Lackawanna College NatGas Program to Get Boost from Obama Visit

President Barack ObamaMDN attended and reported on the grand opening of a new CNG fueling station in Susquehanna County, PA last week (see Cabot Launches CNG Fueling Station in NE PA). One of the presenters at that event was Mark Volk, president of Lackawanna College. Dr. Volk was there to sing the praises of Cabot Oil & Gas and their key support for Lackawanna’s new-but-rapidly-growing Petroleum & Natural Gas Technology program. Cabot has not only contributed money but also equipment and expertise to the program, one of only four or five programs like it in the country.

Lackawanna College–a 1,600-student, private 2-year school near Scranton, PA–is about to emerge on the national stage in a big way, and by extension, Cabot as well. President Obama will visit the school tomorrow (Friday, August 23) and deliver a speech “to the nation and world” from Lackawanna, no doubt touting the role of Lackawanna in preparing students through programs like the Petroleum & Natural Gas Technology program. In honor of President Obama’s visit and to celebrate Obama’s recognition of the importance of an educated workforce for the northeast and particularly for the vitally important oil and gas industry, Cabot’s own George Stark has penned the following exclusive “guest post” for MDN readers…
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OH Still in the Running for an Ethane Cracker? Maybe

don't stop believingOhio’s dream to be the future host of an ethane cracker plant is still very much alive, according to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio. Portman, along with Greg Sullivan, area manager for MarkWest Energy, spoke at the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association meeting yesterday. According to Sullivan, a source to ship the ethane produced by their plant to when it separates the ethane from the natural gas liquid stream is “our big challenge.” MarkWest’s only current option is to ship it to Canada via the Mariner West Sunoco pipeline (see Big News: Marcellus Ethane Now Exporting to Canada Cracker Plant). Starting next year and the year after, two more pipelines will come online to ship it to the Gulf Coast (the ATEX Express and the Bluegrass).

According to MarkWest, there is a “desperate need for a local ethane cracker.” Sen. Portman is hoping Ohio can supply that need, especially since Shell continues to “evaluate” its project to build a cracker plant in PA with no firm commitment or timeline to build it…
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Carroll County, OH Says Sierra Buckeye in Default on Utica Lease

In May 2012 Houston-based driller Sierra Buckeye signed a deal with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (in Ohio) to lease 185 acres of District-controlled land for $4,500 per acre plus 20% royalties on all gas produced–really good terms. In October 2012 Sierra Buckeye signed a deal with Carroll County, OH to lease 481 acres of county-owned land for the same terms, receiving a check for over $2 million as the signing bonus. However, built into the Carroll County lease deal are penalties if Sierra Buckeye does not begin drilling by certain deadlines.

The initial deadline came and went and the county extended it. The second deadline is now past and Sierra Buckeye is asking for a third deadline (November). The county has had enough and has told Sierra Buckeye the lease contract is now in default…
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JLCNY Update on Friday’s Pro-Gas Rally for Obama/Cuomo

Yesterday MDN told you about the “Pro-Gas President Rally” family picnic/fun day planned by the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) for Friday in Otsiningo Park–the day President Obama visits Binghamton, NY (see JLCNY Picnic Celebration for Obama’s Visit to Binghamton).

MDN received the following important update about that event:
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MSC Releases Annual Marcellus Job/Workforce Survey

What types of companies in the Marcellus/Utica Shale region are hiring? What types of jobs are they hiring for? And where are they hiring? Those are just some of the answers you’ll find in the latest annual membership survey from the Marcellus Shale Coalition (copy of survey results embedded below). In addition to those questions, the survey also addresses which functions and services drillers outsourced (pay attention supply chain companies!), and which positions were hardest to fill (pay attention job seekers!).

The press release announcing and summarizing the survey results:
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Revisiting the Radioactive Shale Cutting Issue in PA

Because of ongoing concerns about the radioactivity of leftover rock and dirt (“shale cuttings”) being dumped at PA landfills, the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) began a 12-14 month study of the issue this past January (see PA DEP Announces New Study of Radiation in Shale Drilling). A new update on their efforts and on the radioactive waste issue appears in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The article points out the dramatic increase in radioactive alarms going off at landfills over Marcellus waste shipments (happened nearly 1,000 times last year). However, the article also provides much-needed context and points out the radiation detected is minuscule because the detectors are so finely tuned to detect medical waste, and that in reality most of the time there is no issue or cause for concern.

The article begins this way:
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2nd High-Level Defection from PA DEP: Kevin Sunday Joins PR Firm

A second high-level defection from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). In March, then-Sec. of the DEP Michael Krancer announced he would leave the DEP and return to private law practice (see Developing… PA DEP Sec. Krancer Resigns). Krancer has been gone since April 15th. Now, a second prominent DEP official–deputy press secretary Kevin Sunday–has left too.

Harrisburg PR firm Quantum Communications announced yesterday that Sunday has joined their company and will “help lead” the “growing energy practice” at Quantum…
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OH Utica Shale – More Jobs to Come, Sale Tax Revenue Soars

Although the “received wisdom” is that the Utica Shale has not, so far, created a bonanza of jobs for in-state residents, it’s early days yet and most energy industry analysts and watchers predict jobs for Ohioans in much greater numbers are on the way. In the meantime, the Utica’s positive impact on local economies is not in dispute. The latest evidence: the 15 counties in eastern OH with the best Utica Shale deposits (and the most drilling) have seen their sale tax revenues soar by an average 20% in 2012 vs 2011. That is a huge number and indicates a lot of money from drilling stays in OH and ripples throughout local economies…
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