AGA President Says “Natural Gas is the Good News Story Out There”: In pushing for a fact-based dialogue, Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, said the industry has one distinct advantage: jobs. In a time when the news cycle is dominated by negative views about the economy, natural gas is the good news story out there, according to McCurdy. (SNL, 9/8/11)

FEDERAL, STATE OFFICIALS UNDERSCORE CRITICAL ROLE OF AMERICAN SHALE GAS

  • Safe Marcellus Development Garners Broad Bipartisan Support: Congressmen became speechwriters Wednesday as they offered suggestions for President Obama’s Thursday night address on jobs. “If I could write a section of the speech,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), “I’d write about natural gas in America. … Things like we should be drilling for oil and natural gas off of the coast.” “If I was putting a line in the speech, I’d say there’s no greater opportunity in the country than natural gas,” said Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.). “The jobs impact, the predictability, the limitless reserves right below our feet, it’s an opportunity unmatched anywhere.” … They were in Philadelphia for a panel at the Marcellus Shale Coalition Shale Gas Insight conference, along with Democratic Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz and Republican Reps. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania and Thomas Reed of New York. … On whether the federal government should oversee the industry: “We’re just as interested in making sure our water is clean and our air is breathable,” Altmire said. “We’ve done a good job of that. We can regulate ourselves on the state level, thank you very much.” Reed, the lone New Yorker on the panel, said his state would not sit on the sidelines of the natural gas boom much longer. “New York is going to open,” Reed said. “And it’s going to open sooner than later.” His statement was met with scattered applause from the attendees, to which Reed replied, “Amen.” (Politico, 9/7/11)
  • “States, not feds, should regulate shale drilling, panel says”: Shale drilling oversight should come from the states, not Washington DC, as they can move faster and with better knowledge of what should be done in their own backyards, according to a panel of federal lawmakers. “There are different geographical considerations and business regulations that create completely different environments in each state,” says Pennsylvania Democrat Congressman Jason Altmire. “To think the Environmental Protection Agency can tell each state how to best regulate the industry, that’s the wrong way to do it.” … Pennsylvania Republican Joseph Pitts says states know the issues their communities face. “When the federal government gets involved, you get more bureaucracy, more delays and less productivity,” Pitts says. (Gas Business Briefing, 9/9/11)
  • “Pa. official praises drillers on safety, economic gains”: “At the end of the day, we are going to get this right,” Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer told the Shale Gas Insight conference at the Convention Center. “We’re already getting it right. . . . And I know all of you are committed to getting it right as well.” … Krancer also said much of the opposition to drilling was “ideologically based” and “not based on science or fact.” … Krancer, who lives in Bryn Mawr, congratulated the conference for choosing Philadelphia. “I think that in and of itself is a statement that’s significant,” he said. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/9/11)
  • “Pa. DEP head says gas drilling will be done safely”: Pennsylvania will use the highest standards in regulating the growing natural gas industry, and much of the opposition to drilling is “ideologically based” and “not based on science or fact,” the state’s top environmental official said Thursday. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer told a natural gas industry conference that government’s first job is to protect public safety, something he said the state is doing by implementing tough state rules. The industry itself must help by making sure that everyone plays by the rules to prevent pollution or safety problems, he said. … Krancer lauded the industry for bringing money and jobs to Pennsylvania and said natural gas was a low-carbon fuel that will help make the air cleaner, lower fuel costs and reduce the dependence on foreign oil. (Associated Press, 9/8/11)
  • “DEP chief tells federal government to stay out of Pa. Marcellus”: The lead environmental regulator in Pennsylvania said there’s no room in the state for cheaters or for federal agencies; his agency will weed out all the bad actors. … “Enforcement has been vigorous so far and will continue to be vigorous,” [Krancer] said. … “At the end of the day, my job as charged by the governor is to protect the environment,” he said. “And that’s what we’re doing at DEP.” Krancer said Pennsylvania is best served by taking care of itself, and he balked at the idea of a national agency coming onto the state’s turf. “Quite honestly, we will do and are doing a better job than the federal government could do at this,” he said. “We know our state, we have the expertise, and we have the programs to do it. … I’ll message that anywhere and everywhere.” (SNL, 9/8/11)
  • PA DEP Secretary: ‘Sound science’ will dictate state environmental policies: Mr. Krancer argued that the state, not the federal government, is the appropriate regulator of the industry and emphasized that “sound science” will dictate state environmental policies. He criticized the authors of a Duke University study that found methane levels in drinking water supplies markedly higher near natural gas wells in Northeast Pennsylvania because the authors later wrote in an op-ed that they hoped to see “shale gas become largely unnecessary, along with coal and oil.” “There is an ideologically based opposition to this industry,” Mr. Krancer said. “That opposition is not based on science or fact.” “Sometimes,” he added later, “that ideology gets in the way of scientists and gets in the way of scientific research.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/9/11)
  • PA DCED Secretary Discusses Economic Benefits: The economic benefits of the state’s natural gas resources were discussed by C. Alan Walker , secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development. Despite the state’s high unemployment rate, he sees bright things on the horizon, including expanding plastics, chemical and pharmaceutical industries attracted to the state’s natural gas reserves. “The real economic benefit of natural gas comes where it is consumed – not where it is produced,” Mr. Walker said. “We have this resource; now we should develop uses and markets in Pennsylvania.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/8/11)