August 11, 2011 |
A natural gas subcommittee appointed by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is recommending more public disclosure, more tracking of data, and other actions to reduce the environmental and safety risks of shale gas production in the nation. In a report to be released Thursday, the committee calls for better ways to measure and limit air pollution, and recommends water-quality requirements. It also wants to see the full disclosure of chemicals in fluids used for fracking, the process in which water and additives are injected underground at high pressure to break apart the geologic formation and release the gas. Addressing a contentious issue - whether methane contaminating some wells is related to drilling or is from natural causes - it recommends determining background levels of methane in nearby water wells before drilling.
July 22, 2011 |
Since the federal government deregulated natural gas prices in the 1980s, the prices of crude oil and natural gas have moved more or less in tandem. But in the last three years, the prices have become unhinged. One reason is the dramatic increase in natural gas production from unconventional formations such as Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, which has driven down natural gas prices while crude oil prices have soared. When the two fossil fuels are compared on the basis of energy equivalency, natural gas is a bargain compared with oil. A dollar spent on natural gas buys more than three times the energy that a dollar spent on crude oil buys.
April 9, 2010 |
The Marcellus Shale, which according to some geologists is the world's second-largest natural-gas field, holds the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for Pennsylvanians - while reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign energy resources. We've known about the Marcellus Shale for years. But advances - specifically, horizontal drilling techniques coupled with a 60-year-old technology called hydraulic fracturing, in which fluid is forced underground - have finally enabled us to reach its enormous stores of clean-burning fuel.
March 30, 2012 |
Even though a congressman boasts that his bill signed into law in January will assure steps are taken to safeguard new shale-gas pipelines snaking across Pennsylvania, safety regulators surveyed nationally say they still need convincing. The state regulators' fears, expressed to federal auditors about the public-safety threat from badly built or shoddily maintained pipelines, stand as a continuing concern for residents living amid Pennsylvania's gas boom. At issue is whether thousands of miles of pipeline stretched across rural areas will be subject to safety checks to safeguard against flaws or lax upkeep, given that federal law now exempts these lines from safety rules.
June 15, 2012 |
A new national study says Pennsylvania, where Marcellus Shale drilling is expanding dramatically, is expected to lead in job growth attributed to unconventional natural gas development. An industry-sponsored study by IHS Global Insight found that unconventional gas production, including shale gas development, supported more than one million jobs nationwide in 2010 and was projected to grow to nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2015. Unconventional gas production supported nearly 57,000 jobs in Pennsylvania in 2010, 13,600 of those directly, according to the study, which projected that the industry would support 111,000 jobs in the Keystone State by 2015, including 26,000 directly.
May 28, 2010 |
Royal Dutch Shell P.L.C. became the latest big international player to buy a stake in the Marcellus Shale when it announced Friday that it will pay $4.7 billion for East Resources Inc., a Pennsylvania company that has morphed into a hefty natural-gas operator. In buying East Resources, headquartered in Warrendale, Pa., Shell will acquire about 1.05 million acres of gas leases, including 650,000 acres of Marcellus Shale rights in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York. East Resources, which is based in Allegheny County, is most active in Tioga County, in north-central Pennsylvania, and also owns substantial acreage in Allegheny National Forest.
January 31, 2010 |
In their exuberance, oil- and gas-industry officials repeat a single refrain when describing the natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale: A game-changer. Tony Hayward, chief executive officer of oil giant BP P.L.C., was the latest to gush enthusiastically when he called unconventional natural gas resources like the Marcellus "a complete game-changer. " "It probably transforms the U.S. energy outlook for the next 100 years," Hayward said Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
February 7, 2012
By Nicolas Loris President Obama has been on a kick to promote natural-gas production. Unfortunately, he seems to think the key to doing this is more government involvement. "It was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock," he said in his State of the Union address last month, "reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.
February 8, 2012
Natural gas companies drilling in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale region accumulated 3,355 violations in the four years from 2008 through 2011, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the nonprofit organization, PennEnvironment. More than 70 percent of the violations likely posed a direct threat to the environment, as opposed to violations that involved filing deadlines or paperwork, for instance, the organization said. It identified the operators with the most violations as Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.