Appalachian Basin gets its own Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit for STEM students

Avatar Donna Wheeler

For the very first time the Appalachian basin will be getting its very own MOLU. The MOLU, or Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit, is a traveling exhibition run by...

For the very first time the Appalachian basin will be getting its very own MOLU. The MOLU, or Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit, is a traveling exhibition run by the Oilfield Energy Center that teaches students in grades 5-8 about energy and the technologies and sciences involved with the oil and natural gas industry.

The MOLU has six individual stations comprised of four activities per station, creating 24 unique educational activities for students. Students travel around in pairs, spending a few minutes at each station learning, filling out an accompanying “MOLU Pass” and exploring the hands on materials – like a robotic arm and a microscope. Each session is around 90 minutes long, with pre and post visit materials to demonstrate the gained knowledge.

Cabot, Williams and Southwestern Energy sponsored the MOLU when it traveled to Pennsylvania and visited over 20 different schools across the northeastern part of the state over the last two years. Due to its popularity, Cabot, Williams, Southwestern Energy, Shell, and Schlumberger all collaborated to help fund the creation of a brand new MOLU. This MOLU, called the MOLU III, will be permanently stationed in Pennsylvania and brought to middle schools throughout the northeast.

Before this, MOLU I and II were only available in Louisiana and Texas. Since the creation of the MOLU I in 2008, it has visited almost 800 schools, bringing science to life for nearly 104,000 students. In addition, Cabot Oil & Gas, UGI Energy Services, and Williams collaborated to acquaint teachers and administrators in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties with the educational components needed for employment in the natural gas industry via the Oilfield Education Center (OEC). More recently, the MOLU III visited West Virginia for the very first time to educate students from The Linsly School in Wheeling at the end of October.

With the MOLU, students learn about many topics related to the natural gas industry like geology, engineering, physics, chemistry, history, environmental studies, and more. The MOLU activities correlate with Next Generation National Science Standards and are based around the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subjects. The activities illustrate concepts that are often new to students like porosity, permeability, distillation, and thermal energy and how they relate to the energy industry.

The goal of the MOLU is to not only educate kids about the oil and natural gas industry but to also encourage interest in these career fields. According to an IHS report prepared for the American Petroleum Institute (API), there will be nearly 1.9 million direct job opportunities projected through 2035 in the oil & natural gas and petrochemical industries which speak to the continuing importance of these industries in the U.S. economy as a whole and to individuals and families looking for well-paying career opportunities. With Pennsylvania being the second largest producer of natural gas in the country, the state will be among the few that support this coming workforce demand. With that, it is critical to engage current students with interactive programs like the MOLU in order to encourage interest in the industry.

The MOLU is available to visit your school! To obtain a specific quote, make your reservation, or for more details, please contact Oilfield Energy Center at (713) 840-1753 or email at oecmolu@oceanstaroec.com

For more information about the MOLU III, download the brochure.

Donna Wheeler is the Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit manager.

Avatar Donna Wheeler

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Natural gas, education collaborations prepare next generation of workers

Avatar Alice Davis

Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale was a blessing when its natural gas reserves were discovered more than a decade ago. We continue to reap its benefits today, from the local...

Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale was a blessing when its natural gas reserves were discovered more than a decade ago. We continue to reap its benefits today, from the local economic impact we see here in Susquehanna County to the cleaner air we’re experiencing as natural gas end use continues to overtake traditional fuels. Millions of Americans are benefiting from this resource every day, and the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC) is no different.

The SCCTC works to train students in a wide range of careers, including cosmetology, automotive technology, massage therapy and welding technology. Thanks to a partnership with a local natural gas company, Cabot Oil & Gas, our welding students recently got to work on a project in which they built a plunger lift training unit for the company. Projects like these teach the students about career paths they might not have thought about pursuing after graduation.

Collaborations like the one with Cabot are a clear example of the benefit we extend to students and the community. The SCCTC is providing a growing, professionally trained, homegrown workforce to an industry that will be here for decades to come. In fact, last year, our welding program had two students pass their API test for pipe welding. One student went on to work as a pipeline welder for Linde, and the other was accepted into the boilermakers union. Both of these opportunities are rare for an 18- or 19-year-old, especially because pipeline welders on average make $80,000 a year.

Domestic natural gas development provides families with low-cost energy and high-paying jobs. Only by expanding natural gas access and use will we create more competitive jobs for residents of Pennsylvania’s northern tier and Americans across the country.

Dr. Alice Davis is executive director of the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center in Springville, Pennsylvania.

