Business

Marcellus Shale: A Tricky Situation

For years, it’s been a common rallying cry among activists that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has coddled its burgeoning natural gas industry at the expense of other state priorities. Perhaps nothing, they contend, has been more emblematic of that cozy relationship than the fact that Pennsylvania is the only active drilling state in the union …

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AC / DC

Three University of Pittsburgh professors have seen the future in electrical innovation, and it begins in Homewood. They’re talking about an electrical revolution, and it’s fitting that Pittsburgh and one of its poorest neighborhoods could play a large role. In the late 1880s, Pittsburgh’s most famous Homewood resident, George Westinghouse, prevailed in what has since …

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The Battle for Cleaner Energy

For two days this past summer, the streets around the William S. Moorhead Federal Building, downtown, were ringed with cops and jammed with largely orderly protestors, some in camouflage, others in tie-dyed T-shirts. They were drawn, as they had been at other cities around the country, to make their voices heard on the U.S. Environmental …

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The Export Dilemma

As the Shale-driven production of natural gas has expanded in recent years, so too has the demand from much of the industry to unleash that resource on the world market. And that chorus of voices calling for the United States to use gas from fields like the Marcellus to tap into the world market has …

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A century of safety

It was June 1914 when John T. Ryan Sr. and George Deike, two federal mine rescue engineers horrified by the carnage they’d seen in coal mine explosions, formed a company dedicated to making the industry safer. Ryan and Deike enlisted the services of no less a luminary than Thomas Alva Edison to design an electric …

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Passing the test

Think you’d like to be CEO of a major corporation? Best get ready for this test: The employer informs you that over the next day and a half, you’re the leader of a hypothetical company. You prepare by reading reams of hypothetical reports generated by your hypothetical company. As you arrive at your computer, you’re assaulted …

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Does This Change Everything?

It’s been nearly six months since the state Supreme Court rocked Pennsylvania by striking down key portions of Act 13, Gov. Corbett’s signature legislation on Marcellus Shale drilling. But even now, the full impact of the decision—and what it bodes for the future of the drilling industry in the state—remains unclear. In fact, say legal …

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Shale Gas & the Environment

For years the well pads, truck traffic and logos of energy companies large and small multiplied across counties like Washington and Greene as southwestern Pennsylvania became a poster child for the rush to extract natural gas trapped in the Marcellus Shale. It was in such a climate that the region recently assumed a new identity …

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Still Changing at 150

On April 19, 1864, America was preoccupied by several rather sizable events, including the Civil War and the recent emancipation of slaves. So citizens could be excused if they paid scant attention to the festivities that day in Cumberland, Md., where an entity called Consolidation Coal Company launched its operations by selling 1,000 shares of …

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The Royalty Rub

When Mary Jane Foelster and her husband, Richard, retired five years ago and left Philadelphia for a secluded 50-acre tract of land in Bradford County, they never figured they’d get rich. In fact, until they were about to close on the property, they didn’t even know that the previous owners had signed a lease with …

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Red Flags Rising

It’s been more than a year since Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, stepped to the lectern on a sweltering summer day in Houston and issued a stern warning to a gathering of energy executives. She acknowledged the potential advantages of the unconventional shale gas boom—from increasing the nation’s energy …

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Finding Common Ground

The conversations began quietly two years ago in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Could natural gas be harvested from shale without writing a new chapter in the legacy of tainted air and water that had been the price of nearly a century of steel making and mining in the region? And was there an appetite among energy …

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Gauging the Second Term

For months last year, as the campaign for the White House shifted into high gear, opponents of President Obama tried to paint his first-term administration as hostile to the development of domestic fossil fuels, including the vast natural gas resources contained in the Marcellus and Utica shales, as well as other unconventional shale plays across …

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A Christmas Miracle

John Dionise knows Santa would be jealous. Rather than flying a sleigh all over the place this Christmas season, trying by sight to find each and every home where a gift is to be delivered, the drivers who work for Dionise out of a Sewickley station for FedEx Ground—the growing, Moon Township-based division of FedEx …

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The Marcellus Shale Dilemma

A blistering July—the hottest on record—vaporized heat records in thousands of communities across the country. A historic and prolonged drought settled across a vast swath of the southern and central United States, devastating corn crops and threatening to send the cost of everything that depends on it—from baby food to burgers to the ethanol we …

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The Future of the Marcellus Shale

After eight years of unprecedented expansion, the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania is now weighed down by its own success, analysts say. Struggling with a market that is being flooded with more natural gas than it can bear, the industry is optimistically predicting that new markets in transportation, home heating, chemical manufacturing and other industries …

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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 generally. The availability of cheap, …

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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. There would be times of expansion, when drillers …

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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 production that would pump upwards …

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Faces of the Marcellus Shale

In the past several years, ancient organic matter trapped more than a mile beneath the surface of the earth has changed life in Greater Pittsburgh. The vast deposits of natural gas deep in rock are known collectively as the Marcellus Shale. The Marcellus has softened the Great Recession and brought a cash infusion to previously …

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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. After a few false starts, Drake and his men struck a cache of crude oil that, while small by …

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Labor Management

Against a backdrop of high national unemployment and concern about U.S. dependence on foreign energy, Richard Trumka, former president of the United Mine Workers and current president of the AFL-CIO, and Nicholas DeIuliis, president of Consol Energy, met in the second of a series of labor-management discussions sponsored by the Community College of Allegheny County. …

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