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  #221  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2012, 1:02 AM
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http://www.pittsburghtoday.org/view_...wth_view1.html

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Total nonfarm job numbers for December 2011 in the Pittsburgh region were the highest for any December ever, increasing by 26,700 from December 2010. These numbers are even above pre-recession numbers, and the Pittsburgh region had a higher year-over-year increase (2.35%) than all of our benchmark regions. Pittsburgh numbers were particularly strong in natural resources, mining and construction (up 6.83%), wholesale trade (up 5.72%), and education and health services (up 4.33%).
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  #222  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2012, 10:07 PM
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Excellent and unsurprising news. Well maybe a little surprising in that The 'Burgh was that far ahead of the number two city.
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  #223  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2012, 10:18 PM
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All that is also why I wouldn't get too pessimistic on the vision thing. We haven't been a boom town for a long time, and the national finance markets are still barely thawing (note PNC is basically paying for the Tower out of cash it has lying around idle). With a little patience, though, things could pick up and eventually more attention-grabbing projects could get financed.
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  #224  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2012, 11:48 PM
TBone7281 TBone7281 is offline
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1/26/2012

Lot 24, getting swampy.




Not dev, just US Steel Tower through the rain and fog.

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  #225  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
All that is also why I wouldn't get too pessimistic on the vision thing. We haven't been a boom town for a long time, and the national finance markets are still barely thawing (note PNC is basically paying for the Tower out of cash it has lying around idle). With a little patience, though, things could pick up and eventually more attention-grabbing projects could get financed.
I also liked reading about Pittsburgh's growth in non-farming jobs. Hopefully One Grandview could be one of those projects that is able to secure financing. Has anyone thought of marketing that as TOD? Wouldn't such projects be easier to finance if they are within walking distance to public transportation? The Monongahela Incline, IMO, and in the opinion of other transportation planners, is considered public transit; it is owned by Port Authority and is used by many Mt. Washington residents commuting to Downtown or Station Square.
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  #226  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 3:41 PM
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Hopefully, the "discovery" that there isn't nearly as much natural gas (141tcf vs 410tcf according to the EIA and USGS) in the Marcellus shale formation than was previously trumpeted doesn't negatively affect the employment numbers above too much... considering the most significant increases (nat resources/mining/construction and wholesale trade) are directly attributable to the Marcellus boom. And considering planned production at companies like local firm Consol will decrease in 2012 and 2013...
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  #227  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 4:14 PM
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At a guess, any slowdown in drilling activity will be more than offset by increases in downstream activity (e.g., chemical plants). In my view the total size of the recoverable gas pool (which is a constantly evolving number) is more about how long this activity will last, as opposed to the pace of short-term activity.
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  #228  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 5:00 PM
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At a guess, any slowdown in drilling activity will be more than offset by increases in downstream activity (e.g., chemical plants). In my view the total size of the recoverable gas pool (which is a constantly evolving number) is more about how long this activity will last, as opposed to the pace of short-term activity.
Well, estimates of the total size of recoverable product in the Marcellus play has continued to decrease -- as is usually the case in natural resource extraction operations. Overestimates are always made to drum up support because that many more jobs will be "created".

And yes, it is certainly about how long the activity will last, but the employment number increases are short-term (Dec 2010 - Dec 2011) figures... and that's generally what I was referring to -- since activity is already set to decrease over the next 2 years.

As far as increases in downstream chemical plant activity... do you mean in the Pittsburgh region?
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  #229  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 5:17 PM
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Well, estimates of the total size of recoverable product in the Marcellus play has continued to decrease
To be more precise, for a while they were increasing, and now they are coming back down, although the new EIA number is not as low as some people were expecting after the USGS's new number came out during the summer (USGS put it at 84 TCF, and EIA just put it at 142 TCF). I don't actually think there is any conspiracy involved in all this--the EIA and USGS are just reacting to new information as it comes in, and this is such an inherently uncertain issue, and so early in the development of the field, that these estimates are very sensitive to such new information.

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As far as increases in downstream chemical plant activity... do you mean in the Pittsburgh region?
Yep. For example, Shell is planning for a conventional steam cracker somewhere in our area (PA, Ohio, and WVa are battling it out, but no matter which state "wins" it is going to be near Pittsburgh). RMG/Aither are also supposedly looking at a SWPA site for a new kind of cracker they claim is much more efficient. Of course cracker plants tend to attract a lot of other chemical firms as well.
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  #230  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 6:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
Hopefully, the "discovery" that there isn't nearly as much natural gas (141tcf vs 410tcf according to the EIA and USGS) in the Marcellus shale formation than was previously trumpeted doesn't negatively affect the employment numbers above too much... considering the most significant increases (nat resources/mining/construction and wholesale trade) are directly attributable to the Marcellus boom. And considering planned production at companies like local firm Consol will decrease in 2012 and 2013...
The slowdown in Marcellus hiring is happening... due to record low natural gas prices.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12027/1206355-503-0.stm

Quote:
Shale drillers see slowdown as natural gas prices decline

Friday, January 27, 2012
By Erich Schwartzel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Two of the region's most prominent energy firms Thursday reported their profits and revenues rose last year, but the record-low price of natural gas is forcing both to cut back on rapid-fire drilling.

