Tubular mills

At the Wall Street Journal (via NorthcentralPA.com)..."Steel Finds Sweet Spot in the Shale"


WEST MIFFLIN, PA.—The rising fortunes of a massive U.S. Steel Corp. plant here has much to do with what sits below: massive deposits of cheap natural gas.
Shiny coils roll off the line destined for energy companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural-gas formations that rest below much of southwestern Pennsylvania. Production for so-called tubular goods used for pipes, tubes and joints in gas drilling has doubled in two years, says Scott Bucksio, the general manager of the plant in the sprawling Mon Valley Works, as drillers have raced to extract ever-larger amounts of gas from the shale deposits.
As significant, or more so for energy-intensive steelmakers, is that newly plentiful natural gas “is also keeping costs down” said Mr. Bucksio of U.S. Steel.
With prices of natural gas down more than 35% to $2.21 per million British thermal units from a year ago due to abundant supply, the company has begun replacing coal with natural gas to power its blast furnaces...

"Facts are sorely needed."

How Much Natural Gas Does the Marcellus Really Hold?

At the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via MDN):

...Industry critics have accused drilling companies and their allies in the research community of trumping up projections to inflate stock prices and for personal gain.
Federal geologists explained their methodology by phone, saying they were only assessing resources yet to be discovered and not anything currently being tapped. Scientist and project chief Christopher Schenk declined to explain other major differences between estimates from the survey and the private sector, saying his team's assessment stood on its own.
"When we put that out, it's not in any context of anything," Schenk said. "You have to know the methodology used, who funded it and why that assessment was put out. We do not say other assessments are wrong. We say they've been done for other purposes."
Several conference participants, including petroleum engineers, geologists and government officials, criticized federal agencies for not doing more to clear up confusion about the numbers. The conference organizer, Penn State geosciences professor Terry Engelder, conceived the summit, which had about 20 participants, as a way to resolve differences between estimates from federal researchers and academic and private researchers.
Engelder in 2009 projected the Marcellus could produce 489 trillion cubic feet of gas. His paper was not peer-reviewed, but other researchers, working with data from well production and test data from other shale plays, have reaffirmed his estimates, he said.
ICF, an industry consultant based in suburban Washington, estimated a range of 460 to 698 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to a presentation from company vice president Harry Vidas. ICF used maps from five major gas producers, analyzed historical data and modeled well potential...

The Impact of Marcellus Gas Drilling on Rural Drinking Water Supplies

This research looked to provide an unbiased and large- scale study of water quality in private water wells in rural Pennsylvania before and after the drilling of nearby Marcel- lus Shale gas wells. It also looked to document both the enforcement of existing regulations and the use of voluntary measures by homeowners to protect water supplies.
For the study, the researchers evaluated water sampled from 233 water wells in proximity to Marcellus gas wells in rural regions of Pennsylvania in 2010 and 2011. Among these were treatment sites (water wells sampled before and after gas well drilling nearby) and control sites (water wells sampled though no well drilling occurred nearby)...

Home Rule Didn’t Work in PA, So Why Would it in NY?

At Marcellus Drilling News:

DSEC says: “If local home rule does not work in Pennsylvania, it is clear it will not be workable in New York.” (Listen up, NY Republican State Senator James Seward.)

On February 14, Pennsylvania abolished natural gas local home rule and substituted a new statute, 58 PA C.S. 3301 through 3309, effective April 14.  It expressly preempts local home rule of natural gas development across the state.  The new statute covers all existing and future local ordinances regulating oil and gas and mandates that all local ordinances, including zoning, permit reasonable development of oil and gas.
The gas industry has consistently sought uniform regulation throughout Pennsylvania, finding it difficult to work within the patchwork quilt of local regulations.  On April 14, local governments will be prohibited from imposing requirements or limitations on gas operations more restrictive than those placed generally on industrial activities (not just on “heavy” industry).  Section 3304 mandates localities allow, as permitted zoning uses, oil and gas activities, (other than those at impoundment areas, compressor stations and processing plants).
The new statute has teeth to prevent evasion and protect minority interests that have been trampled by runaway activist local governments...
The text of the PA statute can be found on this website here.

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

Ummm—maybe not so much.

Ken Hamilton of the Niagara Gazette wrote in an opinion piece recently

You would think that most of us old-timers remember from elementary school the story of Chicken Little and the sky is falling, but one has to wonder with the latest vote that our city council unanimously passed to prohibit the treatment of frack water within the city limits.
The issues is, at this time, a non-issue; and it should have remained as such until those whom we pay, the Department of Environmental Conservation, presents the science on the issue, instead of what amounted to villagers with sharpened pitchforks and torches aflame with emotion.
Whether I agree with the subject of fracking or not is not the issue. Whereas, sometimes the devil is in the details, most of the time the devil is in the arguments for or against something...
...Here are the facts:
• Natural gas is the preferred means of heating the homes in Niagara Falls, and its cost will rise based on supply and demand curves; and Niagarans already can afford to pay to stay warm.
• There are currently some 2,000 fracking wells in New York state already, mostly in southern and central New York. The city of Auburn has reversed its ban on the treatment of frack water...
There's more—definitely read the whole thing.

