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 4, 2014
Nola.com (Charlie Williams): No other state in the country is more synonymous with offshore oil and natural gas development than Louisiana. So it is fitting that the Society of Environmental Journalists chose to take a deeper look at the safety of offshore operations during its conference in New Orleans this week.
In recent years, the oil and natural gas sector has made substantial improvements to the safety of offshore operations and drilling. The industry has established rigorous new standards, enhanced existing ones and established theCenter for Offshore Safety to ensure continuous improvement in safety and environmental protection.
As a result, offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production have never been safer.
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 27, 2014
USAToday Editorial: There is much news these days from the world's major energy producing regions. Almost none of it is good.
Iraq, Libya and Syria are in turmoil. Russia, the world's largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil, is bullying Ukraine and by extension Western Europe. And Iran's nuclear program may yet provoke a market-roiling conflict.
Amazingly, as all this has transpired, U.S. gasoline prices have been stable, even falling. The domestic economy is picking up steam. And the stock market has hit all-time highs.
Go figure. Perhaps the markets are in denial and Americans are in for an ugly surprise. They were blindsided in 1973 when an Arab oil boycott led to higher prices and long gas lines, and again in 1979 when the Iranian revolution led to a second oil shock.
But there are legitimate reasons why things would look relatively good here while so much of the world burns. First among them is a U.S. energy renaissance that has left the nation far less dependent on Mideast oil.
Posted August 26, 2014
After graduating from Penn State with a degree in petroleum engineering, Curry didn't have much of a choice but to leave. He got a job that required him to travel and "bounced around the United States for a few years," the 43-year-old said recently.
"I eventually settled in Dallas, working for multiple oil and gas companies during my time there," he said. "Around 2008, I began hearing more and more about Marcellus and Range Resources, and I saw the opportunity to move home."
Curry is director of business development at Range Resources in Cecil Township, Washington County. He and his wife, Heather, have three children, ranging in age from 4 months to 5 years old -- "all born in Pittsburgh," said Curry, who is from Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County.
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 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 20, 2014
Offshore producers say safety precautions have improved dramatically since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and argue no areas should be ruled out as the Interior Department considers offshore drilling sites through 2022.
“Decisions on areas to include in the 2017-2022 [outer continental shelf] leasing program will have impacts well into the future,” a coalition of 11 industry groups wrote in comments filed to Interior. “Therefore, we believe that BOEM should fully consider all areas for inclusion in the program and keep as many areas as feasible in the draft proposed program.”