Skip to comments.Fracking Brings Employment And Economic Revival
Posted on 07/27/2013 5:21:17 AM PDT by Kaslin
Signs of pride and prosperity were evident all over Williamsport and the gorgeous northern Pennsylvania countryside around it. Friendly, happy people greeted us. New cars, trucks, hotels and restaurants sparkled in a clean, bustling downtown. New roofs topped barns and houses, while late model tractors worked the fields. Former dirt roads are now paved.
Men and women again have high-paying jobs, young people are coming back instead of moving away, their salaries are supporting other businesses and jobs, and many are taking college programs in oilfield technical and business specialties, Vince Matteo told me. As president and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce, hes witnessed the transformation.
98 percent of the change has been positive, he says. Contributions to United Way are increasing each year, county infrastructure has improved enormously, and environmental impacts are minimal.
Visits to several Anadarko Petroleum drilling and fracking sites explained why. The operations are far more high-tech than what I had seen previously on rigs in the Rocky Mountains, off the Louisiana and California coasts, and last fall in Albertas oil sands region. Hydraulic fracturing was first employed in Kansas in 1947. But steadily improved fracking technology is now combined with computers, down-hole sensors and microseismic instruments. Drilling equipment, lets crews send a bit 6,000 feet down and 8,000 feet laterally into Marcellus Shale formations and end up within three feet of their intended target!
The operations are conducted from atop a multi-layered felt and impermeable plastic pad, surrounded by a berm, to keep unlikely spills from contaminating farm and forest land. Multiple wells are drilled from a single pad and kicked out horizontally in various directions. The drilling rig is skidded a short distance to four or five more locations around the pad, the entire array is fractured at high pressure, and short wellheads are installed to collect natural gas and send it to local and interstate pipeline networks.
A nearby impoundment is also lined with plastic to hold water for fracturing operations. Topsoil removed to prepare the pad and pond is stored nearby. As operations are finished, the land is reclaimed, topsoil is replaced, and local grasses, flowers and shrubs are planted, to create meadows for deer and wild turkeys - or anything else the landowners prefer. To launch 20-40 years of hydrocarbon production from a 15,000-acre (23-square-mile) area requires barely 2% surface disturbance, most of it for just a few months.
Once the work is completed, the area quietly and unobtrusively produces decades of energy and revenue for farmers, wildlife organizations, hunting groups, and local, state and federal treasuries.
Hydraulic fracturing takes place some 5,500 feet (almost four Empire State Buildings) below the water table. To prevent groundwater contamination, pipe penetrating the first seven hundred feet is surrounded by layers of steel casing and specialized cement. During the drilling and fracturing process, even rainwater collected from the drill pad is saved and used. Some of the water used to fracture the shale is also recovered during gas production; this flowback water itself is filtered, treated and reused.
The hydraulic fracturing process requires some 2.0-4.2 million gallons of water per well, but fresh or brackish water works equally well. A 2013 Ceres study concluded that hydraulic fracturing consumed 75 billion gallons of water per year on average nationwide, in 2011 and 2012. EPA says fracking consumes 70-140 billion gallons a year nationally, and the Texas Water Resources Board estimates that Lone Star State oil and natural gas companies used 27 billion gallons of water for fracking statewide in 2011. However, Texas homeowners used 495 billion gallons for lawns and gardens, the TWRB found (18 times what fracking consumed), and household landscape irrigation nationwide consumes nearly 3 trillion gallons of water annually, according to EPA (21-43 times the EPA and Ceres estimates for hydraulic fracturing).
Even more revealing, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, fracking requires just 0.6 to 5.8 gallons of water per million Btu of energy produced. By comparison, renewable and sustainable corn-based ethanol requires 2,510 to 29,100 gallons per million Btu of usable energy -- and biodiesel from soybeans consumes an astounding and unsustainable 14,000 to 75,000 gallons of water per million Btu!
As to chemical contamination, fracturing fluids are 99.5% water and sand. Moreover, the 0.5% chemicals portion is increasingly basic, nontoxic household or kitchen stuff. Anadarkos chemicals today are only slickeners (to help the sand get further into cracks created by the pressurized water) and biocides that prevent bacterial buildup in the well pipes. Which chemicals are used for any single well in the United States can be determined by going to www.FracFocus.org -- and every EPA, DOE and other study conducted to date has concluded that fracking has never contaminated a single US well.
Hydraulic fracturing has created 1.7 million new direct and indirect jobs in the United States, with the total likely to rise to 3 million jobs over the next seven years, IHS Global Insight reports. It has injected billions into North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other state economies. Its added $62 billion to federal and state treasuries, with that total expected to rise to $111 billion by 2020. By 2035, U.S. oil and natural gas operations could provide over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues.
In the process, fracking has revived Americas petrochemical, steel and other manufacturing industries and reinvigorated American ingenuity and economic competitiveness. One shudders to think how awful the US unemployment, part-time employment and economic picture would be in its absence.
This game-changing technology has also transformed US, EU and global political equations and power structures. With the United States, Argentina, Britain, China, Israel and many other countries collectively sitting atop centuries worth of now economically producible oil and natural gas, OPEC and Russia can no longer control prices and threaten customer nations. For poor developing countries, natural gas from shale provides fuel to generate abundant, affordable electricity that will transform lives.
Then why do Hollywood and radical greens celebrate misleading films like Gasland and Promised Land -- even after Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinneys documentary FrackNation completely demolished Gaslands lies and half-truths? Why do outfits like Food and Water Watch and the Sierra Club, and ill-informed activists like Yoko Ono, continue to scream hysterical nonsense about the process?
