Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mythic Landscapes: Marcellus Shale

The rhetoric surrounding the shale gas rush is, more often than not, ridiculous. But the following bit of hype takes the cake:

There is a buzz or rather a rumble in Western Pennsylvania! For years local citizens became use to being part of the rust belt. Job loss became the new normal before unemployment grew throughout the rest of the US. But the energy gods parted the clouds and provided our region with Marcellus Shale.

Suddenly, everything that is good news out of Southwestern Pennsylvania comes from Marcellus Shale. The over-the-top branding campaign does have benefits. Exaggerated or not, buzz attracts migrants.

That doesn't mean residents should give the Marcellus Shale Coalition whatever it wants. On the contrary, the bulk of the evidence undermines the MSC's position. The boom is here to stay:

The U.S. has been a net importer. Interestingly, even with shale gas development, the Energy Information Administration predicts (or predicted as late as July 2010) that we will continue to consume more gas than we produce.

It also projects Canada will continue to produce more than it consumes. But, as our story suggests, it will be importing gas to its eastern provinces from the Marcellus Shale because it's closer and, potentially, cheaper than piping it from its western wells.

To what extent that this counterintuitive geographic relationship sparks job growth in Southwestern Pennsylvania is anyone's guess. What counts (in terms of inmigration) is the image of the region, not the hard data. The energy gods are beckoning you to Pittsburgh.


Anonymous said...

check out this link regarding the Marcellus Shale and how wonderful it is for SW wonderful Pittsburgh banned fracking.

Jim Russell said...

Your link doesn't work. I have my own:

So wonderful all those local jobs that the MSC claims the shale gas boom is creating.