With the price of natural gas at the lowest it’s been in years, there has been a lot of talk lately about rig counts in Pennsylvania. Some companies are diversifying where they choose to develop natural gas, moving drilling rigs from areas of dry gas such as what is found in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania and Southern Tier of New York to wet gas in places like Ohio. While some companies are choosing to slow down their development quotas in this region, there are major companies, like Shell Appalachia, moving full speed ahead with major investments across the state. Read on to see how Shell is poised to boost the economy of Pennsylvania in unprecedented ways.
Shell Investing in Tioga County, Pennsylvania
Tioga County, Pennsylvania is known for a lot of things. From the beautiful Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania to rail trails and scenic lakes, it is the epitome of picturesque post cards depicting this great state.
Residents here historically have relatively low per capita and median household incomes at $26,647 and $40,338 respectfully for January 2012. While they started this year with a 5.9% unemployment rate, data suggests most of the workforce falls into the realm of underemployed, meaning people have jobs, but not necessarily sustainable incomes based on their skill set. This could all change fairly quickly for the county as the development of natural gas by Shell Appalachia takes off.
What do we mean by this? Well according to statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and presented by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the average salary of a Marcellus Shale worker is just under $70,000. That’s nearly triple the current per capita income found in Tioga County and with 74 percent of the natural gas labor force in Pennsylvania hailing from the Commonwealth the likelihood of finding a sustainable living close to home is on the rise. In fact this phenomenon is already starting. Here local hire, Bill Langin, explains his employment with Shell in a meeting at Slippery Rock University last month, followed by Scott Bruner discussing economic impacts in Mansfield.
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So how much natural gas activity is expected in Tioga County?
2012 will bring 100-150 new Shell natural gas wells. Much of this will happen in Tioga County. Take a look at this video where Shell’s, Scott Bruner, explains 2012 plans to nearly 250 landowners in Mansfield.
Shell to Build Major “Cracker” Plant in Pennsylvania
Aside from the development of natural gas, Shell is investing in Pennsylvania in a big way by building a new ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. After months of nail biting by state governments in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Shell Chemical LP announced late last week the decided location.
Canonsburg, PA – Marcellus Shale Coalition president Kathryn Klaber issued the following statement on Shell Chemical’s announcement that it will move forward with evaluating a location for a potential ethane cracker in Beaver County, Pennsylvania:
“Today’s announcement by Shell is a win-win for the region’s workforce and economy and further demonstrates the tremendous resource contained in both the Marcellus and Utica shale. While located in Pennsylvania, the supply chain and potential economic impact of this project will span the multi-state region while serving as an anchor in the resurgence of the domestic manufacturing sector.
“As a Beaver County native, it’s particularly gratifying to see that the economic revitalization of the river communities may be just around the corner. This announcement is further indication of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Governor Corbett’s continued work to responsibly develop the Marcellus and expand broad-based economic benefits for all. This is certainly an exciting day for the natural gas industry, this region and the nation.”
Key Points About Shell
With a company poised to make this much of an impact on local communities, it’s important to know a little more about them. Take a look at their three core values of operation below.
Shell is Committed to Following Their Core Values with Safety as Priority #1
Shell has a Goal Zero goal for workers to prevent harm to persons or the environment. They also employ 12 Life-saving rules for employees for which violation can result in employment termination.
Shell is Committed to Local Communities
Shell has been holding town hall meetings in each county where they operate. In the Northern Tier, we’re following Shell’s three part town hall circuit in Tioga County. If you are from the area and interested in learning more about Shell, come out to one of the following events:
March 20 Tioga County Fairgrounds
2258 Charleston Road, Wellsboro, PA
March 27 Mount Zion Retreat Center
287 Zion Road, Roaring Branch, PA
4:00-6:00 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.
**NOTE: Two sessions are being held due to limited space
At these meetings landowners will learn about the company, where development will take place over the next year, and can have any questions answered about Shell’s work to develop natural gas. Shell plans to hold meetings every few months to keep the community informed on what is occurring with their operations in both Butler and Tioga Counties. Scott Bruner discusses Shell’s commitment to Tioga County in the following clip.
Take a look at this video of Kimberly Windon explaining what she hopes attendees take home from the meetings.
Shell is Committed to the Environment
Shell is committed to using 100 percent closed-loop systems and recycling of wastewater.
Shell is committed to being aware of its consumptive water usage and reducing that amount whenever possible.
Shell is committed to protecting and minimizing their impact on the environment through safe, responsible techniques. The following videos discuss the drilling of the well, casing and ground water protection.
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Shell is committed to transparency with landowners and the public through meetings and disclosure of their hydraulic fracturing solutions on FracFocus.org.
We’ll be following Shell to the next two meetings their holding in Tioga County and encourage anyone in the area seeking more information about their operations to attend as well. They provide a very informative meeting, but don’t take our word for it. Come out and see for yourself.