Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom has driven local gas prices down, which in turn, has resulted in increased industrial development. According to a Public Utility Commission calculation, the decrease in natural gas prices has saved Pennsylvania energy consumers $13 billion in the last two years.
A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration stated approximately 17 percent of Pennsylvania’s energy is generated by natural gas, which is a ten-fold increase since 2001.
In addition, natural gas plays an important role in the production of steel, according to U.S. Steel CEO, John Surma. “The low-cost energy really turns out to be an unbelievable asset for this state,” said C. Allen Walker, Economic Development Secretary.
Although the price of natural gas has fallen due to the unexpected increase in production, the lower prices come with a risky downturn. Shale gas will no longer be profitable if the price continues to sink. Right now the prices have fallen below $4 per thousand cubic feet.…
In 2008, TransCanada Corporation proposed a plan for the longest pipeline in North America, the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline is estimated to be 1,661 miles or 2,663 kilometers. With a starting point in Alberta’s oil sands, the Keystone XL Pipeline would carry the tar-sands crude through the Great Plains to the Gulf of Mexico. Canada is currently considered the largest source of imported oil to the United States having produced 1.5 million barrels a day in 2010 and a projected production exceeding 2 million by 2015. The Keystone XL has the potential to increase the pipeline capacity by 700,000 barrels per day. An independent study provided by TransCanada found that the $13 billion pipeline project will produce a U.S. economic value of $20 billion.
The U.S Department of State has been working closely with a number of agencies to ensure that the development process addresses any concerns regarding environmental and safety issues. With assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and the Department of Energy, the State Department worked to address concerns from the public. Since the beginning of the project in 2008, public meetings and open houses have taken place in six states collecting pages of information and responses to questions.
There have been a number of concerns from numerous environmental organizations regarding the safety measures should an incident occur. This has stalled the project for the time being. TransCanada stated they plan to construct one of the safest, well planned pipelines in use today. A computerized control center that is manned 24 hours a day and 365 days a year will monitor every aspect of the steel pipeline. Should an incident occur, isolation and shut down of the affected section would be immediate due to controls and monitors placed throughout the pipeline, as well as remote access to secure the site. Due to a PHMSA requirement, TransCanada has created an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) that will be initiated to minimize effects to the surrounding area. The plan incorporates its own personnel as well as contract resources.…
The Baker Hughes weekly rig count reported the United States currently has 2000 rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas, an increase of 313 rigs from this week last year. Of these working rigs, 1,130 are drilling for oil and 865 are used in gas extraction. The rig count, which has been issued since 1944, acts as an important index for drilling contractors in gauging the overall business environment of the oil and gas industry.
The rig counts are reaching record numbers in the Permian Basin. “We have 400 drilling rigs running around Odessa and Midland that are drilling two wells per month at an average cost of $2 million per well,” said Kirk Edwards, President of MacLondon Royalties and prior President of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association. The current rig count in the Permian is sixty percent higher than the oilfield’s count in August of 2008.
Oklahoma-based contract driller, Helmerich & Payne, has purchased 17 new rigs, forecasting an increased demand in this oil and gas drilling boom.…