State of shale dependent on responsible energy policy

Blog Post

Recently, the Akron Beacon Journal did a nice story on shale activity in the Appalachian Basin. Here is an excerpt:

What’s happened in the Appalachian Basin is huge, according to Tim Knobloch of James Knobloch Petroleum Consultants of Marietta and Martin Shumway of Shumway Resources LLC of Worthington. In a report prepared by both men, Knobloch [stated] . . . that drilling in the three-state region has resulted in 8,000 wells since 2008 and $150 billion in investment.

That includes $80 billion to drill the Appalachian Basin wells, $60 billion in mergers and acquisitions since 2010, $5 billion for leases and $5 billion for infrastructure, he said.

The level of investment is certainly staggering and, thankfully, we are starting to see early signs that the industry is poised to move forward in 2017 and shake off the effects of depressed pricing. However, that resurgence is dependent on responsible public policy emanating from Washington, D.C. In March, the two Democratic candidates debated in Flint, Michigan. For I believe the first time this election cycle, the two candidates were asked directly about fracking. As you may know, I have written a series of articles touting the benefits of fracking and how it has led to greater economic and international security for the U.S. While I expected Senator Sanders to oppose fracking because of his no compromise position on climate change, I was disappointed to hear Clinton say that:

By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will by many places in America where fracking will continue to take place and I think that is the best approach because right now there are places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated. So first we got to regulate everything that is currently under way and we have to have a system in place that prevents further fracking unless conditions like the ones I mentioned are met.

This represents a dramatic shift from Clinton’s days as Secretary of State when she pushed the benefits of fracking all around the world. “In some cases, Clinton personally promoted shale gas. During a 2010 gathering of foreign ministers in Washington, D.C., she spoke about America's plans to help spread fracking abroad. Recall this from Mother Jones: "I know that in some places [it] is controversial," Clinton said, "but natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today." She later traveled to Poland for a series of meetings with officials, after which she announced that the country had joined the Global Shale Gas Initiative.

Energy security is a critical issue for the candidates. Donald Trump has voiced support of fracking. I am hopeful that this issue will receive full attention as the two parties choose their respective nominees and the campaign takes on a sharper focus.

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