Clean-Burning American Natural Gas “A Blessing for Pennsylvania”

This week, newspapers across the region – as well as the nation – continued to tout the economic and environmental benefits tied to the safe production of clean-burning, American natural gas. Without question, the clear and positive impacts of shale responsible shale development are Powering an American Renaissance for consumers, businesses and our environment. Here’s what they’re saying:

BROAD ECONOMIC BENEFITS

  • “The Shale Revolution has Brought Enormous Economic Benefits”: The consulting firm IHS Global Insight reported last year that shale oil and gas combined generated $87 billion in domestic capital investments in 2012 — on track to rise to $172.5 billion a year by the end of the decade. … Much of that investment is in struggling rural economies. Shale developers not only lease drilling sites from their owners; they also pay the owners of the plots whose gas is being tapped. … The savings on energy ripple through the economy. The US Energy Information Administration reports that the shale-gas boom has pushed down the price of natural gas in America to a third its 2008 level. The lower costs of shale gas, PricewaterhouseCoopers reports, will yield 1 million domestic manufacturing jobs by 2025. It also means lower heat and electricity bills for consumers… Mayor Bloomberg has embraced shale development, envisioning a city where buses and trucks run on natural gas and electric vehicles are charged via gas-fired power plants. … Pennsylvania has been wise enough to let the Shale Revolution improve its residents’ lives. New York should follow suit. (New York Post op-ed, 8/5/13
  • McKinsey: Shale Could Generate $700B for the U.S. Economy by 2020: The bonanza of energy loosed by advances in U.S. oil and gas technology appears poised to boost the industry and broader economy for years to come – a likelihood underscored by statistics in two separate consultants’ reports. McKinsey & Co. is estimating that the shale industry will generate $700 billion for the U.S. economy by 2020 as it transforms related industries, such as manufacturing, trade and infrastructure demands. … McKinsey estimates that the shale industry could add 2 percent to 4 percent to the gross domestic product by 2020, as well as 1.7 million permanent jobs. Investment in shale energy is expected to stimulate $1.4 trillion in infrastructure investments, generating 1.6 million temporary jobs during the construction phase. … “If we play our cards right, we can use shale energy as a way to make a difference in our regional economy, with (liquefied natural gas) exports and petrochemicals,” said Scott Nyquist, a leader of the energy practice with McKinsey. (Houston Chronicle, 8/5/13)
  • $500M Clean-Burning Natural Gas Power Plant Proposed in Pa.: Invenergy, an energy generation company with facilities throughout North America and Europe, has an option to purchase a piece of land on the east side of the Casey Highway in the borough. … Mr. Thornton presented a Powerpoint to the audience Monday, describing $500 million in equipment and construction costs. During construction, which would take about two years, Mr. Thornton estimated about 600 laborers would be required. After completion, there would be 24 full-time employees and a $2.5 to $3 million yearly payroll. … If the facility move forward, there is “definite potential” to create an agreement to benefit the borough, Mr. Thornton added.  (Scranton Times-Tribune, 8/6/13)
  • Dominion: Natural Gas Power Plant Will Produce Significant Benefits: The State Corporation Commission has approved Dominion Virginia Power’s application to build a $1.27-billion power plant in Brunswick County. … “The Brunswick Power Station will produce significant customer benefits in helping to keep power costs low and reliability high,” Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion Resources Inc.’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Friday. “It also will benefit Virginia in terms of cleaner air and providing a major economic boost for the region.” … During the plant’s construction, the station will generate about $824 million in economic benefits for the state, according to a study done for the utility. The plant will employ about 380 workers a year during construction and provide 43 jobs when in operation. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/5/13)

