The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - April 12, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted April 12, 2011

Energy in Depth: Five things to know about the Cornell Shale Study: Call it an annual rite of spring for the community of Ithaca, N.Y. - finals, farmer's markets, and the release of bite-sized "studies" by Cornell professors targeting the discovery, development and use of natural gas. Last spring, Prof. Robert Howarth got the ball rolling, putting out a two-page abstract that earned a splashy write-up in Reuters mere minutes after it was released, but one that was withdrawn quickly thereafter owing to basic errors in the professor's calculations. Turns out, he didn't know that methane emissions occurred during the production of coal. Pretty big mistake in a paper that's supposed to be comparing emissions from coal to those from natural gas, isn't it? The Tennessean: 'Fracking' Safely, Efficiently Recovers Natural Gas: Much debate has focused on the use of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking,'' in natural gas production. While the concerns over this technique are genuine, many are based on a lack of understanding. It is a proven technology that allows producers to safely recover natural gas from deep, extremely dense shale formations. Advances in directional drilling make it possible to produce substantially more gas from a smaller footprint at the surface. This technology enables producers to unlock unprecedented supplies of clean natural gas, which have changed the energy landscape and are providing America with new opportunities to meet clean energy goals and boost our economy.

Pennlive: Landscape Architects Find New Business in Marcellus Shale: The term "landscape architect" is more likely to conjure images of Central Park in New York than it is drilling rigs in Pennsylvania, but the natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale has brought new life to a profession hit hard by the recession. About 60 percent of landscape architects' business was traditionally in residential and commercial development, but that began to dry up even before the recession of 2008. However, work generated by the Marcellus industry has become the bread and butter for many of his colleagues in the west and north-central portion of the state, said McLane, who organized the annual gathering of landscape architects this past weekend in the Poconos. Marcellus was a major focus of the conference. It's not a question of making your well pad look pretty, or even hiding it from the eyes of a skeptical public. In Pennsylvania, landscape architects are licensed to do erosion and sedimentation plans. Practically every drill pad, access road and pipeline in the Marcellus requires such a plan. With more than 3,000 drilling permits approved last year, that's a lot of work for landscape architects, "particularly ones who work for engineering companies," said McLane.

Fuel Fix: Report: Independents Drill 94 Percent of Onshore Wells: Independent oil and gas producers now drill 19 out of every 20 wells in the U.S., and directly added $263 billion to the nation's economy in 2010, according to a new study. The analysis, which was conducted by IHS Global Insight and commissioned by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, highlights the role of oil and natural gas producers that have only upstream activities and no additional downstream operations. The report could help bolster industry arguments that Obama administration proposals to slash tax breaks for oil and gas companies don't just go after major oil companies and instead would hurt independent producers nationwide.

Additional Resources:

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Beaver County a Hot Spot for Marcellus Shale Gas Leases
Yahoo: Florida Beaches Get $30 Million Tourism Boost From BP


Rayola Dougher is senior economist at The American Petroleum Institute (API), where she analyzes information, manages projects and develops briefing materials on energy markets and oil industry policy issues. She is the author or co-author of economic research studies covering a diverse range of topics including crude oil and petroleum product markets, gasoline taxes, energy conservation and competition in retail markets. In addition to testifying before federal and state legislators, she has participated in numerous newspaper, radio and television interviews on a wide range of issues affecting the oil industry, including crude oil and gasoline prices, industry taxes and earnings, exploration and production, and refining and marketing topics.

Prior to joining API, Rayola worked at the Institute for Energy Analysis where her research focused on carbon dioxide related issues and international energy demand and supply forecasts. Rayola holds a Masters degree in Economic Development and East Asian studies from the American University and a degree in History and Political Science from the State University of New York at Brockport.