Energy

The Problem of Price

From the moment the rush began to develop the vast untapped resources of gas trapped in the Marcellus Shale, economists and industry analysts warned that the massive explosion of cash that was pouring into the state — and in many cases right back out of it — would ebb and flow.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

An industrial renaissance

When the reserves of Marcellus Shale gas in the tri-​state area proved vast — 84 trillion cubic feet by one estimate — it was no surprise when the region became the epicenter of a thriving new industry. What may have been unexpected was the extent to which the Marcellus boom would invigorate the economy…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Show me the money

It was hailed as a game changer. Almost immediately after the first Marcellus Shale natural gas well was spudded in a rocky hilltop in Washington County, unleashing for the first time a vast cache of domestically produced energy, the discovery was hailed as the harbinger of a revolution in energy…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

The Utica Shale

A century and a half ago, a desperate, down-​on-​his-​luck former railroad man named Edwin Drake wandered into a remote hollow in northwestern Pennsylvania and stuck a drill a few dozen yards down into the rocky soil.

Road Trip

In May, my wife, Cindy, and I became the first Americans to drive from coast-​to-​coast in a natural-​gas-​powered vehicle. The idea first occurred to me last fall after retiring from EQT. I had the time, and the project intrigued me.

A natural-​gas Ponzi scheme?

It was, on the surface, a devastating indictment: a report in The New York Times, the nation’s leading newspaper, alleging that the natural gas industry — an eclectic and fiercely competitive collection of players that included in its ranks everyone from cowboy drillers to staid overseas nationals like StatOil Hydro — may have joined…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

A toxic topic

There is no doubt about it. The Marcellus Shale is radioactive, in every sense of the word. In the literal sense of the word, geologists and drillers have long known that each shale deposit has its own radioactive signature.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

The future of coal

From Pittsburgh to the hills of West Virginia, a small army of scientists is racing to tame the billions of tons of carbon vented from coal-​burning power plants, working with data sets, computer models, cost analyses and other such tools that belie the drama of their high-​stakes investigation.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Politics and the Marcellus Shale

It was Nov. 3, one day after the stunning midterm elections that had routed the Democrats and left the party in disarray both nationally and in Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Our water and the Marcellus Shale

The rig, a 70-​foot steel spire, soared above the manmade moonscape atop the plateau that Chesapeake Energy’s contractors had hewn out of the hillside on my family farm in Wyoming County.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

A gas-​based economy

It was mid-​afternoon in late winter, and the public relations man for one of the larger drilling companies in Pennsylvania was driving me back along a rutted country road from a rig we had just visited.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Power play

Six years ago, Keith Schaefer was reviewing a portfolio of companies for a group of investors headed by Pittsburgh financier Sam Zacharias and Andy Russell, the former Steeler.
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Alternative energy

In 1926, much of Pittsburgh was still bathed in gaslight, and in that warm, industrial glow, Jim Ferry saw a future for himself, his family, and the city.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Workers wanted

It’s early, the sun is just peeking up over those western Pennsylvania hills, and it’s cold and bleak as he pulls into the brightly lit service station-​cum-​convenience store to fill up the pressed-​steel canyon that is the fuel tank of the company-​owned Cummins 3500 pickup he’s driving.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

We have the power

Turn on a light bulb. Run the dishwasher. Boot up the computer. Run a Google search. Somewhere, a turbine spins, a coal-​laden barge docks near a power plant, a nuclear reactor harvests the bound-​up energy of a uranium atom.
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