Local Business News and Commentary

 

The Most Popular Shale Play in America? The Marcellus!

May 29, 2013 Marcellus Drilling News

A recent article on The Motley Fool investors website christened the Marcellus Shale as, “The most popular natural gas play in America.” Cool. Here’s why they say that:

Despite low gas prices over much of last year, the Marcellus shale — a vast formation that extends from southern New York to West Virginia and spans most of Pennsylvania, the eastern part of Ohio, and parts of Maryland, Virginia, and Tennessee — was one of the only gassy plays in the country that didn’t see a sharp drop-off in drilling activity.

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Natrium, WV NGL Processing Plant Start-up Close

May 28, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News from Wheeling (WV) The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register (May 28, 2013)

Processing plants in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region are a critical component of the drilling picture that frankly is holding up further development right now. Without the ability to separate “wet gas” (gas containing compounds in addition to methane, like ethane, butane, propane and pentane), drillers in wet gas areas are either drilling and capping their wells, or not drilling them in the first place. All eyes are on infrastructure projects like the processing plant in Natrium, WV being built by Blue Racer Midstream, a joint venture between Dominion and Caiman Energy.

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What America is Thinking on Energy Issues – Poll: 71 percent of American voters agree exporting domestic natural gas will create U.S. jobs

May 22, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News from Reid Porter - API  | 202.682.8114 | porterr@api.org 

Seventy-one percent of Americans agree that exporting domestic natural gas will help create U.S. jobs, and sixty-six percent believe that exporting natural gas will be good for the U.S. economy, according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive for API’s “What America is Thinking on Energy Issues” series.

 

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3 Marcellus Midstream Companies Top Customer Satisfaction Survey

May 15, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News

EnergyPoint Research released an overview of their biannual Midstream Services Study this morning. Three companies with large Marcellus operations top the list in customer satisfaction ratings: MarkWest, Williams and Sunoco Logistics. The press release (below) is a clever way to get you to buy the study–something we respect and admire! However, the release itself contains some good information and will help you decide if you want to purchase a copy:

 

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Moody’s Report: Shale is Here to Stay, Gives U.S. Huge Advantage

 

May 15, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

A 16-page, $550 report from Moody’s Investors Service released on Monday says shale drilling in the U.S. is here to stay, gives America an ongoing advantage over other countries, and will result in “historically low” natgas prices for at least the next 10 years, if not longer. The report says chemical companies, railroads and other businesses are benefiting big too.

 

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Chevron to Build New (Big) Regional HQ in Pittsburgh Suburb

May 2, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Chevron has just stepped up its commitment to the Marcellus (and Utica) Shale region by purchasing 61 acres, including a Kmart that’s about to close, in Moon Township, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Rumor has it that Chevron will build a new 350,000 square foot office complex that will house upward of 1,750 employees when it’s done. They currently employ around 650 employees in the region, housed at several locations.

 

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EQT & Gas Utility Company Deal Gets Federal "Approval"

April 25, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

On March 1, MDN told you about the complex deal agreed to between EQT and People’s Natural Gas. EQT wants to swap its gas utility division, called Equiptable Gas Company, to People’s in return for cash and a midstream company owned by Peoples called Allegheny Valley Connector (see Pittsburgh Driller & Gas Utility Co Want to Swap Assets). Good news today from EQT. They report the Federal Trade Commission has “not objected” to (meaning it approves of) the transfer–a big hurdle to completing the deal. However, there’s still a number of other approvals from state agencies that need to be obtained before the deal can be finalized.

 

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UPS to Grow NG Fleet with Additional 700 LNG Tractor Trailers

April 25, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Hats off to UPS—the shipping company that’s probably made a delivery to your business or home within the past week. A week doesn’t go by that MDN HQ doesn’t get a delivery from the big brown truck! UPS currently has a fleet of 2,600 alternative fuel vehicles—running on everything from electric to biomethane. They’re adding another 700 new vehicles to that number—all of them liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractor trailers. UPS will also build four private refueling stations as part of the program—three in Tennessee and one in Texas.

