Pittsburgh, Pa. – Last week, West Chester-based Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) member company Schramm, Inc. formally unveiled its new, cutting-edge T500XD Telemast drill rig. This made-in-Pennsylvania “walking, talking” and easily-movable rig is yet another example of how safe, job-creating natural gas production is Powering an American Renaissance.

This from Schramm’s press release:

This rig sets a new standard with full 360 degree walking portability for fast moves from hole to hole without the traditional limits of two axis pad mounted designs.

The T500XD also talks by offering full communication interface connectivity to third party data acquisition providers that utilize the internet or dedicated satellite communications systems to remote operation centers in multiple locations.

Specifically designed for horizontal and directional drilling to a total depth of 15,000 ft. or more, the Schramm T500XD can precisely control weight on bit without relying on drill collars and gross string weight alone.

It offers best in class 35,000 ft-lbs of top head torque, third party directional steering interface and 80,000 lbs. of hydraulic pulldown capacity to take full advantage of expanding shale play opportunities worldwide.

Extending Schramm’s leadership role in pipe handling automation, this rig includes an integral LoadSafe XD system that can handle 24 inch diameter Range III tubulars weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Drill pipe is racked in the horizontal position for easy loading and offloading, dramatically improving operator safety.

release

Click HERE to view additional photos of the rig.

MSC CEO Kathryn Klaber commented on this recent announcement:

“As the natural gas industry evolves, our member companies continue to shatter production rates through leveraging innovative technologies all while protecting our environment and ensuring safety. Supply chain success stories like Schramm’s, which are cascading across the entire state of Pennsylvania, demonstrate the positive economic impact that our industry is having now and will have for generations to come.”

Indeed, Schramm’s new rig further underscores the fact that American manufacturing is coming roaring back thanks to safe natural gas development. And as President Obama laid out in his State of the Union Address, “Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.” To learn more, visit Schramm’s website; and click HERE to read about other MSC member company supply chain success stories.

Pittsburgh, Pa. – As The Economist reports in a cover story series focused on American competitiveness, the safe development of domestic natural gas represents a “Deep sigh of relief” for our nation economically. For its part, the Marcellus Shale Coalition is reaching “out to the community” about the tremendous “potential and prosperity” associated with the responsible development of clean-burning American natural gas. And as NPR reports this week, this tightly-regulated development “has led to an economic boom” across Pennsylvania, especially for rural farmers.

Here’s what they’re saying, which explains, as National Journal reports, “Why the White House Loves Natural Gas” – just as the American people do.

