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Friday, August 23, 2013

Fracking risks can be business opportunities - my interview with the UK's Pathfinderbuzz.com

The creation of technologies that avoid or minimize the risks presented by unconventional oil and gas development can represent business opportunities for exploration and service companies.  Here is a short interview that I did with the UK's Pathfinderbuzz.com that offers some examples.  

Readers of this blog will recognize my call for full accounting of the risks and costs of water and chemicals in unconventional gas development, and a drive for the adoption of waterless, chemical-free fracking technologies.

Can profit  - and environmental, public health, and climate protection - all go hand in hand? That would go a long way to ensuring the industry's social license to operate.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hype doesn't float: PA is #2 in gas production, #49 in job growth

The latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that at the end of July, 2013, Pennsylvania has fallen from 7th (in 2010) to 49th out of 50 states in job growth.

This comes even as Pennsylvania is poised to become the nation's second largest natural gas producing state.

Sensing a disconnection?

The localized jobs that have been created by the natgas industry in Pennsylvania are important and valuable.  But neither this industry - nor any other single industry - can be an economic savior for a state as large and diverse as the Commonwealth.  All-gas-all-the-time is not an economic development strategy, but an abdication.  The BLS numbers prove what those of us who don't wear rose-colored glasses have known all along.

Monday, August 19, 2013

University Of Pittsburgh Shale Gas Roundtable releases must-read final report

Following two years of study on ways to improve unconventional oil and gas development in southwestern Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh’s Shale Gas Roundtable has released a comprehensive report of its deliberations, findings, and recomendations.  

The report is dense, careful, thorough, and thoughtful – a must-read. 

The executive summary says that the Roundtable concluded that the necessary ingredients for a “getting it right” framework for unconventional gas development are:

It says:
If Pennsylvania and its surrounding states pursue excellence in these four areas, the Appalachian Basin could serve as a national model for getting unconventional upstream, midstream, and downstream development right. Specifically, the Roundtable believes that Pennsylvania could best implement this framework by aiming progress at three interrelated goals:
  • Minimizing surface disturbance from oil and gas activity and maximizing the efficiency of resource recovery and transport
  • Enhancing the regional use of natural gas and supporting opportunities for regional economic growth based on the full natural gas value chain
The report calls for rigorous monitoring of possible impacts of unconventional gas development, for improved planning, and for improving transparency of state government. In particular, the Roundtable calls for better, clearer, and more easily accessible state reporting; for participation by the Commonwealth in independent assessments of the adequacy of state regulations; for regular evaluation of enforcement needs; and for development of enforcement staffing parameters.

The report should be mandatory reading for state policymakers - in Pennsylvania and across the nation.