Appalachian Basin

Binghamton Learns About Natural Gas Benefits

The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast, Marcellus Shale Supply Chain Seminar, for their members this Tuesday where several representatives of the natural gas industry discussed their roles and needs.

The Marcellus Shale Supply Chain Seminar, a breakfast hosted by the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, brought Binghamton businesses together with the natural gas industry to learn about development and how New York businesses can get involved. Five industry speakers discussed the benefits natural gas development will provide to local small businesses.  The Chamber seemed to enjoy all the presentations and the people we spoke with afterwards said they learned quite a bit.

John Augustine, from the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), was the first to provide remarks. Augustine works closely with the MSC’s Workforce Committee and sees  the impact the natural gas industry is having on jobs in Pennsylvania first hand. He discussed this and cleared up many of the misconceptions we hear daily, including the additives used in hydraulic fracturing solutions which can be found on Watch John’s speech below.

Chesapeake site during and after development in the Marcellus Shale

The second speaker was Mike Atchie from Chesapeake Energy. Atchie discussed industry needs, companies involved throughout the process of natural gas development and how businesses can meet industry needs and become suppliers. Many of the workers on a well site are from local contractors.

He also talked about Master Service Agreements (M.S.A) a contract that states the responsibilities for each party involved. This included describing how a need of the industry becomes a contract with a vendor, and how vendors are chosen from many potentials in a region.

You can see his presentation below.

Next to speak was Mark Lange with URS Corporation, an engineering consulting firm. Lange discussed the stability and growth of the natural gas industry. This has a lot to do with the capability of natural gas to be used as a transition fuel and help America become energy independent.

He described how natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel, and many facilities are using natural gas instead of other options because of this, its abundance and its affordability. Combining natural gas and other energies, such as solar, can quickly help companies succeed in meeting energy demands across the grid.

The last thing Lange discussed was the amount of natural gas vehicles other countries are using. Right now the United States is far behind these nations’ in both usage and infrastructure. Once more infrastructure is in place, this will likely change rather quickly, as more people will be able to use natural gas in their every day vehicles. After all, New York City didn’t have busses before they had people.

Neil Guiles of BK Energy Services and Vestal Asphalt also spoke. Guiles discussed the impacts natural gas will have on the New York economy based on his own personal experience as a business owner.  His company, Vestal Asphalt, works hand in hand with Chesapeake and other natural gas companies to fix roads and prepare their sites. They have hired 80 more people,  with benefits packages that include insurance and 401K’s. They’ve also bought thirty new pickup trucks and other new equipment from other local businesses.

Seven of the people working for Guiles are recent college graduates who have come back to the area looking for local work. These individuals have spent their money locally on cars, homes, groceries, and other items thanks to the opportunity Guiles has been able to provide them.

How did they get this opportunity?  Guiles was successful because he works so closely with the natural gas companies.  He gave back to the community by hiring locally and he wouldn’t have been able to do that without the natural gas industry across the boarder.

The final speaker of the morning was Mike Durant from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). He said 73% of the small businesses the NFIB represents across the state support natural gas development in New York. Are you listening Governor Cuomo? These small businesses know the benefit they will see from natural gas development in or near their communities.

One very strong message Durant covered was the need to open New York State for business because an unemployment rate like the one New York currently has is unacceptable. The jobs and tax revenue which come along with natural gas development are hard to ignore and deny. Durant doesn’t believe the economy of the state can hold off for another long and drawn out comment period on the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS). Once the health impacts study is complete, other issues will be raised because those against natural gas development will always find something they are unsatisfied with.  After all, their goal is to delay, and prohibit, this process. It is up to the Department of Environmental Conservation  to decide whether or not to move forward with natural gas development based on the facts and the science, all of which support development.

The breakfast wrapped up after the presentations were finished.  The speakers all demonstrated the positive impacts natural gas development can have on a community.  Many of the small businesses involved in the Chamber were able to see the ways their personal businesses could benefit if natural gas gets passed in New York State.  The speakers spoke on various different topics in the natural gas world discussing aspects from the infrastructure to the process, ending with local jobs and economic boost.  New York State’s economy needs all the help it can get. Let’s not let this opportunity pass us by.


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