 

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Big Money Spent on Marcellus & Utica M&A Deals for 1Q13

April 24, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News, 

A quarterly mergers & acquisitions report by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) shows the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions were respectively the second and third most popular locations for big M&A deals for the first quarter of 2013. Just three deals totaling $882 million happened in the Marcellus alone…

 

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New Interior Secretary Jewell Says BLM Fracking Rules Coming Soon

April 24, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Newly approved Sec. of Interior, Sally Jewell, said on Monday that new rules for fracking on federal lands from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be out “fairly soon.” She also said “one size doesn’t fit all,” apparently trying to assuage concerns by the drilling industry that the federal government is attempting a takeover of regulating fracking. She even claimed she was a fracker once upon a time…

 

 

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MDN Goes to NAPE East in Pittsburgh

April 16, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Sooner or later, all energy roads in the Marcellus and Utica Shale lead to Pittsburgh. In many ways, because of the huge impact of the Marcellus (and now Utica) Shale, Pittsburgh has become the new Houston–the center of the energy universe. At least in the northeast. Last week the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) brought its franchise event to Pittsburgh. NAPE usually runs twice a year–in Houston. This year they’ve added Pittsburgh to the lineup, calling it NAPE East.

 

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IRS Provides Helpful Tips on Reporting Shale Drilling Income

April 15, 2013 Marcellus Drilling News,

Tax day. Yuck. The IRS has issued a helpful guide for landowners in the Marcellus and Utica Shale (or anywhere for that matter) called "Tips on Reporting Natural Resource Income" that will lists IRS publications that can help. It appears their list of resources page (see below) was posted on the IRS site on April 11–not really time enough to do much about it now except to quickly file an amended return (if you’ve already filed) or an extension (if you haven’t filed). As painful as it is, landowners should review the information below—at least scan it—to be sure you’re not overlooking something important.

 

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CONSOL’s Detailed 1Q13 Operations Update for Marcellus/Utica

April 15, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News, 

On Friday, CONSOL Energy (CNX Gas) issued an operational update for the first quarter of 2013. CONSOL said they had a "strong" start to 2013 by drilling 14 new horizontal wells—12 of them in the Marcellus, and 2 in the Utica.

Here’s the portion of the update dealing their gas drilling operations which identifies not only what they did, but where they did and didn’t do it, and in the case of joint ventures, who they did it with:

 

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EQT & Gas Utility Company Deal Gets Federal "Approval"

April 25, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

On March 1, MDN told you about the complex deal agreed to between EQT and People’s Natural Gas. EQT wants to swap its gas utility division, called Equiptable Gas Company, to People’s in return for cash and a midstream company owned by Peoples called Allegheny Valley Connector (see Pittsburgh Driller & Gas Utility Co Want to Swap Assets). Good news today from EQT. They report the Federal Trade Commission has “not objected” to (meaning it approves of) the transfer–a big hurdle to completing the deal. However, there’s still a number of other approvals from state agencies that need to be obtained before the deal can be finalized.

 

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UPS to Grow NG Fleet with Additional 700 LNG Tractor Trailers

April 25, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Hats off to UPS—the shipping company that’s probably made a delivery to your business or home within the past week. A week doesn’t go by that MDN HQ doesn’t get a delivery from the big brown truck! UPS currently has a fleet of 2,600 alternative fuel vehicles—running on everything from electric to biomethane. They’re adding another 700 new vehicles to that number—all of them liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractor trailers. UPS will also build four private refueling stations as part of the program—three in Tennessee and one in Texas.

