Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pittsburgh's energy boom

Circa 1916 I should mention.  Though it does read much like the advertisement from our friend Mr. McKelvey. I saw some other ad similar to that recently, but forgot to grab it to make a copy. 

Radium, by the way, was selling for $70,000 per gram at one time around then.  That's nominal, so work it out.  Some say radium was first produced commercially here in Pittsburgh. That $70K price dropped by $50K one day when someone found radium in the Belgian Congo.  I think that would be considered a bad day on the market.

Back to the present, it's not too hard to find folks pitching Marcellus Shale for various forms of investment.  Looks like ebay is a forum for the pitch.  Nothing new in that ad, we've caught these before, but this one is a bit more interesting.  If you read that ad, it clearly says "no surface rights" and the location is in New York state, though the seller is in Pennsylvania.  The ad never mention that New York has a pretty complete moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling.   It does add the nice map of the Marcellus field though.  As best I can tell, this property is near the edge of the field as marked on that map.  I originally thought it was a joke since the ebay ad starts with "Gasland!", but I take they never saw the documentary.

I am sure someone knows better than me, but I am pretty sure there is leasing activity in New York State, but I bet a lot of the payments are contingent upon NY state changing the law to allow the development to proceed.  So that ad I am guessing is someone trying to make money selling their rights and actually get cash now...  Assuming someone realizes that, by definition a speculative play.


Anonymous MH said...

I wonder how that worked out for people in the Congo. I hope the Belgians played-up the good news. "Great news. Some of you will no longer have to work 16 hour days collecting rubber.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 9:02:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

Not only is there leasing activity in NY but there is also drilling activity. And there is even fracing going on, right there in NY. The moratorium is on horizontal fracing so vertical wells are being drilled in NY and vertical wells all get fracked, just with much less water. Many companies are leasing and then drilling vertical wells so that the gas rights will be held by production for the the lifetime of the well.

I have even been told that since the moratorium was specific to the Marcellus Shale, that companies can drill the Utica horizontally and frac it but I would have to verify that. Seems that Utica play was unknown (at least to the legislators) when the moratorium was passed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 9:28:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

I was scanning through my local fish wrapper, aka the New Castle News, when I see in the middle of the editorial page an article entitled " 'Cleveburgh' looks beyond borders" by Chirstopher Briem. It was prefaced with a locally written leadin of about 20 column-inches.

It was combined with a guest opinion by Joe Roman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and Dennis Yablonsky of the Allegheny Conference. Alas, neither were posted on their website yet so I couldn't provide any links.

Chris, have other papers carried your op ed? Have they also run the Roman/Yablonsky article? What feedback are you getting from various people like politicos, academics, policy wonks, and angry Steeler/Browns fans?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Wiz, I thought you already commented on some of the other reprints of that oped? Anyway,.. I just thought it all interesting in that I didn't send that piece to anyplace other than the Post-Gazette. All the other places (Plain Dealer, Vindicator, now NC news, Brian O's mention inhis column the other day, and a couple others that I guess didn't fit it in) reached out to me or the PG directly within the following week to rerun the piece. Not sure what that means, but they sure were looking for this type of commentary. The comments on the Plain Dealer's site looked like their most commented piece for a week and best I could tell it was mostly positive except for the few wayward posts up there.

The only negative comments I think I have noticed are I think from folks who seriously thought I was proposing a formal merger of the two cities.. form one mayor even.. or something like that... which obviously set off some uber Libertarian paranoia. Of course that isn't what I or anyone is envisioning. It's been interesting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 7:48:00 AM  

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