August 6, 2012 |
Michael Krancer, Gov. Corbett's chief environmental regulator, seems to delight in doing battle with critics of the state's oversight of the Marcellus Shale gas boom. In May, Krancer said that Delaware "smells like the tail of a dog" because of its opposition to drilling regulations proposed for the Delaware River Basin. In a congressional hearing, he challenged a Cornell University scientist to a duel over hydraulic fracturing (just kidding, Krancer said). Then there were Krancer's snarky skirmishes with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over regulation of drilling, which is traditionally a function of state agencies like Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, the agency Krancer heads.
August 2, 2012 |
After four years of rapid growth, Marcellus Shale gas drilling has slowed. As The Inquirer reported last month, the number of drilling rigs in Pennsylvania has fallen 29 percent from a year ago. State data show the number of Marcellus wells drilled in July was 57 percent lower than in the same period last year. Gas production in the Marcellus and other shale basins got ahead of demand, depressing prices to unprofitable levels. "We are all losing our shirts today," Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, said recently.
August 1, 2012 |
This might be a good time to invest in the natural-gas industry, given that the commodity is extremely cheap. If you live in or near Pennsylvania, you have heard of the Marcellus Shale natural-gas discovery, which some have considered to be the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. That boom is highlighting how money can be made in this source of energy. But trading in natural gas itself isn't the way to go; commodity markets are highly volatile and can swing wildly in price, as much as 50 percent in a few days.
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 31, 2012 |
PITTSBURGH - A well-known expert on the natural gas boom is again facing criticism over his ties to industry and a lack of transparency in how he presents work to the public, fueling debates over research that has been published by major universities. Timothy Considine was lead author on a shale gas report recently issued by the University at Buffalo and a previous report from Pennsylvania State University. Critics say both reports presented research in misleading ways and failed to fully disclose funding sources.
May 18, 2012 |
The collapse of natural gas prices has created a buying opportunity for Atlas Energy L.P., the Philadelphia company controlled by Edward E. Cohen's family that cashed out most of its Marcellus Shale assets for billions in 2010. Atlas Resource Partners L.P., the company's exploration and production subsidiary, on Thursday announced it is buying the Barnett Shale assets of Titan Operating L.L.C., a private company in Fort Worth, Texas, for $184 million. The leases contain 250 billion cubic feet of proven reserves and 43 producing wells on about 16,000 acres.
May 3, 2012 |
The shaky future of the oil industry in the Philadelphia region took a turn for the better this week, as did the prospects for hundreds of workers whose jobs are linked to oil refineries along the Delaware River. In what proved to be a double-barreled announcement Monday of corporate takeovers, one unlikely savior literally swooped down from the clouds, as Delta Air Lines became the buyer of the ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer. Given its limited presence at Philadelphia International Airport, Delta's move to lock up a reliable source of discounted jet fuel won't mean lower airfares locally.
April 11, 2012 |
Penn Virginia Resource Partners L.P., a Radnor energy company that traces its Philadelphia roots back 130 years, on Tuesday made a major move into the Marcellus Shale natural gas region with the acquisition of a pipeline company for $1 billion. PVR agreed to buy Chief Gathering L.L.C.'s pipeline system, which performs the largely invisible but lucrative chore of collecting gas from individual wells and delivering it to the nationwide pipeline network. The deal decisively moves PVR away from coal, where it historically made its money, and into natural gas. William H. Shea Jr., chief executive officer of the company's general partner, Penn Virginia Resource G.P., told analysts in a conference call that the deal "catapults" the company into the "midstream" pipeline business, where pipeline owners can earn steady profits collecting transportation fees like tolls on a highway.
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.