 

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Big Money Spent on Marcellus & Utica M&A Deals for 1Q13

April 24, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News, 

A quarterly mergers & acquisitions report by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) shows the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions were respectively the second and third most popular locations for big M&A deals for the first quarter of 2013. Just three deals totaling $882 million happened in the Marcellus alone…

 

To Read More


 

New Interior Secretary Jewell Says BLM Fracking Rules Coming Soon

April 24, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Newly approved Sec. of Interior, Sally Jewell, said on Monday that new rules for fracking on federal lands from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be out “fairly soon.” She also said “one size doesn’t fit all,” apparently trying to assuage concerns by the drilling industry that the federal government is attempting a takeover of regulating fracking. She even claimed she was a fracker once upon a time…

 

 

To Read More


 

MDN Goes to NAPE East in Pittsburgh

April 16, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Sooner or later, all energy roads in the Marcellus and Utica Shale lead to Pittsburgh. In many ways, because of the huge impact of the Marcellus (and now Utica) Shale, Pittsburgh has become the new Houston–the center of the energy universe. At least in the northeast. Last week the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) brought its franchise event to Pittsburgh. NAPE usually runs twice a year–in Houston. This year they’ve added Pittsburgh to the lineup, calling it NAPE East.

 

To Read More

 


 

IRS Provides Helpful Tips on Reporting Shale Drilling Income

April 15, 2013 Marcellus Drilling News,

Tax day. Yuck. The IRS has issued a helpful guide for landowners in the Marcellus and Utica Shale (or anywhere for that matter) called "Tips on Reporting Natural Resource Income" that will lists IRS publications that can help. It appears their list of resources page (see below) was posted on the IRS site on April 11–not really time enough to do much about it now except to quickly file an amended return (if you’ve already filed) or an extension (if you haven’t filed). As painful as it is, landowners should review the information below—at least scan it—to be sure you’re not overlooking something important.

 

To Read More


 

CONSOL’s Detailed 1Q13 Operations Update for Marcellus/Utica

April 15, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News, 

On Friday, CONSOL Energy (CNX Gas) issued an operational update for the first quarter of 2013. CONSOL said they had a "strong" start to 2013 by drilling 14 new horizontal wells—12 of them in the Marcellus, and 2 in the Utica.

Here’s the portion of the update dealing their gas drilling operations which identifies not only what they did, but where they did and didn’t do it, and in the case of joint ventures, who they did it with:

 

To Read More


 

A Plethora of Shale Organizations/Institutes Spring Up in PA

April 5, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Although there’s a small minority of mouthy people opposed to shale drilling in Pennsylvania (groups like the Sierra Club and PennFuture), most companies and organizations are clamoring to get a piece of the Marcellus drilling industry action in the Keystone State. Case in point: Several years ago the industry-backed Marcellus Shale Coalition was launched, a fabulous organization that promotes Marcellus Shale drilling and ensures certain standards are met by its members. It’s a “carrot” kind of organization—encouraging drillers to join and conform to common-sense rules. A few weeks ago, a new ad hoc group of drillers and environmentalists announced the launch of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, or “CSSD” (see Important: Drillers & Enviros Form New Group, Launch Cert Program). CSSD wants to supplement state regulations with even tougher, more expensive rules. CSSD wants to force drillers to get their certification—a “stick” kind of organization. Not to be outdone, a few days after CSSD launched yet another group unveiled itself, called the Shale Gas Roundtable. They too are crafting “rules to drill by” that will soon be released (see Out of the Shadows: Another New Group Wants to Regulate PA Shale).

 

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Obama “Inches” Toward Approving Barge Shipments of Frack Water

April 5, 2013 Marcellus Drilling News,

GreenHunter Water (and others) anxiously await approval from the Coast Guard to allow shipment of fracking wastewater by barge. GreenHunter has a lot riding on the Coast Guard’s decision (see GreenHunter’s Plans to Move Wastewater by Barge Delayed). Anti-drillers are attempting to prevent barge shipments of frack water as a tactic to discourage drilling. They ignore the glaring fact that substances far more toxic than frack water are shipped on river barges each and every day of the week, all done with a sterling safety record.

 

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New Report: Reasons for U.S. Dramatic Increase in O&G Production

April 3, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Robert Bryce, an author for more than two decades and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Energy Policy and the Environment has just released an important new report titled, “New Technology for Old Fuels: Innovation in Oil and Natural Gas Production Assures Future Supplies” (full copy embedded below). In the opening of the report, Bryce shares a startling fact: “In 2012, U.S. oil production rose by 790,000 barrels per day, the biggest annual increase since U.S. oil production began in 1859. In 2013, the Energy Information Administration expects production to rise yet again, by 815,000 barrels per day, which would set another record. Domestic natural gas production is also at record levels.”

