Marcellus Set to Make PA an Energy “Superpower”

State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer said Thursday that Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas reserves have positioned it to become an “American energy superpower,” and the state is up to the task of regulating its extraction.

Pennsylvania’s opportunity as a major natural gas producer is enhanced because it is “strategically located” near major Northeastern energy markets and it supports low-cost, domestic energy production done in an “environmentally sensitive way,” said Mr. Krancer, who spoke at the third annual Developing Unconventional Gas conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

In a 15-minute speech that emphasized economic benefits from shale gas drilling, Mr. Krancer said the U.S. will need to add 20 million new jobs in coming years and only the energy sector has the capacity to do that. He also said the use of gas for electricity generation will grow quickly in the state.

Mr. Krancer said Pennsylvania needs to adjust its regulations to help the drilling industry remain competitive. “We need regulatory certainty, we need regulatory reform, and we need a fair and predictable time for permitting,” he said, adding that the state’s regulations should be based on scientific considerations and “cost benefit analysis.”

Mr. Krancer said he does not support proposals to federally regulate shale gas drilling or hydraulic fracturing, a water-intensive procedure that uses millions of gallons of water per well mixed with chemical additives to free the gas from dense shale layers a mile or more underground.