New Castle News

Marcellus Shale

January 13, 2012

Businesses urged to seek shale opportunities

NEW CASTLE — Local entrepreneurs should look now for their slice of the market in the Marcellus and Utica Shale industry.

That advice was offered Thursday by Andy Birol of Birol Growth Consulting of Pittsburgh, who sees spin-off money from the industry.

Birol addressed about 60 business leaders at a PNC Bank/Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Park Inn in West Middlesex about how to “find a little piece of it.”

He followed his speech with a workshop on how to gear business leaders toward thinking about making money from Marcellus and Utica drilling.

Birol, an author, coach and speaker, has consulted with about 430 companies worldwide.

Of Marcellus Shale, he said, “this is just manna from heaven.”

He compared Marcellus drilling prospects to the Great Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893.

Birol shared a story he found on the Eyewitness To History website, noting 100,000 people rushed to claim land plots in the Cherokee Strip area of the northern Oklahoma Territory.

At the time of the land rush, America was in the grip of the worst economic depression it had ever experienced, the article reads. “This was one of the factors that swelled the number of expectant land-seekers that day. Many would be disappointed. There were only 42,000 parcels of land available, far too few to satisfy the hopes of all those who raced for land that day.”

“How is the Marcellus Shale opportunity similar?” Birol asked, noting there are only so many properties.

Marcellus differs from the land rush because there are after-the-fact opportunities, he pointed out.

Despite regulatory legislation and legitimate health and environmental concerns, “there is opportunity to pick what you want to do because the ship is so big.

“A dollar put into the economy generates three to five dollars more,” he said.

A PriceWaterhouseCoopers study predicts one million jobs from Marcellus Shale in 30 years, Birol said, and the Marcellus coalition will generate $1 trillion.

Biros encouraged local businesses to look at spinoff effects.

For example, one man he knows is selling luxury outdoor restrooms to accommodate the drilling sites as a way to make money, he said.

 There will be subdivision, electric, telephone and wireless and other infrastructure needed, Birol said. Transportation also will be a growth area.

Therese McShea of RAR Engineering, who attended the workshop, said Birol helped to define what markets businesses are targeting.

 RAR Engineering runs an environmental lab that tests water, and can do work for the drilling companies and the landowners. But Birol suggested the company may need to market either one or the other, she said, possibly providing the service to the landowners.

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