Follow the money -- and the ideology. Big Eco is big business, and big egos. It seeks ever more power and ever greater control over our lives. Fracking threatens all of that.
What you get in your mailbox is a never-ending stream of crisis-related shrill material designed to evoke emotions, former National Audubon Society COO Dan Beard once admitted, so that you will sit down and write a check -- or click the Donate Now button. This multi-billion-dollar-per-year industry would collapse without the crisis du jour it conjures up, with help from the news media, politicians and regulators.
Deep Ecology adherents view fossil fuels as evil incarnate, and believe fervently in peak oil and Climate Armageddon. They are frustrated that fracking guarantees a hydrocarbon renaissance and predominance for decades to come, and helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions without massive economic sacrifice.
They also tend to be well-off and clueless about the true sources of modern living standards. They have disturbingly callous attitudes about people who have lost their jobs because of Mr. Obamas war on coal and cheap energy -- and about poor rural New York families that are barely hanging onto their farms, unable to tap the Marcellus Shale riches beneath their land, because Governor Cuomo refuses to lift his moratorium on fracking. Many dont give a spotted owl hoot about the worlds impoverished billions, whose hope for better lives depends on the reliable, affordable electricity that frack gas can help bring.
These shameful attitudes hurt people and planet. We need to frack for a better, cleaner, happier world!
Lycoming County went 66 percent for Romney. Neighboring Sullivan and Bradford counties (also big areas for fracking) went 63 and 62 percent for Romney, respectively. You think Democrats like the idea of Republicans getting all the money? I bet that’s where al lot of this “environmental” concern is coming from. I heard of one largely conservative pentecostal church in Bradford County that had a mortgage burning party thanks to people tithing their royalty checks.
An Energy Department study says chemicals used in oil and natural gas drilling known as "fracking" pose no threat to groundwater, despite popular claims.FRACKNATION: A Journalist's Search For the Fracking Truth
FRACKNATION interviews frackings proponents and foes, as well as government officials and scientific experts, to find the truth behind all the hype about fracking.Fracking Boosts Job Growth, Saves East Coast Oil Refineries
A rebirth of East Coast refineries that utilize the oil drilling method known as fracking is altering the United States energy future.Fracking Is OK, Says Buried Report From New York States Health Department
The release of a conveniently long-lost report showing that fracking is safe puts New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in a tight spot: continue to appease environmentalists by delaying further the development of the rich Marcellus Formation under his state, or letting the free market extract those resources and generate thousands of jobs and millions in revenue to the state."Promised Land": Anti-fracking Propaganda
The story line in the new theatrical release Promised Land is obviously intended to leave audiences with a very dim and scary view of fracking.Firewater and Other Urban Fracking Legends
A movie entitled Gasland claims that natural-gas drilling is polluting both water and air in the United States, even causing water to ignite, but we checked the claims.
That will always be taken with a huge grain of salt when gas is $4 a gal.
Yes, but will gas prices go down?
More employment and improved economics for the area? That must be stopped! How dare anyone improve things without king hussein being in the lead. (From behind of course.)
Reason #1 why Hussein opposes and has waged a war on fracking. The best thing about these jobs is they are good solid middle class jobs, not jobs as fry cooks and Wal Mart greeters that liberals love for people to have. With a good solid job people are less dependent on a check from "0bama's stash", and tend to vote more conservatively.
That’s why Obama and the Leftists at the EPA are doing everything they can to shut it down.
Economic Revival - must be why the 0bama Regime so vehemently opposes it.
You've nailed it, 21st Century Crusader. It's hard to keep a crisis from going to waste if there isn't a big enough crisis. Fracking stands squarely in the way of economic loss, turmoil, pain, and disaster. People who are unemployed or able to find only part-time employment at low wages are much more susceptible to statist serfdom than people who are fully employed and taking home worthy pay checks.
I live in Williamsport. I have seen the economic boost. I helped start operations for a Texas company here.
In my township (run by decent conservatives), they just cut property taxes in half due to the revenue generated from gas industry related businesses establishing operations in the township.
The anti-domestic energy crowd is relentless with their lies and fabrications. They oppose this, but support gov’t wasted green energy programs.
The fact is that oil & gas drilling technology has doubled efficiency in the last 3 years. It took solar and wind over 20 years to double their efficiency.
Will the earnings “go up in smoke” due to obiecare requirements? Will they be forced to cut back to 29 and a half hour work weeks? Nodody, not nobody gets ahead without king hussein approving it. Nobody I tells ya.
We have our cottage in Susquehanna County, the changes are amazing, go over the border to Broome County and see true Appalachia...dead cities and towns drowning in debt.
I would uproot my family (same for ND) for the job possibilities if I weren’t positive that the Obama admin would shut this crap down as soon as we got there...
So when do they come and fix Centralia?
You can still find a lovely home in Williamsport under $50k. Or even half that!
Good article, but it only seems to present the positive. There are some problems with fracking such as natural gas ending up in water wells, etc. Bigger issue to me is that once the gas and oil are gone, they’re gone. It makes you wonder if the people living there and localities are preparing for that day, or simply spending like drunks who found some money in a gutter.
On balance though I think fracking is great. Domestic energy.
Our church paid off a large chunk of its mortgage by selling the gas rights to the property, as well as selling off a portion next to the highway for development. Entire sanctuary and daycare now paid off.
While there were many liberals in the congregation, the ability to switch from “please donate for the mortgage fund” to “let’s replenish the special projects fund to upgrade the playground / gazebo” is a pleasant change.
Sorry, not one case where that has happened. Please don't confuse the Eco-lies with naturally occurring shallow methane entering the water table. This natural occurrence has been happening long before there was a United States. Do an internet search for towns named "Burning Springs".