The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania region is considered by many to be the center of the Marcellus shale play boom and is the center of many Marcellus shale-related conferences and workshops.
The newest member of that group is The Shale Exchange, held Oct. 29-31 at the CONSOL Energy Center, which brought together more than 100 attendees focused on emerging technologies and business opportunities.
Sponsored by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), organizers split the event into two distinct days one focused on international challenges and opportunities and the other on environmentally responsible development. Tours of the new Energy Innovation Center, a Universal Well Services site and an EQT drill site and hydraulic fracturing operation were available with the EQT tour filling out the third day.
Patrick Findle, director of GTI’s Pittsburgh office, says that his city was a good choice for the workshop because of the abundance of experts and proximity for the site visits. It also offered a unique perspective for international guests from Mexico, China, Japan, Canada and the Middle East.
“Pittsburgh is a good model for others to follow,” Findle says. “Lessons learned in this region about addressing development challenges provide knowledge and insight to guide shale development worldwide and shape our global energy future.”
He added, “Since we anticipate tens of thousands of wells and many miles of pipeline over multiple decades, this research and technology dialogue is very exciting because for every issue or challenge we manage, each solution can have a widespread impact regionally and around the globe.”
Though the event was heavily focused on the exploration and production side of the business with a lot of discussion about hydraulic fracturing, there were some key take always for the pipeline sector.
One note came during the discussion by Jared Ciferno, director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil Research & Development program. For fiscal year 2015, the NETL is working on a natural gas infrastructure R&D program with the goal to enhance the deliverability efficiency of natural gas and to mitigate methane emissions from mid-stream infrastructure.
Ciferno said the focus of this $5 million program is external leak detection and monitoring, pipeline inspection and repair, improving compressor system performance and pipeline operational efficiency. The NETL is part of the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory system and focuses on developing and testing new technologies in all energy sectors.
“A number of environmental challenges also touch the midstream segment, and a safe, reliable, and intelligent infrastructure is critical to match a new abundant supply with growing demand,” Findle says. “GTI is a leader in pipeline integrity management and other key solutions for the pipeline, midstream industry.”
He encouraged people to visit gastechnology.org/Solutions/Pages/IntelligentInfrastructure.aspx or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As for next year, Findle hopes to grow the international panel, get more government bodies involved and expand the exhibitors. One thing he does not want to change is the intimate setting because the feedback indicated that the setting, with 115 attendees, was perfect to enable valuable dialogue and networking.
Co-sponsoring the event with GTI were the Energy Innovation Center and the Shale Alliance For Energy Research (SAFER PA).