Welcome back to The Link-Up, your weekly rundown of our favorite stories from the past seven days in the oil and gas industry!
Let's lead off with Colorado and Prop 112 today, as it's been dominating industry headlines for a while now. The election's next week obviously, so make sure you get out and vote, especially if you're there, but anywhere else too of course.
Reasonable people can disagree on a lot of things, even this I suppose, but at the end of the day, if the policy's bad, winning ain't really winning. Here, Michael Lynch points out the difference between science and statistics, causation and correlation, and shows how "linking" fracking to various negative outcomes is a fairly meaningless thing to say.
I decided to throw in something that wasn't a glowingly positive story, because the local news deployed their investigative team on the issue...and things largely held up on our end. Sure, some dispute exactly how many jobs will be impacted, or the overall reach oil and gas has with respect to other industries. But all agree that there are, in fact, a good number of high-paying jobs in jeopardy and that there will be some collateral damage, should 112 pass. How much? In their own words, "it's too early to tell...the ultimate decision about it is now up to voters." I'll call that a win.
While Colorado is an impressive producing state in its own right, it probably is fair to say that the larger implications for others are most of why Prop 112 has received so much attention. And speaking of "bad policy," granting the flexibility of things like "intermittent streams" and local governments' ability to expand the proposed setbacks sounds like it.
I don't know what CNSNews is, so if that's not good enough for you, here's Forbes again to articulate a lot of similar points.
The annual Shale Insight conference went off in Pittsburgh last week, with a new University Showcase - featuring research from, obviously, university students and faculty - a notable piece of the program.
The bulk of the participation came from West Virginia University, with contributors like...
Harrison Loh, a graduate assistant developing new leak sensor technology, as well as ways to synthesize graphene into material for 3D printers and (possibly, down the road) ink
Shawn Grushecky, an assistant professor studying ways to reduce fracking water usage and/or improve retrieval methods, as water usage has skyrocketed with longer laterals being drilled
Payam Kavousi with the WVU Department of Geology, who has developed and tested temperature-sensing software
Graduate assistant Kuan-Ming Huang, who has studied the effects of natural disasters on oil and gas prices, while noting that the Marcellus Shale region is much less susceptible to them than, say, the Gulf Coast
The new head of the EPA was the star speaker at Shale Insight, and promised a new push for deregulation. In his words:
"Our goal is to free you to do what you do best, which is to innovate, create and produce. You have a new champion in the White House."
Amidst all of the election controversy, let's close out with some positivity, with a nice article focusing largely on the coming ethane cracker in Beaver County, PA, as well as a proposed one a bit southwest, on the Ohio River. Spoiler alert: the answer is yes.
Happy All Saints' Day!