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Exec: Natural gas industry helps eliminate energy poverty

Avatar Joe Massaro

  Natural gas is helping eliminate energy poverty nationally and globally, according to remarks made this morning at Shale Insight. “The gas we’re developing right here in the...

 

Natural gas is helping eliminate energy poverty nationally and globally, according to remarks made this morning at Shale Insight.

“The gas we’re developing right here in the Appalachian basin is leading to lower energy prices for consumers across the country,” said Sarah Battisti (pictured above), Southwestern Energy vice president of government and community affairs.

Stanford Natural Gas Initiative’s managing director Bradley Ritts also discussed the problem of access to energy, telling the crowd that reliable electricity is not available to 1.2 billion people globally.

“Clearly, there’s a gap between energy access in the developing world and the resources that we have,” Ritts said.

Three billion people worldwide use biomass for cooking fuel, Ritts said, because “they do not have access to other sources of cooking fuel and home heating.”

This use of biomass has led to deforestation, air pollution, smoke and particulate matter indoors, and health issues, Ritts noted.

“Is limited energy access the cause of poverty or the result of poverty?” Ritts asked.

As the U.S. promotes natural gas globally, developing countries will be afforded immediate greenhouse gas reductions and additional air quality benefits due to decreased coal dependence, Ritts said.

“The growth of [liquefied natural gas] supply has led to lower global prices, enabling more countries to become importers, making energy access affordable,” Ritts said.

Maribeth Anderson, West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association director and board president, told Shale Insight attendees that they need to “absolutely look forward” to future opportunities.

“Make no mistake,” Anderson told the crowd at the David L. Lawrence Center, “the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays are some of the most prolific shale plays in history.”

The Stream is continuing to cover the final day of Shale Insight 2017, so follow us here and on Twitter (@TheStream_Hub) for all the latest.

 

Avatar Joe Massaro

Joe Massaro is based in Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office and has deep energy industry expertise. He previously served as the field director for a Pennsylvania-based oil and gas industry grassroots PR firm.

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10 things you probably didn’t know were made from natural gas

Avatar Joe Massaro

Natural gas is an indispensable part of our everyday lives. It’s in most of what we touch and interact with on a daily basis. Here are some things...

Natural gas is an indispensable part of our everyday lives. It’s in most of what we touch and interact with on a daily basis. Here are some things we spotted at Shale Insight that were made with natural gas:

1. Foam footballs

2. Fabric markers

Marker GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

3. Magic 8-Balls

Matt Cutshall GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

4. Swiss Army knives

Disney GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

5. Golf balls

Golf GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

6. Condiment containers

Fail GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

7. Plastic coffee cup lids

8. Water bottles

Water GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

9. Prescription and pill containers

Buzzfeed GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

10. Toothpaste bottles

Toothpaste GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

What swag did you pick up at Shale Insight? Let us know on Twitter (@TheStream_Hub).

Image source: giphy.com

Avatar Joe Massaro

Joe Massaro is based in Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office and has deep energy industry expertise. He previously served as the field director for a Pennsylvania-based oil and gas industry grassroots PR firm.

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Shale Insight 2017: The Stream’s Day 1 recap

Avatar Joe Massaro

Shale Insight 2017 got off to a fantastic start Wednesday. Presenters gave the attendees plenty of information, from the announcement of PA Forge the Future to a prediction...

Shale Insight 2017 got off to a fantastic start Wednesday.

Presenters gave the attendees plenty of information, from the announcement of PA Forge the Future to a prediction by Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette that the United States is moving toward global energy dominance.

The Stream was there to cover it all. Check out our video recap of Shale Insight 2017 Day 1, and keep checking back here and on Twitter (@TheStream_Hub) for all the news from Day 2.

Avatar Joe Massaro

Joe Massaro is based in Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office and has deep energy industry expertise. He previously served as the field director for a Pennsylvania-based oil and gas industry grassroots PR firm.

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Video: After drilling, natural gas companies prioritize road restoration

Avatar Joe Massaro

For drilling companies, it’s about more than just about drilling a well; it’s about maintaining good relations with the community. The Stream caught up with Wendy Driscoll, director...

For drilling companies, it’s about more than just about drilling a well; it’s about maintaining good relations with the community.

The Stream caught up with Wendy Driscoll, director of business development for energy services at Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., at Shale Insight to discuss the measures energy companies are taking to make sure road quality is in many cases better than when activity began.

Follow The Stream on Twitter for all the latest from Shale Insight, and sign up for our email newsletter for a full recap.

Avatar Joe Massaro

Joe Massaro is based in Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office and has deep energy industry expertise. He previously served as the field director for a Pennsylvania-based oil and gas industry grassroots PR firm.

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See you at Shale Insight!