 

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NAPE Takes Shape – Speakers Announced for April 10 Program

April 3, 2013, Marcellus Drillig News,

For anyone in the orbit of Pittsburgh, or for those already planning to attend, MDN editor Jim Willis will attend the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) in Pittsburgh next week, April 10-12. This is the first time NAPE has come to Pittsburgh—the big annual event is held in Houston each year. The Pittsburgh event is called NAPE East and promises to be a great show. Please stop by the Shale Daily booth (# 205) and say hello to Jim!

 

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ExxonMobil Chemical Chief Says Fracking Transforming our Future

March 27, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News, 

Stephen Pryor, president of global plastics and chemicals giant ExxonMobil Chemical Co., recently spoke with Plastics News and boy oh boy did he have a lot to say! Pryor is someone who clearly “gets it” when it comes to the miracle of hydraulic fracturing and its profound impact on the U.S. and around the world. In his remarks, Pryor says fracking is transforming America’s future and the most important thing to happen in the last 150 years. He also says private business (and not government) is responsible for this miracle, and government should stay out of it. In topics ranging from ethane crackers to jobs to exports, he pretty much covers the whole spectrum.

 

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PA Bill Would Require Utilities to Extend NatGas Service

March 27, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Two PA Republican state senators have introduced legislation that would grant the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) the power to require utility companies to provide natural gas service to areas that currently lack it:

 

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Former PA Gov. Rendell to Gov. Cuomo: Get Fracking

March 27, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Interesting. Former PA Gov. Ed Rendell (“Fast Eddie” as he’s know around here) has penned a huge editorial printed in today’s New York Daily News, a left-leaning newspaper, aimed at one person: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Eddie’s words of advice to his fellow Democrat? Frack Andy Frack!

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America, Start Your Natural-Gas Engines

Replacing gasoline in our cars could be an energy game changer. Here's what we need to do to get from here to there.

March 26, 2013 The Wall Street Journal, By TOM FOWLER


America has a wealth of natural gas in the ground. So, how do we get it into our cars?

The recent deluge of low-cost shale gas is already changing the way the country runs. Electric utilities are turning to gas to power their turbines, and chemical companies that rely on the fuel are coming back to the U.S. after years of investing overseas.

But the holy grail is transportation.

Every day, we consume 70% of our oil getting from place to place—and produce more than 30% of our greenhouse gases along the way. If we could run our vehicles on natural gas, it could kill two birds with one stone: Not only is natural gas a lot cheaper than oil right now, but its emissions are much cleaner than gasoline or diesel.

"This abundance of natural gas is something we weren't expecting as a country, but it's here now, and it's a gift we should take advantage of," says Steven Mueller, chief executive of Houston-based natural-gas producer Southwestern Energy Co. SWN -0.13%"There's huge savings here and a way to help to environment."

Natural gas is already making big inroads in the commercial-truck market. Delivery companies, trash haulers and other firms that operate big fleets are switching to natural-gas vehicles to save on fuel costs. But the really big leap—and the much more daunting task—will be getting passenger cars running on natural gas.

Cost is a big part of the problem: Natural-gas cars are more expensive upfront, thousands of dollars more than regular models. That's a tough sell anytime, never mind in this economy.

Public refueling stations, meanwhile, are few and far between. And there's the question of consumer psychology: How do you convince drivers that it's wise or even safe to put natural gas in their cars?

The barriers are significant, but pursuing natural-gas transportation is still worth the effort, according to a paper by Christopher Knittel, a professor of energy and economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

With the right policy incentives, he writes, natural-gas vehicles could "increase the nation's energy security, decrease the susceptibility of the U.S. economy to recessions caused by oil-price shocks, and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and other pollutants."

Here's a closer look at some of the challenges and how they could be surmounted.

