Regardless of Controversy, Marcellus is Producing High Volume of Jobs

The development of the Marcellus Shale has long been a point of controversy for many communities and politics alike; however, there is no denying that it has also yielded a growing number of jobs for workers. In fact, the continued development of Marcellus Shale deposits to produce natural gas is a major economic force in West Virginia. This development is only expected to continue to create more jobs for workers in West Virginia as well as others looking to begin a career in the natural gas industry.

Although it may go without saying that the Marcellus Shale is producing a high volume of jobs for workers in the field, supporting industries may also benefit from increased natural gas production. Let’s take a look at the following:

  • Steel. The Marcellus Shale drilling will increase the demand of steel used for pipes. This drilling will result in a strong need for steel pipes to transport the gas, in turn, developing a great opportunity for the steel industry.
  • Investing. West Virginia has a vast reserve of natural gas deep underground in the Marcellus Shale deposits spanning from Western New York through Pennsylvania down into West Virginia and Eastern Ohio. Recovering this gas offers a great economic opportunity to investors as well as creates additional well-paying jobs for workers who drill deep underground wells and operate the gas plants.
  • Plastics. Cracker plants are versatile and can produce a wide variety of products including gasoline, diesel fuel, naphtha and ethylene – all major products in the plastic industry.

Overall, the Marcellus Shale has a lot to offer, and the West Virginia community it calls home has a lot to gain. Contract construction projects, such as the building of the Marcellus Shale drilling and processing facilities, could infuse up to $86.4 million in wages into the local economy by employing local workers. Although contract projects such as these generally bring in out-of-state workers, this will also have a positive impact on the local community as the majority of money spent by non-local workers will go to hotels and restaurants in the community.

The Marcellus Shale is just one example of economical growth and opportunity in the natural gas sector. As more communities get on board with natural gas and more jobs continue to be created, the natural gas industry remains one of the most economically stable career choices today. If you are looking to start your career in the natural gas industry, contact the energy career experts at FootBridge Energy today!

The Closing of Crystal River 3: What this Means

In early February, Duke Energy announced its plans to permanently shut down the Crystal River 3 nuclear power plant in Crystal River, Florida. The plant, originally built in 1977, has already been safely shut down and offline since 2009 due to a damage caused to the reactor during a power upgrade. Since then, attempts had been made to repair the damage and restore the unit to service; however, these attempts led to additional damage that would cost more to fix than building a new power plant. Ultimately, February’s decision was made to decommission the power plant and save billions in repair costs.

Duke Energy is evaluating the potential to build a gas-fired power plant which could come online as early as 2018. Although these plans are in the making, the permanent shut down of Crystal River 3 will hit Citrus County hard due to job losses and tax revenues. However, as the old saying goes, where one door closes, another door opens, and the case of Crystal River 3 is no exception. As dire effects of climate change on low-lying coastal areas become all too clear, many are regarding the power plant’s closing as the opportune time for Florida to investigate the possibilities of using solar power to insulate its buildings.

Many Florida homes and businesses are kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer by electricity. Landscaping for sun control, controlling ventilation, and tightening building envelopes would greatly increase the amounts of insulation for these buildings. Combining these efforts with simple actions such as utilizing double-pane glass and weather stripping, as well as employing the use of a solar water heater could significantly cut Florida’s current electrical load. If there’s one thing Florida has in bulk, it’s solar power – and with Crystal River 3’s closing, many are beginning to take a closer look.

At the time of its announced decommissioning, the Crystal River 3 power plant employed approximately 600 full-time employees. Many of these employees will stay on-site to work through the closing and decommissioning of the reactor. Additionally, Duke Energy will work with employees to help as many as possible make a seamless transition into other positions within Duke organizations. For those looking towards the energy industry, this is a time of hope. With its vast solar resources, Florida is expected to be in the forefront of solar photovoltaic installations; if there were a prime time to make the most of these resources, that time would be now.

Despite the nation’s rocky economy in recent years, the energy industry has not only remained stable, but has continued to grow throughout the United States. Hands-on training, job stability, and growth opportunity make jobs in the energy industry an excellent prospect for job seekers today. FootBridge Energy is one of the leading  staffing solutions in the energy industry today and prides itself in matching job seekers with their perfect fit in the industry. If you are interested in learning more or getting your foot in the door for a career in the energy industry, contact FootBridge Energy today!

Agriculture’s Newest Crop…Solar?

