Penn State geologist Terry Engelder, who helped propel the state’s shale gas boom by revealing how much natural gas lies trapped within the Marcellus, says the industry would be better off with more disclosure. Speaking to Gas Rush Stories producer Kirsi Jansa after a panel discussion on the lack of openness at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Engelder says resources should be spent on making the DEP more transparent. Check out the video below for more:
In a closely watched decision, the Obama Administration has approved a second terminal to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) overseas, according to the Washington Post:
The Energy Department said Friday that it had given preliminary authorization to Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction LLC to export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas from its existing facility in Quintana Island, Texas. The Freeport project is a joint venture between ConocoPhillips and other private investors.
Energy Department approval is needed for exports to countries with which the U.S. doesn’t have a free-trade agreement, a category that includes major trading partners in Europe and Asia. The project still requires final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Freeport terminal is the second export facility approved by the Obama administration. Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana won approval to export LNG to the non-FTA countries in May 2011.
The push to export comes as the gas industry has seen a boom in shale production that has depressed prices in the U.S., while prices overseas remain high.
The industry welcomed the news, but continued to press for more approvals.
Both environmentalists and industry are unhappy with the new federal rules, which would apply to about 700 million acres, located primarily in the West. Pennsylvania has less than 5,000 acres of actively producing land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Thursday issued a new set of proposed rules governing hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on public lands, moving further to address industry concerns about the costs and reporting burdens of federal regulation.
Ernest Moniz testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on his nomination to be US Energy Secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA, 09 April 2013.
Ernest Moniz, President Barack Obama’s pick for Energy Secretary, glided easily through the nomination process, garnering unanimous support from the Senate. The MIT physics professor replaces Steven Chu, who stepped down in April.
Moniz served as undersecretary for the agency during the Clinton Administration. He currently runs MIT’s Energy Initiative, which is partly funded by the oil industry. Moniz supports shale gas production, and his nomination won praise from the American Petroleum Institute’s CEO Jack Gerard.
“Secretary Moniz understands the energy revolution underway in the United States,” wrote Gerard in a release. “New technology and the use of that technology are showing we have vastly more energy potential than we thought we had even just a short time ago. The U.S. is awash in natural gas with huge additional productive capacity that can fully supply domestic markets with affordable and clean-burning natural gas, enhance our energy security and allow for exports well into the future.”
PITTSBURGH — For companies looking to break into the natural gas business here, a Marcellus Shale Coalition membership is key. Four years ago, MSC was little more than an informal umbrella over a smattering of energy companies exploring the Marcellus Shale’s potential to yield natural gas.
NRG announced that it would cease operations at its Titus Station power plant in Cumru Twp., Berks County, by April 2015. The company cited the high costs of complying with increasingly stringent environmental regulations in making the announcement. The plant employs 75 workers.
Overall, NRG and the Houston-based GenOn Energy are shuttering nine coal-fired plants, including four others in Pennsylvania. The two power companies merged last year. And their planned coal plant closures will begin in June and run through 2015.
Part of the blame for the decline in coal is the boom in shale oil and gas production, according to Bloomberg:
The latest concern from some New York City residents is that the shale gas they receive from Pennsylvania contains higher levels of radon — an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas, that’s responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year.
A group called Occupy the Pipeline recently produced a YouTube video about it, which has attracted more than half a million views.
The group opposes the Spectra pipeline, which is set to be completed next fall. It will carry shale gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio underneath New York City’s West Village.
So are higher radon levels a legitimate concern?
Michael Arthur, co-director of Penn State University’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research says it’s a complex issue worth studying more.
The state Department of Environmental Protection is spending the week testing air quality in Susquehanna County. Residents have raised concerns about the impacts of natural gas drilling operations there, particularly the growth of gas compressor stations.
So far, the DEP says preliminary results have not turned up any air quality concerns, but they won’t have full results for about a month.
But almost two-thirds support a drilling moratorium in order to study the risks. Pollster and University of Michigan professor Barry Rabe says that’s not such a contradiction.
“A moratorium is not a ban,” says Rabe. “A moratorium is taking some time out and taking some time to develop a policy and process as opposed to completely prohibiting. So if there is a mixture of possible benefits and risks, support for a moratorium might be viewed as a way to view all those risks and minimize them before going forward.”
Most polled view Pennsylvania’s natural gas reserves as a public, rather than a private resource. And 59 percent of those polled view fracking as a major risk to water resources. When it comes to full disclosure of fracking ingredients, 81 percent of Pennsylvania residents “strongly agree.” Continue Reading →
North America will provide 40 percent of new supplies to 2018 through the development of light, tight oil and oil sands, while the contribution from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will slip to 30 percent, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA trimmed global fuel demand estimates for the next four years, and predicted that consumption in emerging economies may overtake developed nations this year …
The development of U.S. shale resources, enabling the nation’s highest level of energy independence in two decades, is creating a “chain reaction” in the global transportation, processing and storage of oil that may escalate as other countries try to replicate the American oil boom, according to the IEA.
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