Posted in Alternative Energy | Communities | Current Events | Economic Development | Marcellus Shale | Natural Gas by Marty Muggleton (VP Client Development & Marketing) on August 1, 2011
The early part of my career was spent in the field of economic development. For 20 years, I was focused on retaining and creating jobs, and building communities. This work annealed me and fortunately led me to being part of Larson Design Group. I retain a strong understanding of how important job creation is for the health of a region.
Since 2009, I have been involved in a discussion about long-term job creation from Marcellus development. We understand what is happening now. We have an idea as to what part of this activity will continue over the next decade or so. But our discussion has been focused on what will happen that is a result of but separate from Marcellus development. This is looking forward to see economic benefits that are permanent compared to exploration. I haven’t shared these thoughts publicly for fear of setting expectations that are unrealistic or unbelievable. I don’t want to be viewed as a “spin-master” either. That space is full.
On July 3rd, Andy Maykuth of the Philadelphia Inquirer did us a favor. In his article, he gives us a look at the permanence of Marcellus. You might want to read Andy’s work “Intriguing possibility for Pa.’s excess shale gas” Let’s look at three job-creating opportunities that match Andy’s view, and could assure long-term, permanent benefit from Marcellus development:
- Power plants that burn abundant natural gas are real. Two have been proposed. One is in Lycoming County. This would help meet energy needs, add to the real property tax base, use a relatively clean fuel source, and create a bunch of jobs. Project sponsor Moxie Energy estimates 30 operations jobs. You may want to read this item by Williamsport Sun-Gazette reporter Alyssa Murphy – “Natural gas power plants planned locally.”
- Natural gas vehicles in our region are real. River Valley Transit is developing a compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station to serve public and private sector needs. This project was born from dialog at early work sessions of the CNG Focus Group. You can learn more about the project at www.cngfocusgroup.com This project is going to save clients money and act as an operating case study. I think this will lead to a network of CNG stations in our region, saving even more money and burning a relatively clean fuel. If you want an idea of what the savings could be and how quickly a network can expand, read “Giant Eagle opens natural gas fueling station for vehicles” by Alex Nixon who writes for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- I’m not sure it’s probable that our area would capture the first wave of ethane related activity. Marcellus gas in our area doesn’t have significant concentration of ethane as it does in Southwestern PA and West Virginia. Ethane can be converted to ethylene, but transportation expense would be a barrier. Simone Sebastian’s article in the Houston Chronicle entitled “Petrochemicals: It’s not all about Texas” gives an excellent summary. What I would see as probable are manufacturing jobs created in plastic molding, food/beverage processing, chemical products, and metal heat treating. Operations that are heavy energy users would see the region’s natural gas supply and relatively low transmission costs as a competitive advantage. This same advantage should help our existing businesses.
I would judge these as just three of many possibilities to expand the economic base in our region. I expect more to become evident. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.Comments (1) | Permalink | Tags: Alex Nixon, Alyssa Murphy, Andy Maykuth, CNG, CNG Focus Group, Compressed Natural Gas, Energy, Fuel, Giant Eagle, Houston Chronicle, jobs, Lycoming County, Marcellus, Natural Gas, Natural Gas Vehicles, NGV, PA, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, River Valley Transit, Shale, Simone Sebastian
I am keenly interested in what LDG is doing in western Pa.
I’ve been writing about the shale gas boom for a year or so now on my blog and my thoughts parallel yours and the article you linked to from the reporter in Philly.
I’d like to visit some time.