Pittsburgh #1 on TIME’s “Coolest Neighborhoods in America Right Now”

According to a recent article in TIME Pittsburgh is ranked number one. The authors looked at what neighborhoods “deliver the goods if you’re looking to visit promising eateries, browse artisan products at local shops and sip some craft brews on your next vacation or work trip.”

(for more on fracking, Pittsburgh and more visit MatthewPitzarella.com)

From the article:

 “This Pennsylvania steel town has reinvigorated its cool factor in recent years, with the influx of new bars, restaurants and hotels. “Pittsburgh won’t be the first American city to beep on your cool-o-meter, but its eastern neighborhoods might just be the sleeper hit your hipster sensibilities have been craving,” says travel writer and host Brandon Presser.”

There’s no doubt to those of us who grew up in Pittsburgh, have family here, or have visited for work or pleasure, the city has transformed over the years as a destination city and a great place to live, work and play.

Be sure to read the article in its entirety right here and see what other cities make the list.

Be sure to follow Pittsburgh’s Matt Pitzarella on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Bridge fuel? Gas overtook coal for first time, renewables account for majority of generation capacity additions

Fracking in places like Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale pushed gas to the top, helping to keep U.S. carbon emissions at 1992 levels according to federal reports.

(for more on fracking, Pittsburgh and more visit MatthewPitzarella.com)

Low prices for natural gas present challenges for the engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs in the natural gas industry (challenges they certainly seem up for), but those low prices also brought on “near-record low electricity prices” for consumers according to the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Enforcement Division of Energy Market Oversight’s latest report. This also presents challenges for the men and women who work in the incredible coal industry as well.

According to the authors:

“Overall in 2016 there were record low natural gas prices and near record low electricity prices. Although natural gas production fell for the first time since 2005, flat demand due to above average winter temperatures at the start of the year and high natural gas storage inventories contributed to the low prices. The low natural gas prices further incentivized gas-fired generation in 2016, and for the first time in history, natural gas’ share of total electricity generation output overtook coal’s on an annual basis.”

2016 spot gas prices FERC

The report touches on at how natural gas producers have responded to lower prices, by investing less dollars into new wells and thereby producing less gas, along with other interesting market dynamics at play:

“During 2016, U.S. natural gas production fell 2.5 percent, averaging 72.3 Bcfd, the first year-over-year drop since large scale shale production began in 2005. However, as oil prices recovered beginning in the first quarter of 2016, natural gas production rose 11 percent in the oil and natural gas liquids rich Bakken Shale in North Dakota, Marcellus and Utica shales in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, and Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico. These gains were offset by an estimated 14 percent drop in conventional production, and by production declines in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, the Haynesville Shale in Texas and Louisiana and the Niobrara Shale in Colorado and Wyoming.

Natural gas production from the Marcellus and Utica shales accounted for 30 percent of the U.S. total in 2016, due to the prolific nature of these formations, relatively low production costs, and proximity to the large Northeast markets. In addition, new pipeline infrastructure reduced bottlenecks allowing additional gas to reach the demand centers. Total U.S. production is poised to rebound slightly in 2017, driven by a projected 26 percent increase in oil and gas exploration and production investment in North America from 2016 levels.”

This analysis comes on the heels of another report from the International Energy Agency or IEA indicating a “striking drop in carbon pollution in the US, where emissions fell back to what they were in 1992” according to Environment Correspondent Pilita Clark of the Financial Times:

“This is a very welcome development,” said Fatih Birol, IEA executive director. “It appears we now have the first signs of an established trend of flat emissions as a result of natural gas replacing coal in major markets and renewables becoming more and more affordable.”

IEA global carbon 2016

To read the full IEA document check out their posting “IEA finds CO2 emissions flat for third straight year even as global economy grew in 2016.”

“With the appropriate policies, and large amounts of shale reserves, natural gas production in the United States could keep growing strongly in the years to come. This could have three main consequences: it could boost domestic manufacturing, supply more competitive gas to Asia through to LNG exports, and provide alternative gas supplies to Europe. US and natural gas prospects will be explored in details in the next World Energy Outlook 2017.”

gas and renewables FERC 2016

Be sure to follow Pittsburgh’s Matt Pitzarella on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Oil and Gas headed for a rebound?

The oil and gas industry has provided enormous economic opportunities in places like the Pittsburgh region, from shale gas development or “fracking,” in the Marcellus and Utica shales. But will this recent downturn turn back around again soon? The answer is yes, according to the experts at Harts.

(related “Tip of the ethane iceberg” see MatthewPitzarella.com)

According to an article “Analysts: ‘Rebound’ Coming For Oil And Gas” that appeared in Midstream Business quoting Hart Energy’s Stratas Advisors John Paisie:

“Economic indicators point to a near-term uptick in the oil and gas business after a long and painful downturn, Stratas Advisors researchers told a Midland, Texas, audience March 22.

“We are poised for a rebound,” John Paisie, executive vice president of Hart Energy’s research arm, said in his presentation to the 2017 Permian Basin Outlook Breakfast at the Midland Country Club. There are positive trends, such as Europe’s improving economy and a counterbalance of lingering oversupplies. “We will have a production-demand crossover as the world market rebalances,” Paisie added.”

You really need to read the full piece, which looked at macro factors through the prism of the Permian Basin where the presentation was delivered.