The rumors are true; agriculture has turned to solar energy as a new crop to lower operating costs as well as create an edge against rising energy prices. Together, the agriculture and energy industries are working hand in hand to cultivate and harvest solar energy. Although the basic idea of photosynthesis and the role it plays in plant survival is common knowledge, not many people realize how deeply solar energy is benefiting our farmers and their crops. In fact, it is safe to say the agriculture sector would not be surviving today without solar energy.

The benefits of solar energy can be felt from your home garden all the way up through commercially owned fields. However, these benefits reach much farther than just produce for modern farmers. A few key benefits of bringing solar power into the agriculture industry include:

  • Getting small, rural farmers off the grid to save money and operating costs
  • Allowing remote pumping of water for irrigation
  • Providing the option to use solar-powered farm machinery
  • Dispensing much needed power to farmers and residents

For the agriculture sector, solar energy is proving to be the bread and butter of their crops. Due to their ease of setup, solar farms are becoming much more commonplace than they once were. Because they thrive in large, clear fields, solar farms are able to flourish naturally and cost effectively.

Solar energy continues to infuse itself into the lifeblood of the agriculture sector, but also for energy companies as well. When the sun shines, solar panels generate enough energy to power hundreds of homes. In many cases, solar farms are replacing cropland that doesn’t generate enough income from traditional farming. Other times, solar farms are being placed on vacant industrial sites or land that hasn’t grown crops in years.

In an effort to grow solar energy’s popularity among farmers, one state is even offering incentives to entice farmers to switch from agriculture to solar. North Carolina is offering generous tax incentives to farmers in addition to instituting a law in 2007 that require power companies to use some renewable energy. The law requires that the utility companies must provide up to 12.5 percent of their energy from renewable sources. This has created a boom not only in the number of farms converting, but also in the number of jobs created. Over 15,000 people are now holding jobs as a result of renewable energy in North Carolina. The state’s proactive initiatives are a key factor in earning them high marks as one of the most solar-friendly states.

The benefits of solar power have led to an increased demand for it, in turn, leading to increased production, and more jobs becoming available. What was once viewed as a pipe dream has now become the key to sustainability for many American workers. If you are interested in learning more about solar energy careers, contact the experts at FootBridge Energy today!

Impending Changes in Shale Fracturing Poised to Impact Use

In-depth research and various evaluations are now under way to determine the best practices in shale fracturing programs. Although fracturing is a diverse process, three main issues are currently in development that are poised to have a measurable impact on natural gas companies and job seekers alike. Over the course of the past few years, a critical supply versus demand imbalance has been present across all proppant types with suppliers scrambling to add capacity in order to meet demand. However, adjustments are now in progress which could affect proppant demand in the future. They can be outlined as follows:

  • Liquids-rich drilling. This involves changes in the number of wells drilled in liquids-rich shale plays. Wet-play shale drilling in leading areas will be positive with spot prices above $70, allowing overall economics to produce at least 10% IRR. The past year’s research has shown that the spot price for crude oil peaked on March 1st at $108.76, dipped to its lowest point on June 21st at $77.91 and closed above $86 on November 2nd. Crude prices are expected to remain largely in the $80-$100 window throughout 2013, so wet-play shale drilling in the U.S. will remain on a positive, upward trend.
  • Gas shales drilling. Due to improved environment, great potential has been exhibited for increased drilling in existing U.S. gas shales.  The natural gas wellhead price peaked at $5.69 in January 2010, bottomed out at $1.89 this past April, and has since shown a steady a climb, hitting $3.86 prior to closing on November 2nd. Gas consumption growth in the power generator sector and greatly reduced drilling across U.S. gas shales have both been gigantic contributors to this positive climb. Positive support for natural gas drilling and future development forecast gas to bump up to $3.75 during 2013 and $4.25 by 2014.
  • Improved program designs. Ongoing evaluation has led to improvements in fracturing programs designs and completion. A chief goal and top priority for the development of unconventional reservoirs is to be able to provide as much reservoir contact as possible with the rock face when fracturing. Designs to optimize lateral length, obtain the ideal number of stages, and improve fracture conductivity techniques are all in development to achieve this main goal. Hydraulic fracturing and the costs associated with it are the most expensive component in drilling and completion today; as a result, optimizing completion and fracturing programs, plus assessments of overall efficiencies related to cost are receiving significant attention to improve overall ROI.

Assessments and evaluation of shale fracturing continue in an effort to determine the best method for fracturing programs in relation to lateral lengths, number stages, and material volumes. Current indications point towards effective placement alongside greater stages with reduced fluid and proppant volumes, signaling the industry’s forward-moving path in fracturing U.S. gas shales for the foreseeable future. If you are seeking additional information on impending changes in shale fracturing benefiting career growth within the natural gas industry, contact the experts at FootBridge Energy today!