HOMEGROWN NATURAL GAS: A POTENT ECONOMIC ENGINE

  • “Shale Drilling Changes Prospects for American Dream”: Once a dairy farmer, then a construction worker who waited tables at night, George Laird, 67, dreaded the day he would have to sell off sections of his 159-acre farm in Auburn Twp. in order to retire. Now that several Marcellus Shale wells are pulling gas from beneath his property, he is making enough money to save for his children’s retirement. “I think everyone dreams of getting a lottery ticket that would win a million dollars,” he said, flipping through pages of royalty stubs. “This is so much better than a lottery ticket because you’re winning every month.” Marcellus Shale development in Susquehanna County has helped the lucky and the shrewd achieve aspects of the American Dream that might otherwise have been outside their reach: large landowners are holding on to their property and profiting from it, entrepreneurs are starting businesses or expanding them and leaseholders are retiring comfortably a few years early. (Independent Weekender, 3/20/13)
  • Marcellus Shale Supply Chain Benefits “Are Easy to See”: Driving through the south-western corner of the state, the benefits of this “shale gale” are easy to see. New roofs, fences, barns and tractors have sprouted on many local farms; plenty of shiny new pick-up trucks ply the roads. By one estimate, Pennsylvanians who allow drilling on their land earned some $1.2 billion in royalties last year. Suburban office parks are proliferating outside Pittsburgh, the biggest city in the area, with space being snapped up by oil firms, their suppliers and subcontractors, lawyers and environmental consultants. Even the most basic restaurants are overflowing at lunchtime, a local complains. … Cheap gas is also translating into cheap electricity, since America’s marginal power supplies tend to come from gas-fired plants. … Indeed, cheap energy is cited as one factor by those who predict a manufacturing renaissance in America. (The Economist, 3/16/13)
  • NBC News: “Energy Boom Dawning in America”: The newfound [domestic oil and natural gas] resource is so much bigger than anticipated that it can help drive economic growth nationwide for years to come. … Thanks to the new drilling techniques, an estimated 2,200 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas in the U.S. – or a century’s worth – and billions of barrels of oil are now believed to be locked in rock formations, spanning from California to Pennsylvania, according to the EIA. … The already-low natural gas prices and anticipated decline in oil prices have many analysts projecting a ripple effect that will energize the long-moribund U.S. manufacturing sector. The Citigroup report, for examples, lists more than 30 companies expanding capacity in the U.S. because of cheaper energy. (NBC News, 3/18/13)
  • United States Steel CEO: Thanks to Shale Gas, “Manufacturing Renaissance Underway”: As a result of this new supply source and our ability to extract it safely and economically, there is a renaissance under way in the manufacturing sector. It is propelled by the availability and competitive pricing of natural gas. Electric utilities, industrial users including refiners, chemicals, steel, and the transportation sector, and households are all turning to natural gas as a clean and cost effective energy source. … The energy sector has been a rare bright spot for us during a challenging period of economic recession and slow growth in the rest of the economy. (Congressional testimony, 3/21/13)
  • Safe Marcellus Development Fostering Community Bank Growth: The stable, if long sleepy, country bank has grown fast over the past four years, fueled by Marcellus Shale royalty deposits and related economic activity in the counties where it does business. One of the bank’s challenges has been lending out the money that comes in – the chief way banks earn money. … Craig Best, chief executive officer at Penn Security, called Peoples a well-run, solid institution. While bankers don’t welcome new competition, he said it will be good for customers and the area economy. “This provides competition, keeps loan rates low, and makes money available where it the community needs it,” he said. (Scranton Times-Tribune, 3/15/13)
  • Shell CEO: Natural Gas the “Most Straightforward Way to a Cleaner Future”: “The world needs to follow America’s lead and take full advantage of the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, and that’s natural gas,” Peter Voser said. “Increased use of natural gas is the biggest single step that the world can take today to begin reducing” carbon dioxide emissions. (Boston Globe, 3/22/13)
  • Economic “Ripple From Pa.’s Marcellus Shale Boom” Hits Northampton Co.: Forks Township will soon feel a small ripple from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale boom. To keep up with growing demand for natural gas, Columbia Gas Transmission has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to add roughly 16 miles of new pipeline in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey that will require an significant upgrade to the company’s compressor station on Klein Road. The new pipeline will stretch from Chester County to New Jersey, helping to fuel a planned natural gas-fired power plant. (Allentown Morning Call, 3/14/13)
  • Consumer Advocate: New England Families, Businesses “Need Greater Natural Gas Access”: The recent natural gas exploration and production boom has led to growing natural gas supplies, resulting in lower natural gas prices and lower energy costs. These lower prices have led to increased electricity generation from gas-fired generators in New England, nearly tripling from 15% in 2000 to 42% in 2012. … Given the myriad of regulatory policies and legislative initiatives that have saddled New Englanders with the highest electricity rates in the country and have hurt our manufacturing base, we need access to reliable and more affordable energy supplies. Expanding the natural gas pipelines in the region will provide it. (Fosters Daily Democrat op-ed,3/18/13)
  • New IHS Study: “Marcellus Now Largest U.S. Natural Gas Producing Play”: Recent pipeline expansions have helped the Marcellus shale play reach a production rate above 7 billion cubic feet (BCF)/day; surpassing the Haynesville shale to become the largest gas producing play in the U.S., according to a new HIS report. … Despite the overall decline in activity, the Marcellus still has more gas-directed rigs running than any other U.S. play. Activity has remained strong in the top five counties — Bradford, Lycoming, Susquehanna, Tioga and Washington. Except for Washington County, the other four counties are located in the dry gas window in the northeast section of the state. (Release, 3/18/13)
  • “IHS: Marcellus Shale Producing More Than 7 bcfd”: Recent pipeline expansions have helped the Marcellus shale play reach a production rate of more than 7 bcfd to become the largest US gas-producing play, according to a new IHS Herold Marcellus Shale Company Play Analysis. … In a separate report last year,Fitch Ratings said anticipated growth in Marcellus gas production likely will mean more long-term business for US midstream companies, Fitch analysts forecast Marcellus production during the next 5 years will grow to more than 10 bcfd. (Oil & Gas Journal, 3/18/13)
  • Natural Gas Ushers in a Rust Belt Manufacturing Rebirth: U.S. Glass hopes to begin hiring this spring at the soon-to-be-restarted Fenton Art Glass factory in Williamstown, W.Va. … Natural gas is a significant part of a glassmaker’s cost. In one way of looking at it, for an item with a lot of hand labor in it, gas might be 5 percent of the cost, Bem said. For a highly automated item, it’s 10 to 25 percent. But that really understates it, he said, because it assumes the ovens are used 24 hours per day, 365 days per week. … Cheap gas is a big advantage — and forecasts say the new technologies that have made shale gas accessible mean the U.S., and this region, will have that for decades to come. A glass plant in eastern Europe pays nearly 10 times for gas what Bem expects to pay in West Virginia. “There’s gas here,” he said, “and there’s not gas in Verona, Italy, in Shenzhen, China or in Mexico City, Mexico. Competitors in those places don’t have the structural advantage of having supply literally under their feet — that’s why Williamstown, W.Va. turns out to be a great place to employ a lot of people.” (State Journal, 3/14/13)
  • “Experts Project Vast Growth for Natural Gas Economy”: Experts say West Virginia’s natural gas economy could see nearly six-fold growth by 2035 and revive the state’s struggling manufacturing and chemical sectors. While the state’s natural gas industry has grown in recent years, driven by development in the Marcellus shale region, American Petroleum Institute executive vice president Marty Durbin says the industry has only just begun scratching the surface. (Charleston Daily Mail, 3/20/13)

CLEAN, AMERICAN NATURAL GAS: POWERING TRANSPORTATION

  • “PUC Chair ‘Extremely Bullish’ on Natural Gas Vehicles”: Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman Robert Powelson came to Bucks County Friday to champion the widespread adoption of natural gas vehicles. Powelson…said Pennsylvania stands to be a leader in compressed natural gas, or CNG, because of the abundance of natural gas in the state and a growing infrastructure that supports such vehicles. “We have an opportunity here in Pennsylvania,” he said, with the Marcellus Shale gas formation and money available from gas drilling impact fees for CNG vehicles and stations. Compressed natural gas is heralded as a cheaper, cleaner fuel for vehicles. … “I’m extremely bullish on the use of CNG vehicles,” he said. “The economics are here. The energy source is here.” (Courier Times, 3/17/13)
  • “EQT Corp. Adds to Natural Gas Station in Strip District; Customer Demand Rising Quickly”: Part of EQT Corp.’s effort to increase demand for the natural gas that it’s extracting from the Marcellus Shale appears to be paying off. The Downtown-based gas driller announced Wednesday it was adding a fueling island to its compressed natural gas (CNG) station in the Strip District. Construction already is under way to add two fuel dispensers to the site’s current six. … CNG has fewer emissions that traditional gasoline and is cheaper — the CNG at the Strip District station costs $1.89 per equivalent gallon of regular gasoline. … EQT said four customers make up nearly half of its business at the Strip District site: the City of Pittsburgh, UPMC, Paragon Foods and Veterans’ Taxi. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/21/13)
  • “EQT Expanding Natural Gas Fueling Station”: Business has been brisk enough at EQT Corp.’s natural gas fueling station on Smallman Street that it is adding another fueling island. Construction is under way on the addition, EQT said in a release. “EQT’s fueling station has experienced consistently increasing customer interest and sales since its inception,” David Ross, vice president of demand development, said in a prepared statement. “We knew we’d be expanding at some point, but we were ahead of schedule at just 18 months of operation.” (Pittsburgh Business Times, 3/20/13)
  • American Shale Gas “Could Transform Transportation”: What to do with the natural gas glut produced by the U.S. fracking boom? One answer: Planes, trains and automobiles. … “The use of liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel is a potential transformational change for our railroad and for our industry,” Matthew Rose, chief executive of the railroad controlled by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said. (Quartz, 3//14/13)

Today, two western Pennsylvania small business owners took their success stories to Washington, DC, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. At today’s hearing – titled “America’s Onshore Energy Resources: Creating Jobs, Securing America, and Lowering Prices” – Paul Battista (an MSC member) and Frank Puskarich spoke of the economic and broader community benefits tied to the safe production of clean-burning American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

As small business owners – the backbone of the American economy – their companies, like so many others across the region, continue to experience tremendous growth and success, buoyed by Marcellus Shale development. Here’s a glance at what they said about the job-creating natural gas industry, which is Powering an American Renaissance.

Paul Battista, SunnySide Supply, Inc., Washington, Pa.
Testimony:

  • For 27 years my wife & I have tried to build a supply business that would give us a great income and provide for our families. … We decided to re-focus our business and products to the O&GI in early 2008. … In 2008 we had 5 employees including my wife & me. Sales revenue was at $1.1 million. From there it exploded! In 4 years we had a total of 15 people working at SunnySide, including both of our children Lisa & John with sales revenue over $5 million.
  • We have more employees now and we can now pay a higher family sustaining wage! We have people working for us that are the primary bread winner in their house hold. These employees get good benefitsand a great work environment.
  • Now with the [oil and gas industry] in our area we have a bright future to keep our children here where they were raised. South Western PA is a great place to raise a family. When we talk with people from TX, LA, AK, KY, NM and others that have come here to work. … This industry is giving people a place to call home by providing great job opportunities at all skill levels and professions.
  • I will say this; the industry is made of professional engineers, geologist, scientist, safety and production people that want to get it right. They are continually making changes to their process to improve safety and efficiencies. … I believe they do strive for perfection and to make it safe. The Marcellus Shale Coalition is an organization of Producers, Midstream & Service companies that have worked to develop “Best Practices” in all aspects of the industry to protect the workers and the environment. They have a set of Guiding Principles that each member embraces and lives by each & every day. They also are committed to educating the public about the O&GI and provide a Jobs Portal on their website marcelluscoalition.com.
  • I support exploration of tight shale oil & gas if for no other reason than to be able to get the USA off of foreign oil. … We need leaders who want to make Americans proud again. Our natural gas resource will give us a product that we can trade with other friendly nations who believe in Democracy. As you can tell, I could talk about this industry all day long and how it has helped people. It has been good to my immediate family, our brothers & sisters that own farm land, our business & our community.

Frank Puskarich, Hog Father’s Old Fashioned BBQ, Washington, Pa.
Testimony:

  • As a lifetime resident of the region, I see natural gas development, particularly the Marcellus Shale, as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for clean energy, economic growth and national energy security. The impacts of the natural gas industry are far reaching, already employing more than 250,000 Pennsylvanians.
  • I’ve been in business since the natural gas activity in the Marcellus Shale took off years ago, and I personally see that there has been a multi-billion dollar impact seen in all aspects of the state’s economy. And simply put, this is the best thing that’s happened to me and my company
  • When I opened in May 2007 I had 15 employees on staff and sales of just over $10,000 per week. Last week, my company with 3 locations and 75+ employees did well over $70,000 and there is a good chance that this year we will break $4 million in sales.
  • [M]y food supplier has…reported just under a 400% increase in our case purchases per week from 2010 to the end of 2012. … [T]he Natural Gas Industry have allowed me to recruit, train, and compensate better management and service employees. Each of my unit managers is now given a salary and benefits packageearning them over $71,000 per year. I also provide at no cost to them complete health and dental care including their families. I am also able to pay an hourly rate for the kitchen staff that is well over 65% higher than the minimum wage rate.
  • Everyday a new local business appears. … There are new clothing business opening that specialize in protective apparel and boots required to work the natural gas industry. Closed gas stations are re-opening and offering on the way food and supplies. Auto repairs shops are springing back up. Several years back I could walk in and get my hair cut. Now I have to take a seat and wait my turn. Independent hardware stores in the area are also remodeling and upgrading their inventories. People are fixing and remodeling their recently purchased homes and apartments. Rental property owners are doing the same.
  • Washington County, Pennsylvania is thriving in so many aspects that it never was before. Thanks to this industry, our region’s economy is stronger that ever before. … Natural gas can help to solve so many problems for America– clean air, energy security, and economic growth. And I know this because I’m seeing it happening in my own hometown.

For updates about safe, job-creating American natural gas development, please follow us on Twitter (@MarcellusGas) and like us on Facebook. And if you, or your friends and neighbors, have natural gas-related questions, please visit LearnAboutShale.org.

Clean, affordable, safely-produced American natural gas is not only helping to lower taxes and energy bills, but it’s also providing our tremendous source of job and career opportunities for Pennsylvanians. In short, this historic opportunity is a job-creating, economy-boosting machine that’s Powering an American Renaissance.

Union, non-union, industry-based, or ancillary – the safe, responsible shale gas production is fueling a groundswell of jobs across the Commonwealth and beyond. This week, in fact, the Marcellus Shale Coalition partnered with labor unions throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, focused on identifying opportunities to continue to work closely together [click HERE view photos of that event on our Facebook page].

And in northeastern Pennsylvania, several of our member companies – including Cabot Oil & Gas and Chesapeake Energy Corp. – are working with Lackawanna College to help train students and equip them with the background these need for careers in the natural gas industry

Yesterday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review underscores the positive, job-creating impact of safe Marcellus Shale development, especially for local unions:

About 1,600 of the 30,000 laborers, pipefitters, electricians and operators in the Pittsburgh Regional Building and Construction Trades Council’s territory work for Marcellus or Utica shale natural gas producers, Pennsylvania produces about 10 percent of the nation’s gas supply, said Dave Spigelmyer, chairman of the [MSC]. The industry has created about 234,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, state figures show, and the coalition estimates 93 percent of recent hires are from the state or nearby states in the Appalachian Basin. Unions “are doing better on the west side (of the state) than the east side,” [Rich Stanizzo, Pittsburgh Regional Building and Construction Trades Council business manager and chairman of the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania] said, with pipeline companies such as MarkWest Energy Partners LP employing union workers. … “We’re getting more opportunities,” said Daniel Rains, general manager for business development, adding that while drilling has slowed, construction of infrastructure needed to transport and process gas remains strong.

Also this week, Wilkes-Barre’s WBRE-TV reports that Scranton-based Lackawanna College announced a new School of Petroleum and Natural Gas at its New Milford location, adding that the degree “helps narrow the center’s focus to something that’s important in the community.” We agree, and this from that news report:

Because of the Marcellus Shale Industry, College officials have decided to narrow the focus at their New Milford Campus and offer two associate of science degrees related to the industry. “These associate of science degrees that we have, focused only on petroleum and natural gas and compression are applicable to all the oil and gas fields in the [U]nited [S]tates, so these students can work in Ohio, West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma.” said Ri[c]hard Marquardt, Executive Director of Lackawanna College. … A large majority of the college’s students, 70-percent, were already hired by gas companies right out of school because of their training.  “Our closest partners locally, like Cabot and Williams and Chesapeake and [T]alisman, they like the idea. They’re supportive of it. They’re involved in our curriculum.” noted Marquardt. … With the help of Cabot Oil & Gas, the school has even put together a promotional video to help market the new school of petroleum and natural gas.

