In an unexpected turn of events, a new seal of approval from environmentalists is set to blow the doors wide open for shale development…
Like oil and vinegar, the relationship between energy companies and environmentalists is often a strained one that never mingles for long.
On the one hand, you have an industry that provides significant economic benefits to a country, its government, and its citizens through revenues, taxes and jobs.
On the other, you have a consortium that rises up against any potential environmental impacts that may be caused by energy industry activities.
However, it appears that a new ceasefire has just been reached.
Only this time, it looks like it might be for the long run.
You see, it was just announced that two of the nation’s largest oil and gas companies and top environmental lobby groups have agreed to a strict new set of guidelines for shale drilling operations.
Shell Oil and Chevron have joined forces with a number of influential groups including the Environmental Defense Fund, the Heinz Endowments, the Clean Air Task Force, EQT Corp. and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
The two sides have launched the new Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) that’s based in Pittsburgh.
Through this new entity that was two years in the making, drilling and pipeline companies will be asked to submit details of their exploration activities and hydraulic fracturing operations for an independent review.
If the rigorous guidelines set out by CSSD are met, these companies will receive a “seal of approval”, much like how electrical appliances receive the “Underwriters Laboratories” (UL) stamp.
As the Center is still in its early stages of development, its focus will currently be on shale development projects in northeastern US.
In other words, the program will cover the prolific Marcellus and Utica Shale formations, where huge gas reserves exist.
Based on how successful the program turns out, it could mark an historic turning point in the long-running cat and mouse game.
The most obvious upshot is the reduction of legal and financial headaches that both sides often have to endure against one another.
But more importantly, the new cooperation symbolizes a commitment from both sides to achieve a better balance between economics and environment.
“Raising the bar on performance and committing to public, rigorous, and verifiable standards demonstrates our companies’ determination to develop this resource safely and responsibly,” says Bruce Niemeyer, President of Chevron Appalachia.
The focus on trying to make hydraulic fracturing safer rather than condemning the oil and gas industry for its lack of transparency is seen as a far better concession – and not just by the energy companies.
The environmental groups involved with CSSD have come to the conclusion that the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of resources will eventually be extracted one way or another, so partnering with the industry is the most sensible means of doing so safely.
Word of shale gas’ newest chapter will be music to investors’ ears.
Gas demand is already on a tear, as evident by the NYMEX Natural Gas Futures performance over the past year:
The fundamentals for natural gas’ longevity are in plain sight.
The nation’s pipeline network remains filled with an ever-growing volume of natural gas.
Kinder Morgan, for example, saw a 64% increase in natural gas pipeline revenue from the year before – and was the company’s biggest income earner.
And as many of America’s utilities continue to switch their electricity generation from coal to cheap natural gas… there’s really no telling how high demand will rise.
Now with the establishment of a third party certification program, we could be seeing a natural gas bull run for years to come.
How long the two sides will play nice together, no one knows for sure.
But as it stands for both groups, an era of cooperation seems like a far better alternative to hostile clashes.
Natural gas can only continue to benefit from this ongoing truce.
For a commodity that fell below $2 less than a year ago, its return to prominence is nothing short of astounding.
To be bullish on natural gas is an understatement.
If you’ve been on the fence all this time, I can’t think of a better opportunity to jump in than now.
Yours in profits,
for Top Stock Millionaire
- No Keystone XL? No Worries…
- The Two Best Stocks to Profit from Tighter Fracking Laws
- To Profit From The Next Shale Boom, Investors Should Look To…Argentina?
- Juice Your Portfolio With The Utica: America’s Newest Shale Frontier
- The Bakken Driller That’s Looking To Make An Extra $1 Billion A Year The Easy Way