Shale industry's problem: An excess of success
Updated 14 hours ago
Too much success is becoming a problem for Marcellus shale drillers.
Shale formations such as the Marcellus are producing so much natural gas that the nation's gas supply will exceed its demand by 2017, according to research released on Tuesday by Bentek Energy LLC.
The consultant said its models show production in Pennsylvania and Ohio will be eight times larger than the growth in demand during the next 10 years.
“We've had to pull back on some very profitable plays that just a few years ago were supposed to have tremendous growth,” said Justin Carlson, a Bentek analyst and Tuesday's keynote speaker at the 2013 Penn State Natural Gas Utilization Conference. “It is a substantial opportunity for end-users.”
The conference, in its third year, brought about 200 people to the Omni William Penn, Downtown, where Penn State officials and their industry partners could promote increased use of gas. After a full day of presentations, they had propane-fueled buses scheduled to take them to a reception in Market Square, which they filled with a display of natural-gas fueled trucks and vans.
Industry officials and boosters are trying to convince everyone that they can supply the cheap fuel for an energy revolution — if consumers would just prepare to buy it. As much as the Marcellus shale has produced, it's only a lack of buyers that's kept it from producing more, officials and analysts said.
Power plants and manufacturers are using more gas, but the country needs even more infrastructure if its drilling industry is to keep growing. Drillers have had to pull back in 2009 and 2012 as supply increases turned out to be more than the country could use, sending prices crashing, Carlson said.
“There's an education component” in pushing for new gas use, said Matt Henderson, shale gas asset manager at Penn State's Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, which helped organize the conference. “We see it, we're used to it (in Pennsylvania). But around the rest of the country it's still new to a lot of people.”
When consumers start to believe is still a question. Many people in the audience were parts suppliers.
The Elliott Group in Jeannette wants to sell its compressors and turbines to the chemical arm of Royal Dutch Shell plc if it decides to build a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant it's considering for Beaver County, Elliott officials said. If those kinds of developments happen sooner rather than later, it would be a big boost for business, said George Adda, the company's vice president for corporate marketing.
“I think (the new projects) are going to follow,” Adda said. “It's just ‘When?'”
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Energy sector adjusts to global oil plummet
- 2 states, 2 different conclusions about fracking
- Thread of East Liberty morphs bottles into ‘authentic’ products
- Beacons track shoppers’ smartphones amid retailers’ aisles
- Job gains spike in November, but unemployment remains steady
- Natural gas groups says increase in Pennsylvania taxes would bring dire results for economy
- Repsol to buy Canada’s 5th largest oil producer, Talisman Energy
- 3 tips to use up health account funds
- 8 Western Pennsylvania hospitals penalized over infections
- ExOne Co. moves solidify authority under CEO
- Western Pa. utility workers OK contract with FirstEnergy