    

Reinventing the Car
The big issue with building natural-gas vehicles is the fuel tank. Gasoline and natural-gas engines are relatively similar. But natural gas must be stored under high pressure—so the tanks must be stronger, heavier and larger. And that drives up the price. The only natural-gas passenger car sold in the U.S., the Honda Civic GX, costs about $5,200 more than a comparable gasoline vehicle and $3,600 more than the gasoline/electric hybrid Civic.

.In other parts of the world, governments have mandated a switch to natural-gas vehicles, regardless of the higher cost of vehicles. In Pakistan and Iran, for instance, the governments made the change because the countries lack sufficient gasoline-refining capacity. Now the two countries have about 2.7 million and 1.9 million natural-gas vehicles, respectively.

That kind of mandate is all but unthinkable in the U.S. But there are efforts afoot to work around the fuel-tank issues to bring down the cost. 3M Corp. MMM +0.86%said earlier this year it is joining with Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK +1.87%to develop natural-gas fuel tanks that use plastic linings wrapped in carbon-composite materials. The tanks could be 10% to 20% lighter with 10% to 20% more capacity than current natural-gas tanks, the companies said.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a smaller tank that allows natural gas to be stored at a much lower pressure by keeping it in a material essentially made out of corncobs turned into charcoal briquettes. Early tests of the tank on a natural-gas pickup truck have worked well, according to researchers.

Another approach to the problem is economies of scale: If more natural-gas vehicles were sold, it's likely that the costs would come down.

There aren't any large-scale efforts under way to ramp up sales volume of passenger cars. But some natural-gas exploration and production companies have agreed to replace thousands of their existing pickup trucks used in the field with vehicles running on compressed natural gas, a form of the fuel popular in smaller vehicles.

Following discussions with the American Natural Gas Association, an industry group, Chrysler Group LLC said this year it will build at least 2,000 heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks that run on both CNG and gasoline. General Motors Co. GM -0.04%said it would offer similar vehicles in its GMC Sierra and Silverado lines.

Proponents also think a big part of the upfront-cost problem is perception: People, they argue, don't realize how much natural gas can save them over the life of the vehicle. With a gallon of gasoline hovering around $4 in many parts of the country, the comparable amount of natural gas can cost about half as much at current prices.

Still, you may need to drive quite a while to make it pay off. Consider this analysis by Prof. Knittel of MIT: Assume a CNG-fueled car costs $5,500 more than its gasoline counterpart, and assume a $1.40-per-gallon price advantage for CNG. Given that, he says, it could take more than nine years before the car owner broke even.

That's hard for the average car buyer to swallow. "The average person discounts any fuel savings beyond three years," says Kathryn Clay, executive director of the Drive Natural Gas Initiative, a program funded by natural-gas producers and gas utilities.

Reinventing the Pump
Regardless of how big and bulky the fuel tank, if you can't find a CNG station in your neighborhood, you're not going anywhere. Of the 1,500 stations available in the U.S., only about half are accessible to the public; the rest are reserved for fleet vehicles. That's a tiny fraction of the 118,000 public gasoline stations spread coast to coast.

CloseKwik Trip
.A number of companies are currently setting up new fueling stations. These are on a very limited scale and serve mostly fleet vehicles, but some stations are in prominent public places, and advocates hope they'll spark consumer interest in the vehicles. Apache Corp., APA -0.31%for instance, built a CNG refueling station at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport to service a small fleet of CNG parking shuttles that the City of Houston operates.

The big barrier to setting up stations on a broad scale is cost. The average cost for building a gasoline station and convenience store in the U.S. was about $2.3 million in 2010, according to data compiled by the National Association of Convenience Stores. Adding the compressor and storage tanks needed for a CNG station can drive up the price by as much as $500,000—assuming the station can even hook into a natural-gas distribution pipeline. That's a big investment when few people are filling up their tanks with natural gas.

CNG vehicle owners also have an in-home fueling option—an appliance called the Phill. About the size of a large upright vacuum cleaner, the Phill can be installed on the wall of a garage with access to a 240-volt, 15-amp electrical circuit and a natural-gas line. A flexible hose plugs into the car and fills it up over the course of about six hours.

