Wells Fargo Securities economists recently issued a report on the effects of Marcellus Shale drilling on Pennsylvania jobs (a copy of the 12-page report is embedded below). The report offers both an optimistic and pessimistic forecast of job growth, along with what they believe to be a realistic forecast. And all of their numbers are backed up with plenty of commentary so the reader understands why they predict what they predict. The bottom line?
Shell will decide whether or not to build an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA over the next two years (see this MDN story). If they decide to build, which seems likely, it will take between four and 10 years and $3 billion to build it. It’s a massive project. And Shell will have the federal Environmental Protection Agency looking over their shoulder the whole time, according to an EPA rep from Texas:
Sensing that Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be close to moving forward with issuing permits for shale gas drilling, anti-drilling groups are joining forces in New York State to form a coalition called New Yorkers Against Fracking. Movie star Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce Banner (the Hulk) in the upcoming movie The Avengers, is on board with the effort. (Those who support drilling may want to consider bypassing The Avengers to send a message to Mr. Ruffalo and Hollywood.)
From the “things that amuse us from Maryland” file: The Maryland House of Delegates passed a vote on a severance tax on shale gas drilling in the state. They generously reduced the original proposal from a 15 percent tax down to 7.5 percent. Thing is, there is no shale gas drilling in the state and there won’t be until 2014 at the earliest when a report commissioned by Gov. Martin O’Malley is due. And it’s a big “if” as to whether or not Maryland will ever allow drilling. The House seems awfully eager to tax something they haven’t even decided they will allow.
PA State Senator Tim Solobay, a Democrat serving western PA’s 46th district, made the following report about the “broad-reaching economic impact” of Marcellus shale drilling and it’s power to revitalize businesses in the state:
In a lawsuit to allow active drilling in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in Pennsylvania, a federal judge ruled last Friday that the U.S. Forest Service does not have to end a ban they imposed on drillers who want to use surface water from the ANF for hydraulic fracturing. Drillers have argued that the Forest Service’s actions in banning water withdrawals from the ANF, and in delaying signoff on new drilling permits, have in essence stopped drilling in the ANF—a de facto ban. For a background on the long-running dispute, see this MDN story from last November.
The number of gas drilling rigs continues a slow decline in Pennsylvania as companies reallocate those rigs to Ohio and to areas in the country where shale oil drilling is expanding.
National Fuel Gas Company and its subsidiary Seneca Resources announced yesterday that for the second time in two months they are further scaling back Marcellus Shale drilling in light of low natural gas prices. According to CEO David Smith they will curtail production by “a modest amount” and delay some completions in the Marcellus.
From the press release:
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: