Welcome back to The Link-Up, your weekly rundown of our favorite stories from the past seven days in the oil and gas industry!
One thing that's kind of fascinating to me about the oil and gas industry so far is just how often lobbyists, industry people, politicians, and whoever else is in the mood gets everyone together at the local community center to hold a random little talk, because I honestly haven't seen anything quite like it in my background. Granted, most of my background is direct marketing, regular marketing, reporting, and graphic design, so there's not really a ton of community impact to discuss there, and elections aren't terribly influential on any of those things. Still.
Anyway, we're kicking off this week with a few of those. Long story short on this one, the Shell cracker in Beaver County, PA is under construction, and will be for some time yet. Shell took over the property in 2015, above-ground construction began last year, and it will be completed some time in the early 2020s. There are 3000 construction workers on the job now, and that number will eventually double because yikes, this is a big deal.
Martin's Ferry Times Leader
I'm fairly convinced that nobody hosts more industry get-togethers than St. Clairsville, OH and Belmont College, normally the epicenter of Ohio Valley Oil & Gas Association activity, but here seen hosting an Ohio Oil & Gas Association event. There's a lot of interesting information in this one, so I'd encourage a click (and regular readers know I'm pretty honest about that one), but just as a teaser...
In particular, [Claire] Linkhart [of the American Petroleum Institute] looks forward to more natural-gas fired power plants going online. Currently, there are four such plants operating in Ohio, and Linkhart said at least 11 more are slated to be built. She expects those plants to create 14,000 new jobs and to generate 10,000 megawatts of power. She said that is equivalent to $40 billion of natural gas purchases over a 30-year period.
This one has more on the Beaver County cracker, as well as other job-creating developments. But... there's a problem.
Opportunity was an overriding message, among many messages, expressed last week during a workforce forum at the Mon Valley Career & Technology Center in Speers. A panel discussion of regional business leaders, moderated by MVCTC director Neil Henehan, focused on the large number of job opportunities – financially lucrative opportunities – expected to occur throughout Western Pennsylvania and the tri-state. Yet, despite this promising jobs picture, there are projections that there won’t be enough workers to fill the positions.
Sort of a good problem to have in a sense, but still a problem nevertheless. Raise your hand if you thought we'd ever be talking about there not being enough people for the jobs in the Shale Crescent's geography before the fracking boom though.
By the way, the photo on this article is of the newspaper's headquarters building, they couldn't even grab something off the wire I guess. Unless their photography budget is at "hey, go across the street with your phone" levels, that's fair.
Obviously, in our area of the country, natural gas is most of the hog. And the news continues to be fantastic on that front, as natural gas continues to be the fossil fuel of choice in the midst of growing environmental concerns.
By the end of next year, the U.S. will have tripled its LNG export capacity to ~10 Bcf/d, or some 25% of the current global market. We are the emerging LNG supplier, as the U.S. demand markets of electricity, industry, and niche uses like transport will not satisfy our production surge. A domestic surplus of gas makes exports the natural next step, and buyers increasingly covet the shorter and more flexible contracts that we offer. We are inserting liquidity to a longtime overly rigid system that limited new entrants.
Of course, oil isn't doing too shabby either.
Colorado's largest newspaper (I'm assuming, and for whatever that's worth in 2018) has officially come out against Prop 112, and just in time for the mailing of ballots this week. Apparently, a majority of Coloradans vote that way and not through machines on Election Day according to something else I read on the Internet so, uh, thanks for not waiting any longer with that I guess.
I'm not sure whether Colorado just has more legal stuff going on than everyone else right now or if I configured something wrong in my Google Alerts (I'll check on the latter one after I publish this). There's Prop 112 obviously, we got a little into Amendment 74 last week, and now this.
Essentially, the suit (brought by six kids, always good for the old PR optics) came about when the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission refused to enact a rule requiring drillers to prove that they wouldn't harm human health or the environment before issuing a permit. The Commission, essentially, argues that they're allowed to weigh permit application factors however they want, without necessarily treating any one of them as an absolute. So I guess we'll see how the court rules and whether a victory for the plaintiffs opens the gates to some sort of slippery slope.
See you next week!