SHALE GAS INSIGHT’s Innovation Expo Highlights Breakthrough Technologies Driving the Marcellus Natural Gas Industry

Philadelphia, Pa – Further underscoring the natural gas industry’s commitment to technologies that enhance the environmental benefits of shale gas production, two firms – Nittany Extraction Technologies, LLC from State College, Pa. and Earth Data Northeast, Inc. from Exton, Pa. – were recognized last week as winners of the Innovation Expo at the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s inaugural SHALE GAS INSIGHT conference in Philadelphia.  Both firms were provided the opportunity to direct monetary contributions from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners to a charity or non-profit organization of their choice.  Nittany Extraction Technologies directed theirs to Penn State University’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, while Earth Data Northeast directed theirs to the American Red Cross to assist with flood relief efforts in Pennsylvania.

Co-sponsored by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Schlumberger Oilfield Services, the Innovation Expo drew project submissions from more than three dozen leading innovators serving the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry, competing for awards in one of two categories: Technical Breakthroughs and Responsible Development.  The firms were judged by a Technical Advisory Committee charged with evaluating each proposal based on their appeal to the natural gas industry and their promotion of safe and abundant oil and natural gas development.

“Consistent innovation is changing the way our nation views the natural gas industry,” said Dale Logan, Vice President, Northeast Region for Schlumberger Oilfield Services and chair of Technical Advisory Committee.  “That reality was on full display at SHALE GAS INSIGHT and at the Innovation Expo, and the winning companies are examples of the fast-moving and forward-thinking nature of this industry.”

“The Ben Franklin Technology Partners are proud to highlight the work of researchers and small businesses across Pennsylvania and the entire Marcellus region,” noted Bill Hall, Director of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center.  “Their work in developing new and improving upon existing technologies is making the industry safer, more efficient, and more productive.”

An overview of the winning innovations follow:

Nittany Extraction Technologies LLC, Winner of the Technical Breakthrough Award
John Hellmann, Chief Scientific Officer

The nationwide increase in drilling for oil and natural gas in unconventional geological formations such as the Marcellus Shale play has dramatically increased the demand for proppant, or physical elements like sand, ceramics, or man-made particles that are injected with water as part of the hydraulic fracturing process.  “PennProp” – a proppant product from Nittany Extraction Technologies – will likely exceed performance specifications of sands currently being used as proppants in unconventional well stimulation.  PennProp is made from variety of waste materials, including mine tailings from a Pennsylvania mining operation, thereby offering the prospective benefits of beneficial reuse of waste streams currently being landfilled, reduced transportation costs, and improved well productivity due to PennProp’s sphericity and toughness.

Earth Data Northeast, Inc., Winner of the Responsible Development Award
W. David Fennimore, President

Successful development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas resource requires industry-best practices to characterize and monitor groundwater.  Earth Data Northeast, Inc. offers an integrated suite of technologies specifically engineered to provide accurate and reliable depth-discrete pressure and groundwater chemistry data to document baseline conditions and identify changes during the lifecycle of a natural gas extraction project.  The application of these technologies represents a complete solution to evaluate shallow groundwater protection.  This powerful and cost effective approach to groundwater characterization and monitoring has been proven in the field for more than 25 years under complex and challenging subsurface conditions and has earned a high level of regulatory acceptance worldwide.  Earth Data Northeast’s presentation highlighted the lessons learned in the utilization of these technologies on recent, high-profile case study in Pennsylvania.

Note: Top photo– John Hellmann, Chief Scientific Officer, Nittany Extraction Technologies LLC

Bottom photo– L to R: Bill Hall, Director of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center; Dale Logan, Vice President, Northeast Region for Schlumberger Oilfield Services; W. David Fennimore, President, Earth Data Northeast, Inc.