SAFELY PRODUCED, TRANSPARENT PROCESS

  • Congressman Glenn Thompson: Regulations Must be Fairly Enforced to Assure Ongoing, Safe Natural Gas Development: The participants at the recent Congressional Natural Gas Caucus hearings recently at Pennsylvania College of Technology said the economic impact of shale production is a “game changer.” … Without the Marcellus Shale drilling boom in our region the effects of the recession of recent years would have been devastating. With that boom, the region is competing and at least holding its own. … Rep. Glenn Thompson, a Howard Republican representing some of our region, said lawmakers need correct information to make responsible decisions about the gas industry, particularly scientific data. Unfortunately, lawmakers get a lot of misinformation that, over time proves to be inaccurate. … Correct environmental regulations must be meticulously and fairly enforced and information gathering continued to assure an ongoing, safe drilling process. If that path is followed, the economic game-changing outlined at the caucus is there for the region to take. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette editorial, 8/4/13)
  • “Searchable Fracking Database Promotes Transparency”: The focus on hydraulic fracturing was increasing in the late 2000s, with people concerned about the chemicals used in the fluids being injected into the ground. … FracFocus.org became that tool to spread information on hydraulic fracturing, sometimes called fracking. … The site has grown to include chemical information on more than 50,000 wells across the country, searchable by location, operator and even chemical. “For the first time ever, we have a nationwide database of water use, industrial chemical management, even companies themselves in how they’re doing things,” Arthur said. … The latest well listed on FracFocus from WPX Energy, a Tulsa-based exploration and production company, completed drilling in North Dakota at the end of June. … The largest product was water, which made up 83 percent of the fluid by volume. Sand and other proppants made up about 15 percent of the fluid. … Kim Averill, WPX Energy spokeswoman, said that the company has been able to use the website to create more transparency. “It’s extremely valuable as a disclosure tool. ” (Tulsa World, 8/6/13)
  • “Obama Administration Defends Fracking Safety — Again”: For years, the most common rap used to discredit hydraulic fracturing — the sharply improved drilling process that uses precisely targeted underground water cannons to free up oil and natural gas reserves a mile or more below ground — is that it triggered environmental nightmares in Pennsylvania. … These allegations were featured extensively in “Gasland,” a 2010 anti-fracking documentary. The film was widely discredited after Pennsylvania regulators produced evidence that natural gas in water supplies in some rural communities was a natural phenomenon that long predated drilling. Its director, Josh Fox, even later admitted that the tap water burned as a result of local conditions unrelated to fracking. … The U.S. Energy Department recently released a study that for a year tracked specially marked fluids … None of the drilling fluids ever came within a mile of the water table located a few hundred feet below ground that supplies drinking water. …Interior Secretary Sally Jewell [said] “… it has been done for decades and has the potential for developing significant domestic resources and strengthening our economy and will be done for decades to come.”  (San Diego Union-Tribune editorial, 8/5/13
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski: The U.S. has a Historic Opportunity to Generate Enormous Geopolitical and Economic Benefits with LNG Exports : U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released a white paper outlining the case for exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and urging swift action on permit approvals before the nation misses a historic opportunity. … “We’ve carefully examined the issue of natural gas exports, weighing the evidence and listening to all points of view, but the analytical debate is now over,” Murkowski said. “The United States has a historic opportunity to generate enormous geopolitical and economic benefits by expanding its role in the global gas trade…As a nation, we need to send a clear and resounding message that the United States is a reliable trading partner and is ready to do business…If we don’t move quickly, we may miss that window, and it may be a long time before it opens up again.” … Murkowski’s white paper relies on the latest analysis from academia, think tanks, the private sector, and government agencies. (Release, 8/6/13)
  • Affordable Natural Gas Spurs Thousands of Jobs, Billions in Investments: Despite operating throughout the country, including New Jersey where it employs more than 1,000 people at three locations, “most people have no clue who Linde is,” said Earl Lawson, vice president of energy solutions. … The picture for Linde and its competitors was bleak in the 1990s, when the supply of oil and natural gas in the United States was drawing low… That all began to change when shale deposits filled with natural gas were extensively tapped after the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling was perfected. … Linde primarily supplies carbon dioxide and nitrogen to companies that use a method of drilling that doesn’t require water. …There is no doubt that Linde, which builds the gas plants and supplies the oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and other gases and raw materials to companies has reaped the rewards of the “shale gas revolution…We’ve absolutely seen a resurgence,” Lawson said. “Honestly, five years ago, we were like everyone else, incredibly concerned.” Lower energy prices helped consumers and businesses, he added, and spurred thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment while preventing companies from moving abroad. (NJ.com, 8/4/13)