So far, there hasn't been a lot of consumer interest, largely because of the steep price tag: about $4,000, not including installation charges. (Why the price disparity between the in-home gadget and the one used at filling stations? The Phill is significantly slower and can't handle multiple vehicles at once.)

Ms. Clay, of the Drive Natural Gas Initiative, says her group has surveyed some 40 companies to see if they'd be interested in developing a lower-cost in-home system. About a dozen expressed interest. "It we can get the units down to $1,000 to $1,500 and reliability over four to five years, it would probably be a game changer for the consumer market," Ms. Clay says.

Pietro Bersani, chief financial officer of Fuel Systems Solutions Inc., manufacturer of the Phill, says the company has been able to drive down the cost of the units by about 30% in recent years, but it will take more orders to help prices fall further.

That's why the company will look to launch more programs like the one it just started with utility Atlanta Gas Light Co.: Natural-gas-vehicle owners can have a Phill installed in their garage free by agreeing to a five-year lease at $60 per month.

Reinventing the Fuel
Some in the industry are tackling the natural-gas transportation challenge another way—by turning natural gas into a fuel that could be used in cars with conventional engines and pumped at regular filling stations. The trouble, once again, is cost. The technology to turn natural gas into a low-sulfur diesel fuel was developed long ago in Nazi Germany, but it continues to be an expensive process that has limited its success.

Last year, Royal Dutch Shell RDSB.LN -0.88%PLC opened its massive Pearl Gas-to-Liquids project in Qatar. The nation has substantial natural-gas resources—much more than its utilities need—so the government wanted to find a use for the excess fuel. The project now produces enough diesel from natural gas per day to fuel 160,000 cars as well as additives for jet fuel and feedstocks for a wide range of other products. But the project wasn't cheap, at $18 billion.

Shell is considering a similar plant in Louisiana, where it hopes to draw upon the abundance of U.S. natural gas and take advantage of the full range of other Shell businesses in the region that might benefit from the plant's output. That project could cost up to $10 billion, but the company hopes lessons learned from building Pearl will help keep those costs down.

Dallas-based chemical firm Celanese Corp. CE +1.04%has started to produce fuel-grade ethanol as a substitute for the corn-based ethanol from a plant in Clear Lake, Texas. But the company doesn't expect commercial-scale production in the near future.

In Silicon Valley, Siluria Technologies Inc. has figured out how to turn natural gas into ethylene, a feedstock that can be used to make a wide range of fuels and other products. The technique involves a genetically engineered virus that coats itself with a metal that serves as a catalyst.

Siluria President Alex Tkachenko says it remains a laboratory-scale process for now, however, and won't be commercial anytime soon.

Reinventing the Driver
Beyond the chemical, mechanical and economic challenges of getting natural gas into the vehicle fleet, there are psychological barriers. The average person doesn't think about natural gas when thinking of alternative vehicles, says Mike Omotoso, senior manager for LMC Automotive U.S., a research firm. "They might think of diesels, but they mainly think of gas-electric hybrids or plug-in electrics. They just aren't aware of natural gas."

Much of how the public will react is unknown. Will there be safety fears? Will people be willing to use the same fuel that heats their houses to run their cars? There's no wide-scale effort to answer those questions.

The arguments that will win over buyers aren't clear either. Honda used the cleaner-emissions pitch when its Civic GX came on the U.S. market in 1998, says Brad Johnson, corporate fleet director with Pacific Honda in San Diego. Now, he says, buyers seem more interested in saving at the pump and using a fuel produced in the U.S. Honda is also promoting the fact that CNG vehicles can drive in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on California freeways.

Even though consumers are slow to adopt natural-gas passenger vehicles, at least a few gas retailers are optimistic that if they build it, drivers will come.

Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores, of Oklahoma City, plans to open 10 retail outlets with CNG pumps this summer, thanks to a partnership with Chesapeake Energy.

And Kwik Trip Inc., an operator of gas stations and convenience stores, opened its first CNG station aimed at passenger-car drivers in La Crosse, Wis., this spring, with plans for several more.

