Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Meta Marcellus Watch

No, not a full roundup, but here is a press release going out that is a bit curious:  Canonsburg, PA Blossoms as Eastern Natgas Capital, NGI Reports

All about how relatively small Canonsburg, PA (population 9,000)  is booming because of Marcellus Shale related business. The thing is that it has this one key line describing the town: "The borough is close to the Pittsburgh manufacturing metropolis".

Manufacturing metropolis?! If that is their description, you have to wonder about the rest of the information in the PR.  Someone really didn't get the memo.  That and I will send them my slides on what 'metropoltian' means since Canonsburg is certainly in, not near, the Pittsburgh metro area (aka metropolis).  I guess they mean they are near the potentially MSC-boycotted City of Pittsburgh, which of course has not had a basic steel operation in what??  12 years?  So it is a datapoint on the persistent legacy of brands.

OK.. it all is pretty vacuous PR really for a web site or something to tracking Marcellus Shale info.  So I am doing them a favor by even mentioning it.  But it does highlight two things I keep noticing.  No doubt there are folks making money supporting the new shale development, and a lot of them are doing quite well at it.  There are also those out there trying less substantial ways to make something from the whole play.  Not fraudulent or anything (though we have seen some dubious things starting), but just folks trying to get in on the action. 

It also points out that a lot of why Marcellus is such news in a lot of Pennsylvania is because it is big relative to how little is going on out there normally. I bet the new shale-induced activity in Canonsburg is a lot for them. Still just one town, but extrapolate that across the state.  The center of gravity of the Marcellus play is in some of the least dense parts of the state.  Just not many folks living in places where the drilling is happening, and certainly not much export oriented business beyond the hunting-induced or related tourism that has been a mainstay for a long time. The 1,081 square miles (33% more than Allegheny County) Potter County has a total population of 16K.  That would be half the population of the South Side on a typical Friday evening.  The 1,161 square miles of Bradford County, PA (55% more than Allegheny) has a total population of 61K (or about 1/20th of Allegheny County).   So most any new economic activity would seem huge, and in lots of places may be the biggest thing in decades.  It's just one of the things warping the prism on all of this.   Just think, in Bradford, PA (not Bradford County)  it made news today because a firm laid off 9 workers.  So yeah, even one rig crew must feel like a veritable flood.

That's all... gotta give the night shift something to read. 


Anonymous The Wiz said...

Nightshift reporting for duty; albeit a bit confused night shift

According to both Brookings

and Wikipedia , Canonsburg is within the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

Indeed, this is having large impacts on the small towns and rural areas, areas that have suffered for decades. Many of these small towns had small factories in industries like chemicals, plastics, and powered metals. Layoffs in a single factory have large impacts in towns of a few thousand people.

And its not one rig crew, its 25 or 50 farmers getting a couple of hundred thousand dollars each for leases and much more for royalties. Its mining crews supplying rock and sand, its lots of truckers and excavators, its welders and mechanics, its suppliers of pipe and valves and tools and tanks and equipment. Its inspectors and bureaucrats and tax collectors. And the people those taxes employ like teachers, police, and more.

With all these major firms locating in Canonsburg, eighteen miles from Pittsburgh, where will they go for legal, engineering, financial, environmental, technical assistance, entertainment, and more? Maybe Pittsburgh?

BTW, the article on the layoffs in Bradford were in the Centre Daily Times in State College.... about a hundred miles from Bradford.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous n'at said...

Southpointe, PA, really. Most of the labor force are comprised of transplants and transients, though.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011 5:53:00 AM  

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