NATURAL GAS “A BLESSING” FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES

  • $18M in Natural Gas Impact Fees Headed to All 67 Pennsylvania Counties for Bridge Repairs: Northeast Pennsylvania counties will split about $1.8 million in natural gas impact fees later this month for repairs to local at-risk bridges. The money is an annual earmark of the natural gas drilling impact fee law. … All told, nearly $18 million is being distributed to all 67 Pennsylvania counties based on a population-driven formula. Structurally deficient bridges that are owned by a county or municipality and may have weight restrictions are eligible for the program, according to the state Department of Transportation. … The impact fee law distributes 60 percent of annual fees paid by drillers to local governments and 40 percent to a Marcellus Legacy Fund, an umbrella for the at-risk bridge program and other statewide uses. (Pottsville Republican-Herald, 8/6/13)
  • Natural Gas Boom a Blessing for Pa.” The Marcellus Shale formation – the second-largest natural-gas field in the world – has been a blessing for Pennsylvania’s workers and our economy. Almost a quarter-million people in Pennsylvania work to produce natural gas from the Marcellus Shale or in related industries. …The Marcellus has been responsible for more than 150,000 new hires in the past three years – almost three-quarters of them state residents. The average salary in core fracking industries is more than $90,000 a year. In 2010 alone, oil and gas development utilizing fracking contributed more than $11 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy. … Even Pennsylvanians not directly involved in fracking benefit through lower energy costs. Between 2008 and 2011, the largest natural-gas utilities in the region averaged rate cuts of more than 40 percent, resulting in savings of $3,200 per customerFracking is safe and environmentally friendly. In Pennsylvania, more than a dozen state and federal regulatory agencies oversee all aspects of fracking, from well development to pipeline construction. … Pennsylvania leads the country in developing safe, effective fracking technologies and policies – and other states are starting to follow suit.  (Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed, 8/5/13)
  • Natural Gas is Sparking Pennsylvania’s Economy:  Earlier this month, the McKinsey Global Institute came out with a study identifying five “catalysts” to shift the economy into a higher gear, increase annual GDP, and create new jobs. … The big winner for the Commonwealth is energy, specifically shale gas and oil. The report shows just how much this industry can help our economy – or could dampen any improvement if we make the wrong economic policy decisions. Nationally, shale gas and oil has the potential to boost our nation’s gross domestic product by between $380 billion and $690 billion. … When an industry, such as energy, has the potential to impact of our economy, we need to encourage it. …  Already the Marcellus Shale and related industries are responsible for 239,474 jobs in Pennsylvania, according to our state Department of Labor and Industry. … Not every industry has the capability to make such a substantial impact on our economy. When an industry, such as energy, does have the potential, we need to encourage it.  (Patriot-News op-ed, 8/4/13)
  • Marcellus Growth Still in Early Stages: Panelists at the Aug. 1 annual energy symposium repeated a common theme: The rise of natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale has been stunningly rapid in its abundance, economic impact and adaptation to environmental challenges. … “We’re still in the early stages of development,” said Scott Roy, vice president for government affairs for Range Resources Corp., the largest leaseholder in the Marcellus industry. The Fort Worth, Texas, company, which has its Southern Appalachian Shale regional office in Southpointe, now has 300 direct employees and another 5,000 contractors working in the Marcellus. While Range produced 10 consecutive years of double-digit growth, Roy said it wants to grow by 20 to 25 percent over the next several years. … the Marcellus industry created some 240,000 jobs in Pennsylvania over the past several years, and its abundant product has lowered utility bills across the state…“This was unimaginable just six years ago,” [Patrick] Henderson said, adding that the state Department of Environmental Protection, with the help of the passage of Act 13 last year went from 71 gas well inspectors to more than 200. Chris Abruzzo, acting secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the agency is preparing to add and train another 100 people to the 2,700-person agency. (Washington Observer-Reporter, 8/4/13)

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