Posted September 8, 2014
NY Times: Waist-high weeds and a crumbling old Chevy mark the entrance to a rust-colored factory complex on the edge of town here, seemingly another monument to the passing of the golden age of American industry.
But deep inside the 14-acre site, the thwack-thwack-thwack sound of metal on metal tells a different story.
“We’re holding our own,” said Greg Hess, who is looking to hire draftsmen and machine operators at the company he runs, Youngstown Bending and Rolling. “I feel good that we saved this place from the wrecking ball.”
The turnaround is part of a transformation spreading across the heartland of the nation, driven by a surge in domestic oil and gas production that is changing the economic calculus for old industries and downtrodden cities alike.
Posted September 5, 2014
Greeley Tribune: A study by an energy initiative at Duke University shows that Colorado’s booming oil and gas industry has had a positive impact on public finances to date.
“Our research indicates that the net impact of recent oil and gas development has generally been positive for local public finances,” states the report, conducted by Daniel Raimi and Richard Newell of the Duke University Energy Initiative. “While costs arising from new service demands have been large in many regions, increased revenues from a variety of sources have generally outweighed them or at least kept pace, allowing local governments to maintain and in some cases expand or improve the services they provide.”
In Colorado, besides some harsher impacts on the Western Slope, the industry’s impact was a net positive, the study found, meaning that the benefits of the industry outweighed the costs of supplying services to support the industry.
Posted September 3, 2014
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Two major pipeline projects are in the works to ship natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales to the southeastern U.S., a region with a growing appetite for natural gas.
Downtown-based EQT Corp. said Tuesday it is moving forward with its partner NextEra Energy, a Florida electric utility, to form a joint venture dubbed Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC. The partnership plans to build a 330-mile pipeline that would provide at least 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of transmission capacity to the mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions. The project, which is now seeking firm commitments for capacity from shippers during an open season, was first announced in June, and has already gotten commitments for 1.5 Bcf/d, EQT said.
Meanwhile, a partnership of four energy companies — Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources — also announced Tuesday a roughly $5 billion pipeline project to take about 1.5 Bcf/d to North Carolina and Virginia. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would span 550 miles from Harrison County, W.Va., through Virginia and then south to North Carolina.
Posted August 28, 2014
Fuel Fix Blog: The Marcellus region is now the biggest natural gas shale play in the world, and there’s still about $90 billion to be made by tapping the area’s reserves, according to a study by energy analyst group Wood Mackenzie.
The Marcellus, which stretches from New York to West Virginia, produced about 15.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in August, about 38 percent of total U.S. natural gas production for the month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency doesn’t expect the boom to taper off anytime soon, and several of the biggest companies are cashing in.
Wood Mackenzie predicted that the top 20 operators in the Marcellus will earn nearly $86 billion over the life of the play after the costs of reaching the reserves. Among the 20 largest operators are Fort Worth-based Range Resources Corp., Pittsburgh’s EQT Corp., Houston’s Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and Denver-based Antero Resources.
For comparison, Wood Mackenzie estimated that there’s about $118 billion to be made by extracting the resources in North Dakota’s Bakken region — but most production there is higher-priced oil compared to the natural gas dominant in the Marcellus.
Posted August 25, 2014
Because she relies so much on her lease checks from Greka Energy, she's concerned about Measure P and how it could affect her income. The voter-driven initiative to ban oil extraction methods of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, cyclic steaming and well acidization in Santa Barbara County is on the November ballot.
Posted August 22, 2014
The national standard for ground-level ozone hardly needs tinkering. As noted earlier this year by Howard Feldman, API’s director of scientific and regulatory affairs, air quality in the U.S. has been steadily improving in recent years, and the health case for a more stringent ozone standard, which EPA may propose, hasn’t been made:
“We recognize that EPA has a statutory duty to periodically review the standards. However, the current review of health studies has not identified compelling evidence for more stringent standards. Tightened standards could impose unachievable emission reduction requirements on virtually every part of the nation, including rural and undeveloped areas. These could be the costliest EPA regulations ever.”
Costly nationally and to the states individually. A report for the National Association of Manufacturers says the U.S. could see a $270 billion per year reduction in GDP and 2.9 million fewer job equivalents per year on average through 2040. We’ve looked at potential state impacts in North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky and Michigan. Today, Arkansas:
Posted August 21, 2014
Wall Street Journal: U.S. economic growth accelerated in the second half of 2013 before unexpectedly contracting early this year. But growth late last year was uneven across the nation, with some energy-rich states leading the pack while economies slowed in New England and on the Plains.
That’s according to new data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department. The agency already reported gross domestic product for the nation on a quarterly basis and at the state level annually. Now, it has offered a quarterly breakdown for state-level GDP data through the end of 2013. The data are volatile from quarter to quarter, but allow a finer understanding of the ups and downs in regional economies.
Posted August 19, 2014
It is challenging to strike a balance between traditional energy sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas, and emerging renewables like wind and biomass. The Virginia Energy Plan, updated every four years by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, serves as a guide.
Posted August 15, 2014
Helmets off – as in motorcycle helmets – to the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA) for conducting an E10 fuel giveaway at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally earlier this month in South Dakota.
We know Big Ethanol prefers ethanol in stronger doses than E10 (up to 10 percent content), but RFA must realize its efforts to get more of the higher ethanol-blend E15 into the nation’s fuel supply has risks with certain audiences.
Take motorcycle enthusiasts. The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has been direct in its concerns about E15 in the fuel marketplace:
Inadvertent misfueling with E15 (15 percent ethanol by volume) fuel is a significant concern to AMA members. E15 use can void manufacturers’ warranties, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged that E15 can damage engines. Although the EPA has approved its use in 2001-and-newer light-duty vehicles – which include cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles – the EPA has not approved its use in the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in operation. … Preventing these inadvertent misfuelings has been one of the AMA’s main concerns, because a vast majority of motorcycles and ATVs on the road and trail in the United States today are not designed to run on ethanol blends higher than 10 percent. And many older machines favored by vintage motorcycle enthusiasts have problems with any ethanol in the fuel.
Posted August 15, 2014
Forbes: The U.S. arm of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has been making news this week with a ‘new’ report claiming the Obama Administration drastically underestimated carbon emissions of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The report seeks to make the case as to why the final portion of the Keystone pipeline system should not be built.
As tantalizing as the report sounds, supporters of the pipeline have been quick to point out the report is actually a recycled 2013 SEI report which the State Department took into account, and largely dismissed.