Avatar Joe Massaro

  Our team is heading to Shale Insight Sept. 27-28 in Pittsburgh to capture on-the-ground reporting from the nation’s leading forum for public-private dialogue on shale development. We...

 

Our team is heading to Shale Insight Sept. 27-28 in Pittsburgh to capture on-the-ground reporting from the nation’s leading forum for public-private dialogue on shale development.

We plan to share interviews, recaps and insights from some of the top industry voices and attendees.

Don’t miss an update: Follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our email newsletter for your front row seat.

Attending Shale Insight? Look for The Stream Team and say hello! You won’t be able to miss us.

Shale-Insight-Team

Avatar Joe Massaro

Joe Massaro is based in Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office and has deep energy industry expertise. He previously served as the field director for a Pennsylvania-based oil and gas industry grassroots PR firm.

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When It Comes to Energy Talking About The Stats Is Not Always Enough

Avatar Steve Kratz

Understanding an audience is the key to any effective messaging strategy. Continuity in messaging is important, but ultimately, it’s the supporting facts that can make or break an...

Understanding an audience is the key to any effective messaging strategy. Continuity in messaging is important, but ultimately, it’s the supporting facts that can make or break an entire effort – this is especially true for the energy industry.

Take for instance the following statements: Pennsylvania is now the second in the nation for natural gas production behind only Texas. In 2014, gross natural gas production exceeded four trillion cubic feet. In 2011, Pennsylvania became a net exporter of natural gas.

To energy insiders these statistics and achievements represent the rapid and impressive rise of Pennsylvania as a major player on the global energy stage. However, to the average Pennsylvanian, these facts do very little to sway their opinion about the energy industry in one way or the other.

While Pennsylvanians understand that these statistics are indeed impressive, the failure to equate how these facts and figures benefit their community and a consumer’s bottom line results in a messaging strategy that is coming up short. So let’s take a step forward.

Pennsylvania’s ascent to become the nation’s second largest producing state of natural gas has led to economic growth, new jobs and lower energy costs in the commonwealth.  

While everyone can agree that these are all good things for the state as whole, we still need to dive deeper to reach and move our audience. Now that the winter cold is finally upon us, let’s focus in on lower energy costs.

Approximately 189,000 Pennsylvania households use propane for home heating.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average residential propane price for the Central Atlantic Region, which includes Pennsylvania, has dropped from  $2.87 per gallon in January 2015 to an average of $2.64 in January 2016  – a difference of -$0.23.1  

For residential consumers, that’s an estimated savings of $57.50 per 250 gallon fill and $115 per 500 gallon fill compared to last year’s cost for the same fills in January.

For large-scale commercial and industrial consumers, the savings will vary based on daily usage. For our purposes, let’s use an industrial consumer using approximately 100 gallons of propane per day. At today’s prices, that would be a savings of $8,395 for the year when compared to last year. Those are real tangible savings for consumers due almost entirely to the proliferation of shale gas development in the region.

And that’s just propane.

According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, natural gas prices are currently 38 percent lower than they were one year ago, and electric prices are dropping based on a reduction in wholesale prices thanks to lower gas prices.

These energy savings equal more money in residential consumers’ pockets, additional operating funds for commercial and industrial users, additional reach for organizations that provide natural gas and propane to low-income families as a heating source but cannot afford it, and the list of benefits goes on. 

This is one concrete example of how Pennsylvanians are directly benefiting from the development of natural gas in the region – a benefit to communities and a positive impact on the average consumer’s bottom line.

Without a doubt energy development is having a transformational, positive impact on Pennsylvania, but it’s up to energy companies to go beyond the statistics and achievements that are important to the industry and instead focus on the tangible and real benefits that are important to all Pennsylvanians.

Avatar Steve Kratz

Steve Kratz is a Director at Bravo Group and handles the interests of the company's energy practice clients, applying his knowledge of state economics to coordinate their community and business interests.

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Overcoming Fake News is Key to Our Energy Future

Avatar Adam Pope
a group of pinocchio marionettes

How Fake News and Forged Facts Hurt Infrastructure Development This is Infrastructure Week across America. It is taking place with events, media coverage and advocacy initiatives to rally...

How Fake News and Forged Facts Hurt Infrastructure Development

This is Infrastructure Week across America. It is taking place with events, media coverage and advocacy initiatives to rally support for infrastructure development.

Pipeline infrastructure is critical to our country’s energy future, independence and economic prosperity, linking our abundant natural resources to power generation facilities,  customers, manufacturers and other end users. Check Twitter, Facebook and Google for hits on “pipelines” or “fracking,” however, and you might find a different story.