“Natural gas is another matter for Permian producers, Haas said, because “we still have growing production from the Beast of the East—the Marcellus and Utica—that is really driving natural gas production now.” As with crude, gas exports will be key, he added. Exports to Canada are down because Canadian gas is discounted even more than U.S.-produced gas. However, exports to Mexico and LNG volumes will continue to grow.

U.S. petrochemical plants are strongly favored now due to rising NGL production from the shale plays—as well as discounted gas that can cheaply fuel the nation’s growing cracking capacity.

“U.S. petrochemical producers are sitting in the catbird seat” as a result, he said. NGL exports have been strong and will continue to grow, especially propane, Haas said.”

MSB 3-30-2017
Be sure to visit Hart Midstream Business

For more information on the recently announced cracker facility in Beaver County, be sure to jump over to the Pittsburgh Business Times special section “Countdown to Cracker.”

Be sure to follow Pittsburgh’s Matt Pitzarella on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Pittsburgh Business Times: “Pitzarella joins Buchanan Ingersoll”

In a follow up to Paul Gough’s Pittsburgh Business Times piece last month “Pitzarella leaves Range Resources after 8 years” the paper’s Patty Tascarella followed up with “Pitzarella joins Buchanan Ingersoll.”

(for more news see “Great memories and relationships“)

As Tascarella’s story starts with:

“Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC has hired one of the most visible players in southwest Pennsylvania’s energy sector. Matt Pitzarella joined Pittsburgh’s third-largest law firm as director of the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Section.”

For the full story you really should check out the Business Times coverage or my initial thoughts on the decision “Pitzarella joins Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney.”

Influential Marcellus Shale writer Jim Willis posted to his site “Range Resources’ PR Chief Matt Pitzarella Jumps Ship to Law Firm.” If you’ve never visited his site Marcellus Drilling News be sure to check it out.

Be sure to follow Pittsburgh’s Matt Pitzarella on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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What saved most households $50 billion in the last four years?

Pocketbook issues are consistently ranked as among the most important topics for Americans. U.S. households who use natural gas to heat their homes, generate their power, cook their food, and heat their water collectively saved $50 billion over the last four years thanks to shale gas development from “fracking” around regions like Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

(for more on Pittsburgh check MatthewPitzarella.com articles)

That’s what American Gas Association President and CEO Dave McCurdy told Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney’s Principal – Government Relations Ed Hild during one of the law firm’s recent Energy Insider Interview Series interviews. 

The wholesale price of natural gas has remained incredibly affordable for households due to anabudance of clean burning natural gas, resulting in lower prices.

Make sure you head over to the firm’s site for the whole piece, but McCurdy took a deeper dive into what fracking for clean burning natural gas has meant for American consumers:

“Commercial customers have not seen natural gas prices this low in 40 years and natural gas access contributed to 1.9 million jobs economy-wide in 2015. Low natural gas prices put an extra $1,337 back in the pocket of the average American family that year because of the costs of goods coming from manufacturing plants that use natural gas. Everywhere you look, natural gas is having a positive impact on our nation and there is additional room for wise and efficient growth of natural gas in today’s domestic energy market, including significant potential for demand in residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors over the long-term. That includes exporting liquefied natural gas as well.”

Make sure you read the rest of the post and others from the series for in depth insights on energy trends and issues.

Be sure to follow Pittsburgh’s Matt Pitzarella on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

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Are billions of dollars about to pour into Pennsylvania’s economy?

It seems everyone has shared, liked, posted, or read something about Team Pennsylvania’s report from IHS Markit “Prospects to Enhance Pennsylvania’s Opportunities in Petrochemical Manufacturing” but does it really mean there might be $3.7 billion in new potential investments thanks to Marcellus Shale “fracking” in Pennsylvania?

(for more see MatthewPitzarella.com “Pittsburgh region ‘tip of the ethane iceberg’“)

The experts point to yes. The report “forecasts $2.7 to 3.7 billion in investments in natural gas liquid (NGL) assets as well as the opportunity to attract additional cracker plants, and petrochemical and plastics manufacturing.”

(if you want to know what a “cracker plant” is hop over to the Continue reading “Are billions of dollars about to pour into Pennsylvania’s economy?”

Pittsburgh tops list of U.S. downtown “comebacks”

Readers of Realtor.com now know what the Pitzarella household has long maintained: downtown Pittsburgh has truly transformed itself. In fact the influential website listed Pittsburgh number one on their list of “Top 10 Cities Where Downtown Is Making a Comeback”

Make sure to check the post out for yourself right here, but the survey cites a 32% population growth with a 31% increase home price growth since 2012. Another recent report pointed to the boost in jobs thanks in part to natural gas from shale and “fracking” in the manufacturing field.

Further from the Realtor.com post:

In the downtown “Golden Triangle,” there are rooftop bars, hipsterfied eateries, and craft breweries. The renovated Market Square Place is buzzing day and night, and there’s even an influx of experimental public art. The latest installation: an “interactive jukebox” that played sound tracks while 6,000 LED lights flashed, making the square look like a giant spinning record in the sky. Cool, right?

As I recently shared, it’s a real joy to return to working in downtown Pittsburgh in my new position. And it appears that the timing couldn’t be better.

Be sure to follow Pittsburgh’s Matt Pitzarella on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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