Happy 10 Years, Marcellus Shale!

October marks the tenth anniversary of the first Marcellus Shale natural gas well being successful drilled. This historic discovery, pioneered by MSC member Range Resources Corporation, has led an economic, energy security, and manufacturing renewal for the Commonwealth and the nation. This revolution is helping to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs; driving energy costs down for consumers; weakening OPEC; enhancing our environment, including air quality; strengthening U.S. security; and most of all – shale is Unifying America.

Here’s what they are saying:

BROAD-BASED ECONOMIC BENEFITS

  • Experiencing “An Energy Renaissance”: The Keystone State has made waves in natural gas and shale oil production. Pennsylvania, in fact, is one of a handful of states that has fueled an undeniable domestic energy boom right here in America. Its no coincidence Pennsylvania has had such remarkable success tapping into new technologies to produce safe and affordable energy. While the state sits atop vast swaths of shale and natural gas, it’s not just about resources. … The state’s friendly regulatory environment has fostered record levels of natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale. Put simply: natural gas has revolutionized the way Pennsylvanians consume energy. … The U.S. EIA deemed Pennsylvania the “fastest-growing natural gas-producing state” thanks to production in the Marcellus Shale that increased 72 percent between 2011 and 2012 alone. … A recent report from API showed that the oil and natural gas industry supports 339,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, and contributes $19.5 billion to the state’s total labor income each year. (Patriot-News op-ed, 10/30/14)
  • Shale Revolution “Lifts” Local Consulting Firm: The engineers, scientists and technicians at Civil & Environmental Consultants don’t actually drill for natural gas. But the shale boom has matched perfectly with the Robinson firm’s focus. “The interesting thing about the gas industry is there are very few markets like it that take advantage of every one of our practice areas,” said Dustin Kuhlman, a vice president at CEC overseeing its natural gas consulting group. The firm helps companies navigate permitting processes, geotechnical issues, ecological studies, land deals, water challenges and waste disposal. … The number of employees jumped from about 425 to more than 650 over the past five years. “It’s an exciting time for the industry,” said Barry Wolfe, corporate director of human resources. … When drilling in the Marcellus Shale started to increase in 2007-08, the company’s revenue from that sector totaled less than $2 million, said spokeswoman Emily Chiodo. Last year, it hit $32 million. The firm concentrates on clients in seven markets: gas, real estate, waste disposal, manufacturing, power, mining and the public sector. “The gas industry has influenced growth in all those sectors,” Kuhlman said. … “It feels like we’re at a point in time that you just don’t come across very often,” Kuhlman said. (Tribune-Review, 10/27/14)
  • “When History is Written, This will be the Most Productive Natural Gas Region”: As natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale region increases, the next issue is getting the gas to market. That’s where the pipelines come in. In the past few months … four major pipeline projects have been announced. Combined, these massive interstate projects will cost up to $15 billion to build and provide thousands of construction jobs. The pipelines – the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Rover Pipeline, Mountain Valley Pipeline and Leach XPress – will take gas from our area and other nearby regions and send it to various markets across the country. It also will open up more drilling opportunities. Pipeliners are building billions of dollars worth of infrastructure to ship Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas. West Virginia oil and natural gas industry insiders Corky Demarco and Tim Greene believe the pipelines showcase the high value of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. “When the history is written, this will be the most productive natural gas region,” Demarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, said of the Marcellus and Utica found in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. “Projects like this are going to become the norm as we move forward. We’ve got so much gas in this Appalachian Basin.” (West Virginia Intelligencer, 10/26/14)
  • Thanks to Shale, No Property Tax Increases for Washington Co. Residents: Washington County and its income from wells in the Marcellus Shale tapped beneath county-owned land reached six figures every month of the past year, for which figures are available. So, for the fifth year in a row, property taxpayers of Washington County should see no increase in their 2015 county tax bills, based on the $82.7 preliminary budget prepared for the county commissioners. … The bulk of the $4,923,107 from the first seven months of 2014 comes from wells at Cross Creek County Park, but the total also includes smaller infusions of cash from wells under the county-owned fairgrounds and Panhandle Trail. … The monthly figures do not include the $5.9 million Washington County government received through Act 13 impact fees Due in large part to the county’s income from the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, county government did not have to go into debt through a bond issue to pay for the $6.9 million cost of the reassessment project. (Observer-Reporter, 10/28/14)

