The Marcellus Shale and You – March 10, 2012

With Guests R.T. Walker of Beynon & Co., Zaven Gabriel of Carnegie Mellon University, & Rachel Beam, a Civil Engineer

RT Walker from Benyon and Company / Commercial real estate expert –

  • The real estate market regarding the Marcellus is booming, I have clients 3 or 4 deep waiting for space, so much so that we don’t have space available in Western PA that can ideally suit these oil and gas companies. I have started looking into Ohio to help accommodate the need in this area.
  • It has been ramping up and it continues to expand in different regions. SWPA is lined up to be the epicenter for the whole oil and gas industry. Because of the demand and the growth, space is a need. My job is to deliver on this need.

Zaven Gabriel — CMU Student who recently ook a course called Energy and Climate at CMU, that provided an overview of human society’s use of energy and its history, the technology, the politics of energy.

  • Rolling Stone article – Came out this past week, by Jeff Goodell, an investigative reporter. The article focuses on Chesapeake Energy and their role in the shale industry. They have been making money by flipping gas leases to other companies and not so much money on the drilling. Zaven Gabriel. Also last year there was a study done by researchers at Duke University on pollution and fracking where they found systematic evidence of contamination of drinking water. The next week, Chesapeake was fined for water contamination in Bradford County.

RT Walker –

  • A lot of people are reaping the benefits of this industry, but there is a trickle-down effect. Unemployment in Washington County is dropping and is among the lowest in PA. The industry is very concerned about public perception and they work hard to do the right thing.

Rachel Beam – Civil engineer in Greene County specializing in wastewater treatment.

  • In Greene County in particular, my experience has been that there’s a huge demand, and one of our largest clients will be expanding their water treatment plant to accommodate the demand, not just for shale but for energy in general.
  • Replaced water lines and discovered area where pipeline was just replaced, and were surprised with how quickly a natural gas line could go in but how long it took for a water line to be put in.

Impact Fee –

  • How this impacts the real estate market remains to be seen at this point. It more affects the producers and where they are drilling. It will be interesting to watch. It will be good for whichever township or county is accepting the impact fees.

Infrastructure and roads –

  • Companies use the roads and heavy vehicles may tear them up, but the companies are usually good about fixing the roads once they
    have completed their work.

Transportation and CNG –

  • Charge Car Project, initiative by CMU in Oakland will convert old gasoline vehicles into electric cars.

Callers –

Allegheny County / City – What is the economic impact of the average Marcellus producing well, and why are people opposed to this economic boom in Allegheny County?

  • People are opposed for multiple reasons, a lot has to do with mis-information. But there is always a trade off. There are life-changing amounts of money going to landowners. When you get into the real impact not just to the landowner but the producer, the service companies, job creation, donut shops, dry cleaners, etc.
  • What can a lay person do to encourage people in the county to embrace this?
    • You can vote and be well informed. Make your voice be heard.

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