Ban on fracking built on irrational fears, not facts

At LoHud.com:

Banning hydraulic fracturing in a town like Dryden, N.Y., is just a bad idea.
Dryden is gripped with irrational fear being whipped up by opportunistic environmental activists. They have led people to believe that their drinking water is at risk from gas development.
That’s not true. The charge ignores the record of 70,000 oil and gas wells that have already been drilled, and have been producing, in New York for a century. Every one of those wells reaches hydrocarbons by way of passing through an aquifer.
(In a recent ruling, State Supreme Court Justice Phillip R. Rumsey held that the town of Dryden in Tompkins County had the right under its zoning law to bar natural gas drilling within its boundaries. — Editor.)
Activists have conflated historical industrial pollution with oil and gas development in order to stir up wild emotions, but it’s wrong. New York has 220 sites listed on EPA’s Superfund and RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act clean up website. Not one of them was caused by oil and gas development. Gowanus and Love Canals happened because of unregulated industrial waste disposal, not because of oil and gas development.
To be sure, environmental risks associated with development are not zero, but they are worth taking...

Abundant, Available, Affordable...

...that's fossil fuels' "triple A rating."

A comment on this column at GlobalWarming.org says:

This week I guest lectured at a university. Trust me, students are eager for this message. They were fascinated to learn about concepts of energy density, load following, scheduling and the overselling of renewable energy. I could tell that the university certainly wasn’t teaching any energy reality.

The column's author, Marita Noon, serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).


“I’m trying to write a paper on why fossil fuels are good. I was wondering if you could help me out with some information? I couldn’t find much information on the Internet because most people seem to think that fossil fuels are evil.”
The aforementioned is from an e-mail a young man named Cooper sent me the day before his paper was due. His father had heard me on the radio and suggested that Cooper contact me. I spent 45 minutes talking with him. Everything I said was a fresh new idea to Cooper. Obviously he was not being taught the complete picture. If Cooper had questions, others probably do, too. Here are the three things I told him that, like Cooper, you may not know, may have forgotten, or just haven’t thought about in a while.
With rising gas prices bringing energy into the debate, and President Obama setting his energy priorities out in his budget, it is important to be aware of some energy realities. Otherwise you may think fossil fuels are “evil,” when, in fact, they provide us with the freedom to come and go, to be and do...


At FoxNews:

...On Tuesday, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu was on the hot seat, when Mississippi Republican Rep. Alan Nunnelee asked if the Department of Energy is actively trying to lower fuel costs.
"Is the overall goal to get our price of gasoline down?" Nunnelee asked.
"No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy," Chu responded...

At Heritage:
...As shocking as his remarks are, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. Chu has a long record of advocating for higher gas prices. In 2008, he stated, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Last March, he reiterated his point in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, noting that his focus is to ease the pain felt by his energy policies by forcing automakers to make more fuel-efficient automobiles. “What I’m doing since I became Secretary of Energy has been quite clear. What I have been doing is developing methods to take the pain out of high gas prices.”
One of those methods is dumping taxpayer dollars into alternative energy projects like the Solyndra solar plant. Another is subsidizing the purchase of high-cost electric cars like the Chevy Volt to the tune of $7,500 per car (which the White House wants to increase to $10,000). In both cases, those methods aren’t working. Solyndra went bankrupt because its product couldn’t bear the weight of market pressures, and Chevy Volts aren’t selling, even with taxpayer-funded rebates. What’s the president’s next plan? Harvesting “a bunch of algae” as a replacement for oil...

And now there's this, at the Detroit Free Press:
General Motors has told 1,300 employees at its Detroit Hamtramck that they will be temporarily laid off for five weeks as the company halts production of the Chevrolet Volt and its European counterpart, the Opel Ampera.
“Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand,” said GM spokesman Chris Lee.
Lee said employees were told Thursday that production would put on hold from March 19 to April 23.
The Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric car, is both a political lightning rod and a symbol of the company’s technological capability.
Chevrolet sold 1,023 Volts in the U.S. in February and has sold 1,626 so far this year.
In 2011, Chevrolet sold 7,671 Volts, but fell short of its initial goal of 10,000...

Why is this so (h/t Chrissy The Hyphenated)?
None of this is really very puzzling, is it?

A look at the Anschutz v. Dryden decision

From MDN:

Last week, New York State Supreme Court Judge Phillip Rumsey ruled that the Town of Dryden has the right to ban gas drilling within its municipal borders (see this MDN story). As MDN pointed out, this is “round one” in the fight for landowner property rights. The Supreme Court in New York is only one step above county court. The Court of Appeals is the highest court in New York State.
Others have weighed in on the Dryden decision, including the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition (DSEC), a pro- but very much safe-drilling group headquartered in Dryden. From the DSEC press release following the decision...


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