E&E News also reports on Lackawanna College’s new natural gas training program:

Faculty for the school’s energy programs aim to train students for a small set of high-demand jobs in the nearby oil and gas fields. The college boasts a roughly 90 percent job placement rate for its 50-student classes, Marquardt said. Its petroleum and natural gas degrees, which started about five years ago, prepare students for work as well tenders and technicians who must be intimately familiar with the equipment that keeps oil and gas flowing to market for years after drilling rigs have departed. … In the case of Pennsylvania’s gas-rich Marcellus Shale, where most Lackawanna graduates go to work, jobs … could be around for 35 to 50 years, said Cabot spokesman George Stark. “As long as the well’s producing, you’re going to need someone out there tending to the well. … It’s just a wonderful situation for the college, for the students and for industry to have that quick ability to exchange information and showcase what we’re doing, what our needs are,” he said.

Interested in joining the growing natural gas industry? Click HERE to visit our online Job Portal to search for exciting opportunities across our region.

A year ago this week, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) launched an online business directory – Marcellus on Main Street – to further connect small businesses across the region with the growing and robust natural gas supply chain. Spurred by feedback from local chambers of commerce, whose members were interested in servicing and supporting the Marcellus Shale industry, the MSC worked with local web development firm Quest Fore to build a comprehensive and interactive web-based portal aimed at further leveraging the job-creating opportunities associated with safe shale development.

Ranging from barber shops, restaurants, realtors and hotels, to ATV rentals, chiropractors and video production firms, Marcellus on Main Street is the first online business directory to connect small- and mid-sized businesses with employees and natural gas-related companies across Appalachia.

To date, more than 1,400 business and more than 1,700 locations have registered with the directory, providing MSC member companies and their employees a one-stop online resource for goods and services. And in effort to raise awareness of the online directory, the MSC hosted “vendor education symposiums” in partnership with the following organizations:

  • African American Chamber of Western PA, Minority Supplier Development Councils
  • Beaver County Chamber, Washington County Chamber, Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber, Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber
  • Catalyst Connection
  • Clearfield County Economic Development Corp, Ridgway Main Street, Titusville Economic Development Corporation
  • NE Energy Task Force
  • Tri-County Oil and Gas/Washington County Energy Partners
  • Women’s Business Enterprise Council

“Marcellus on Main Street has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for businesses looking to identify Marcellus-related opportunities,” said MSC CEO Kathryn Klaber. “Partnering with local chambers and other economic development-focused organizations across the Commonwealth has provided small- and mid-sized businesses with an outlet to market themselves in a cost-effective and highly-targeted way. We thank those organizations who helped us get this project off the ground and appreciate those companies who have registered their businesses with the directory over the past year.”

One company, Washington County-based Creative Visions Media Group, was identified through the Marcellus on Main Street directory and recently completed a project for an MSC member company Valerus.

“Marcellus on Main Street is a great resource not only for networking within the natural gas industry, but also for connecting local vendors with new business opportunities,” said Amy Taylor, Owner of Creative Visions Media Group. “In my own experience, Marcellus on Main Street has generated new business for my company through referral to a member who was in need of video production. It is these types of referrals that generate a ripple-effect of many future opportunities. Just one opportunity to offer an immediate marketing and advertising solution has enabled me to grow within the industry by opening doors to new ventures along the way.”

Likewise, Michelle Bogacki – a 26-year member of the Ridgway-Elk County Chamber of Commerce – recognized the importance of connecting local businesses with the natural gas industry. “I was providing connections to our restaurants, shops and hotels, so it was a logical connection to join Marcellus On Main Street,” said Bogacki.

It’s important partnerships like these, with local economic development agencies and chambers of commerce, that have enabled Marcellus on Main Street’s shared successes. Here’s to many more years of success and connections!