"It's attractive to customers because it's a domestic product, there's a steady supply, and the price is right," says John McHugh, Kwik Trip's communications manager. "If we can offer the consumer a value, we know people will jump on the bandwagon."

Mr. Fowler is a Wall Street Journal staff reporter in Houston. He can be reached at tom.fowler@wsj.com.


NFL QB Drew Bledsoe Stumps for Frack Wastewater Recycling Company

March 25, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

MDN does not often run press releases from companies that service the drilling industry (supply chain stuff) unless there’s something newsworthy about it. We’ve just run across one such press release, from a company called Ecosphere that produces a technology to allow oil and gas companies to recycle drilling wastewater. The “new and different” thing about Ecosphere is not necessarily their technology, but instead the news is about who’s promoting it: former NFL superstar quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

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Judge Refuses to Recuse Himself from Range v Robinson Twp Case

March 19, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Last week MDN told you about the lawsuit filed by Range Resources against Robinson Township (Washington County), PA for rejecting their request to build two drill pads in the township (see Range Takes Robinson Twp, PA to Court over Permit Rejections). Range has asked the judge in the case, John F. DiSalle, to recuse himself from the case because his wife, Diane DiSalle, is a big-time anti-driller. Unfortunately for Range, the judge has said “no”…

 

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Recent Study on Shale Gas Development and Surface Water Quality Conducted in Pennsylvania


March 17, 2013, Penn State Extension

A large-scale study of the extent to which shale gas development activities affect surface water quality was done by Resources for the Future

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Latest Fed Beige Book Credits Shale with Economic Expansion

March 8, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News

 Two days ago the Federal Reserve released their bi-monthly survey of regional economic trends, called “the Beige Book.” One of the stars in the current edition of the Beige Book (full copy embedded below) is the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Shale drilling is mentioned prominently for Region III (Philadelphia) and Region IV (Cleveland).

 To Read More


Western PA Company’s “2 Keys to Success” in Selling to Drillers

March 7, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News

A Washington County, PA manufacturer of parts used in drilling oil and gas wells is highlighted in an article in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It’s an interesting story that focuses mostly on two sisters who have taken over and successfully expanded the family business. We enjoy these kinds of “human interest” stories. However, buried deep down in the story is a short section that reveals two things the sisters did that may benefit other businesses in the Marcellus and Utica Shale supply chain.

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 Berkshire's BNSF Railway to Test Switch to Natural Gas

March 5, 2013, The Wall Street Journal,  Russell Gold


BNSF Railway Co., one of the biggest U.S. consumers of diesel fuel, plans this year to test using natural gas to power its locomotives instead.

If successful, the experiment could weaken oil's dominance as a transportation fuel and provide a new outlet for the glut of cheap natural gas in North America.

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Obama names Moniz to Energy Dept, McCarthy to EPA

March 4, 2013, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Andrew Gretchko,

Earlier today, President Obama nominated Ernest J. Moniz to the head of the Energy Department and selected Gina McCarthy to lead the EPA. The two appointments await the approval of the Senate.

 

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 Penn State Launches 2 More Marcellus Initiatives for Businesses

March 4, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

Penn State University loves the Marcellus Shale. In addition to operating the Marcellus Center for Outreach & Research and the Shale Education and Training Center (ShaleTEC), Penn State is offering two new Marcellus-related services: a shale energy seminar and supply chain services for businesses:

 

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 Pittsburgh Driller & Gas Utility Co Want to Swap Assets

March 1, 2013, Marcellus Drilling News,

In a complex deal submitted to regulators last year, Marcellus driller and midstream company EQT Corp. and gas utility company Peoples Natural Gas want to do a swap. EQT proposes to trade/sell its natural gas utility division, called Equitable Gas, to Peoples, and in return EQT would get not only $720 million but also gas pipelines and storage facilities—called the Allegheny Valley Connector—from Peoples.

 

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Community Bank is an independent, full service commercial bank serving Southwest Pennsylvania in Greene, Washington, Allegheny and Fayette counties.