Mercaptans: The smell of success for the natural gas boom

Before fracking became a household word and US natural gas production was skyrocketing, most of what people knew about natural gas was its smell. That funky, nose-wrinkling smell, so often described as a rotten egg smell, is distinctive but isn't natural to gas, as most who keep up with energy markets know. The smell is from odorants, often chemical compounds called mercaptans, that is added to naturally odorless gas for safety.



DEP calculates health benefits of reduced air pollution; methodology questioned

Pennsylvania's air quality improvement resulted in $14 billion to $37 billion in annual public health benefits, in part because of a shift to more natural gas power generation, state environmental officials said on Tuesday. Environmental groups immediately questioned the figures.



RETTEW Receives Award for Transportation Project

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACECPA) presented RETTEW with a Diamond Award Certificate for its Chesapeake Energy Corp. Roadway Restoration and Upgrade Program, part of its annual Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence competition.



The State Of Our Energy Union Is Stronger Than In 40 Years

As President Obama gives tonight the State of the Union Address, the state of our energy union is stronger than anytime in 40 years. America's domestic energy resources are bountiful, diverse, cleaner, and affordable. Just consider these 10 energy facts:



New 'certification' group to look closely at shale gas drillers

Environmental groups and drilling companies are forming a first-of-its kind organization to scrutinize shale gas drillers' practices in Appalachia, but at least one industry supporter won't participate. The Environmental Defense Fund, PennFuture, The Heinz Endowments, EQT and Shell are among collaborators in an organization to certify which drillers meet the best industry standards. Next month, the group will publicly start the Institute for Gas Drilling Excellence, officials said. How it will be funded isn't clear.



State DEP moving closer to finalizing oil and gas rules

State environmental regulators are moving closer to a major revision of Pennsylvania's oil and gas rules to address surface impacts caused by the development of pipelines, pits, impoundments and well sites. The Department of Environmental Protection recently translated conceptual changes it outlined last year into much more precise draft rulemaking language that will be discussed at an advisory board meeting next week. The hope is to adopt the finalized rules by next winter.



Environmental chief defends impact fee choices

Several local communities that do not contain drilling sites have seen a rise in truck traffic associated with natural gas drilling. Many people feel that damages caused by the traffic was inadequately compensated by funding associated with impact fee allotments.



Company looking to survey Aliquippa for natural gas drilling

A Monaca company is interested in conducting a seismic survey of public property in Aliquippa for potential natural gas drilling.



Trout Unlimited Testing for Water Quality in PA's Marcellus Region

Trout Unlimited (TU) is one of several organizations that are actively monitoring water quality in Pennsylvania's rivers and streams. Currently, TU is collecting data in 99 different watersheds throughout the Commonwealth in an effort to help understand potential impacts of shale gas drilling and related industries on Pennsylvania's waterways.



Natural gas-fueled power plant in Lawrence County gets site approval

A $750 million plant in Lawrence County, powered by Marcellus shale gas, could begin generating electicity by 2016, officials said. LS Power Development LLC received North Beaver supervisors' approval this week to build a 900-megawatt plant along the Mahoning River at the site of a former American Cyanamid Co. explosives manufacturing plant. Construction could begin early next year.