In the energy space, we are drowning in fake news, a new reality of forged “facts” and false information that spreads rampantly and negatively impacts the ability to finish pipeline infrastructure projects as planned, bringing jobs and economic development. Among concrete regulatory and logistical hurdles, overcoming fake news is one of the energy industry’s biggest challenges.

Here are examples of fake news, followed by the truth that was a bit more difficult to find.

  • False: Dakota Access Pipeline to Run through Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Sacred Land
    True: The Dakota Access Pipeline route does not cross any land belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux, despite the massive protests, demonstrations and celebrity testimonials claiming otherwise.
  • False: Pipelines are Dangerous and Unsafe
    True: Pipelines are the safest, most effective method to transport natural gas and natural gas liquids.

This is a small snapshot of the information percolating among anti-pipeline activists. Just this month, the pro-industry group Texans for Natural Gas posted an open letter to Google asking the site to adjust its algorithm to demote anti-fracking websites in search results. The group believes this “will encourage a more honest public discussion about hydraulic fracturing, and oil and natural gas development in general.”

Of course, all constituents have the right to organize, protest and be heard. The danger in this new reality is the use of fear-mongering and false information to mobilize grassroots action and influence public opinion.

So how does the energy industry make progress toward overcoming fake news?

The answer: community education.

Energy companies must invest in comprehensive community education programs that address project concerns at every level. A one-size-fits-all approach to communications won’t cut it.

A successful community education campaign integrates a broad mix of communications tactics and messaging. Companies that successfully communicate with their constituents speak to all impacted stakeholders in ways those stakeholders want to receive their information.

Open, honest communication regarding energy projects is the best policy when working with communities. Learn more about our Energy Infrastructure Services.

Avatar Adam Pope

Adam Pope is Senior Director of Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office. With extensive background in energy and experience in the public and private sector, Adam provides a comprehensive perspective on the industry landscape.

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The 4 Keys To Building Industry Outreach and Education for Community Stakeholders

Avatar Chris Getman

Why national Infrastructure Week needs to lead localized public outreach program efforts My colleague Adam Pope recently wrote about the energy industry’s challenge of overcoming fake news. In...

Why national Infrastructure Week needs to lead localized public outreach program efforts

My colleague Adam Pope recently wrote about the energy industry’s challenge of overcoming fake news. In this era of forged facts that mobilize grassroots opposition, community outreach education is critically important to effectively engage local stakeholders.

This Infrastructure Week can help bring focus to elevating the conversation on the need for sound infrastructure across America. It can also be a step forward in advancing the conversation on a national level. While nationwide education helps raise awareness, energy companies must build trusted relationships with people who are directly impacted by their projects at the community level.

One critical mistake energy companies can make when planning community outreach is assuming all communities are the same.

A one-size-fits-all approach to community education can be quickly identified as inauthentic. Outreach must be specifically tailored to the unique makeup of the residents and stakeholders in the project area — from source preference to the type of information.

The bottom line: Know your audience.

Bravo Group develops public outreach programs on behalf of our energy infrastructure clients to help educate impacted communities. Our first step is always focused on learning as much as we can about the people who will be impacted by the project — community stakeholders.

Here are four questions to help understand your stakeholders:

  1. Who are all potential audiences? Residents along the pipeline route will be a primary audience to work with, but who are the nontraditional groups that will be affected? These can range from township officials and small-business owners to school districts and emergency responders.
  2. How do they like to receive information? This can vary drastically by region. It can include a range of media, from direct mail to Facebook to town hall meetings. In today’s world of limitless media consumption choices, it’s essential we provide information to people where and when they want to receive it.
  3. Whom do they trust? Do community members consider their elected officials most trustworthy? Is there a local business or clergy leader who is seen as the “town elder”? Because companies are often viewed as the least credible, with only corporate interests in mind, it’s imperative to identify the trusted local leaders and develop a respectful and open working relationship. This focus will have positive outcomes on the project.
  4. What about the project might they find concerning or troublesome? What are the primary concerns of each stakeholder group? How can we address those concerns in our community outreach? Residents are likely to be interested in learning about safety precautions and protocols, while small-business owners will want to understand if the project will yield business impacts. We employ market research techniques to zero in on these discrete concerns, and we use that information to build our education programs.

From a community education standpoint, effectively moving a project to completion takes a significant investment in knowing and understanding the people who will be impacted. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t be effective, and energy companies that make the investment at the local level will find it a much more strategic method for building an effective stakeholder outreach program.

This article originally appeared in BravoChat.

Avatar Chris Getman

Chris Getman is a public relations, corporate communications and issue advocacy expert with concentrated expertise in the energy industry.

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