SHALE IMPACT FEE TAX FUNDS LOCAL PROJECTS

  • York Co. to Receive Shale Funds for Park Project: Delta could be on its way to getting its first park after York County commissioners awarded on Wednesday a portion of its Marcellus Shale drilling impact fees to fund a recreation study. The county will give the small southern York County town $25,000 toward the study next year, said Doug Hoke, a county commissioner. “They don’t have any parks in the borough,” Hoke said. “I think it’s a good use of the funds.” … The money for the study will come out of the county’s 2015 allocation of impact fees from drilling. Though York County doesn’t lie in the Marcellus Shale formation, it receives a portion of the fees yearly. … In York, projects that have received funding have included rail trail extensions in several municipalities and along the York County Heritage Rail Trail, agricultural and conservation land purchases and public parks in numerous municipalities. (York Dispatch, 10/25/14)
  • $200K Impact Fee Grant Will Connect Local Hiking Trails: There are no direct links between the Allegheny County trail and the nearby Butler-Freeport Community, Baker or Tredway trails. Thanks to a $200,000 state grant, that’s about to change. “There’s a confluence of trails that come together here,” said John Stephen, an attorney from Aspinwall involved with the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy. “We’ve been trying to find a way to link them together.” … Stephen said the grant money will be used to buy nearly 20 acres between the northern edge of Harrison Hills Park, where the Rachel Carson Trail ends, and the southern trailhead of the Butler-Freeport Community Trail in Freeport. … That will allow people on the 37-mile Rachel Carson Trail to continue onto the 20-mile Butler-Freeport trail, or cross the bridge and access Allegheny Township’s Tredway Trail, which is being extended toward Kiski Junction. … He said the grant money, which is derived from programs funded by the impact fees paid by drilling companies who tap the state’s Marcellus shale for natural gas, will be used entirely for property acquisition. (Tribune-Review, 10/28/14)
  • Coal Twp. Receives $188K from Shale Impact Fee Tax for Indoor Gym: Marcellus Shale fees will help fund the construction of a multipurpose indoor gymnasium at the Arch Street Playground. Coal Township will receive $188,000 toward the construction of a two-court gymnasium. It now has $288,500 total in state funding to upgrade the entire playground. … The funds come from impact fees assessed on natural gas drillers, and are provided through the Keystone Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. … Coal Township received a recreation grant in 2013 totaling $100,500 for improvements to the Arch Street Playground. (News Item, 10/22/14)

SHALE POWERS OUR LOCAL WORKFORCE

  • Pitt Law Dean: Shale a “Multigenerational Opportunity”: The University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University schools of law and West Virginia University College of Law have all adjusted curriculum in the past three years as Marcellus and Utica shale production continues to grow and the industry matures, in the hope that their graduates will find good-paying jobs in the field. … “The energy phenomenon has created employment opportunities for law school students,” said Baicker-McKee … There are more than 245,000 jobs in Pennsylvania now tied to the shale industry, plus the oil and gas industry works with 1,347 different businesses across the state, according to the Marcellus Shale Coalition. The number of jobs and related businesses associated with shale drilling is expected to grow as the industry continues to expand. … “These are critically important fields,” [Dean of Pitt’s law school, William] Carter said. “It is also one of the top five fields for new attorneys.” “Throughout the spectrum, law firms are definitely ratcheting up their hiring,” … “It’s not just the large law firms. It is the small law firms and businesses too.” Energy companies where Pitt law school graduates now work include Range Resources, Consol Energy and Chevron, he said. …“This is a multigenerational opportunity.” (Beaver County Times, 10/29/14)
  • “U.S. Natural Gas Industry is Gathering Steam”: [A new] report, “2014 Strategic Directions: U.S. Natural Gas,” is based on a survey of 447 industry participants. It singles out the announcements of billions of dollars of planned pipeline projects as an example of the growing optimism about the long-term prospects of natural gas … More and more electric utilities are building natural gas plants … And natural gas could soon be exported to other countries. … A symbol of the transformation is the export of LNG. Several years ago, before the shale gas revolution, the United States counted on natural gas imports to help meet domestic demand. But no longer. … Natural gas, which has made inroads in being used in commercial trucks, is also eyeing other transportation prospects. An LNG-powered railroad locomotive is expected to make a debut in 2016. And there are now about 40 marine vessels that rely on natural gas, and by 2020, 1,800 ships or boats could be using the fuel. (Kansas City Star, 10/28/14)
  • Regional Labor Leader Touts Shale Jobs: “Currently, our members are experiencing near full employment. This is substantially due to the Marcellus and Utica Shale booms as well as an increase in infrastructure and transportation spending,” stated Mr. Jim Kunz, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers. (Release, 10/24/14)
  • Top Labor Official: Natural Gas Pipelines “Are A Lifeline To Good Family-Supporting Careers”: While Senators Markey and Warren are trying to lead our country backward with petty attempts to derail energy development that will heat homes and create good jobs, President Obama recently called for an investment in American energy, including oil and gas development, that will power economic recovery and speed us to energy independence.  … For LIUNA members and the communities in which they live, safe, state-of-the art pipelines build America’s energy future and are a lifeline to good family-supporting careers.  (Release, 10/27/14)
  • Shale “a Huge Part of Our Industrial Growth”: [Affordable natural gas is] good news for business development in the Lehigh Valley, said Don Cunningham, President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. Inexpensive and accessible natural gas will continue to be critical to luring industrial employers, he said. “We’re not a Marcellus Shale region, but access to abundant and affordable natural gas has been a huge part of our industrial growth,” he said, kicking off the forum. (Morning Call, 10/28/14)

Read the fall edition of Marcellus Quarterly Magazine HERE for more shale-related news; and be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for the latest information on safe, job-creating shale development.