Pennsylvania Shale Gas Environmental Services Remain Strong
Despite recent shifts in operating resources by many shale gas producers, and an overall reduction in new pad site development in northeastern Pennsylvania over the past year, Liberty’s practice areas that serve the shale gas industry have seen no slowdown, and are diversifying into a wider range of services as the industry matures from exploration and development into a production and distribution phase.
Since our involvement in the early phases of exploratory pad site development in 2009, Liberty’s work in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania had consisted primarily of regulated waters delineations and Chapter 105 waterways permitting. To date, Liberty has worked at over 400 individual pad sites, with a significant backlog of planned work throughout the remainder of this year and into 2013. The unusually mild winter of 2011-2012 also helped sustain a steady pace of work, allowing for the completion of field evaluations during months when weather conditions would normally prohibit the identification of regulated watercourses and jurisdictional wetlands.
While a significant portion of Liberty’s work continues to be in these areas, demand for a greater range of our environmental consulting and engineering services has followed the development of pipeline infrastructure, transmission lines, and power generation facilities planned for the region. Accordingly, these projects have incorporated a larger set of Liberty’s services, including our air quality expertise and regulatory compliance practice areas. Currently, we are applying our thorough knowledge of air permitting to a series of new compressor station and supply pipeline projects, and are performing specialized ecological species evaluations within pipeline and utility rights-of-way throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania.
The demand for Liberty’s services in the shale gas field is expected to remain high. According to an August 6, 2012 Associated Press report, the Marcellus Shale formation is currently producing 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day, which is double its output from April 2011. The region is predicted to become the top shale gas producing region in the United States this year.