Consol Energy became the latest company involved in tapping the Marcellus Shale to scale back that development, with the Cecil-based business announcing it had cut $130 million of its 2012 spending outlook from the Marcellus division and would hold off drilling 23 wells.

The reason: natural gas prices that can make it tough to turn any profit at all on a well that cost $7 million to build.

Downtown-based EQT Corp., Calgary-based Talisman Energy Corp. and Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy have announced similar reductions in recent weeks as the industry takes a breath and moves its rigs to shale regions loaded with more lucrative resources.

The strategy shifts are influenced as much by cold economic rules as they are by the unseasonably warm winter felt across the region.

In recent years, hydraulic fracturing technology has opened gas reserves that were once inaccessible, causing gas supplies to balloon. And warmer weather patterns this year have kept demand for natural gas low.

Prices have hovered below $3 per thousand cubic feet for weeks -- the kind of bargain basement prices that can force multinational conglomerates to revise an entire year's plans.

In Consol's case, the company's per-well net income dips into the red once natural gas starts trading at $2.74 per thousand cubic feet, said Brandon Elliot, vice president of investor relations. Gas prices closed at $2.60 per thousand cubic feet Thursday.

Consol is shifting focus to extracting from liquids-rich regions of shale where "wet" gas comes out of the ground loaded with valuable elements such as ethane. Those liquids trade at higher prices than regular natural gas, and more closely follow oil prices that are currently hovering around $100 per barrel.

...

I wouldn't freak out too much about this. An unseasonably warm winter shouldn't have long-term impacts on the industry here.

But more importantly... Pittsburgh's "economic miracle" was underway before Marcellus activity ramped up in the region... and it's a diversified economic growth that cuts across most sectors. Of the 27k jobs Pittsburgh added over the year... 3k were in "natural resources, mining".

The biggest contributor to regional economic growth is still...


That's an increase of over 10k jobs from 2010 to 2011 and now at 250k... represents almost 5 times as many employees as the "natural resources, mining" sector

Pittsburgh also had the top growth rate among "benchmark regions" in..

Financial Services


Trade, Transportation and Utilities
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  #231  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 6:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
Well, estimates of the total size of recoverable product in the Marcellus play has continued to decrease -- as is usually the case in natural resource extraction operations. Overestimates are always made to drum up support because that many more jobs will be "created".

And yes, it is certainly about how long the activity will last, but the employment number increases are short-term (Dec 2010 - Dec 2011) figures... and that's generally what I was referring to -- since activity is already set to decrease over the next 2 years.

As far as increases in downstream chemical plant activity... do you mean in the Pittsburgh region?

A few comments:

1) The numbers for the Marcellus Shale reserves have gone up and down like a yo-yo for the last few years. The latest numbers released are actually VERY close to the estimates the U.S. Geological Survey put out early to mid last year.

2) Drilling activity in the dry gas zones (predominately central/North Central PA) is definitely decreasing until natural gas prices start to rise at least a little over the $2.70 or so they are right now. However, here in SW PA, there's quite a bit of liquids as well as the gas (think oil), so this area will not see a decrease. If anything, there will be an increase in this region as the rigs move westward.

3) Remember, this estimate was only for the Marcellus. There's an even larger formation called the Utica Shale which seems to have much more oil associated with it, and the heart of the Utica is pretty much from Pittsburgh to Erie to pretty much Cleveland to Columbus... Also goes south of here into north-central West Virginia.

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  #232  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 6:41 PM
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Yep. For example, Shell is planning for a conventional steam cracker somewhere in our area (PA, Ohio, and WVa are battling it out, but no matter which state "wins" it is going to be near Pittsburgh). RMG/Aither are also supposedly looking at a SWPA site for a new kind of cracker they claim is much more efficient. Of course cracker plants tend to attract a lot of other chemical firms as well.
Oh, possible future chemical plants. That's right. I did hear about Shell recently. It would be good for western PA's plastics industry. I was thinking that you were referring to existing chemical plants (ethane crackers) in the area -- of which I was unaware of any major operations.

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Originally Posted by Evergrey View Post
The slowdown in Marcellus hiring is happening... due to record low natural gas prices.

I wouldn't freak out too much about this. An unseasonably warm winter shouldn't have long-term impacts on the industry here.

But more importantly... Pittsburgh's "economic miracle" was underway before Marcellus activity ramped up in the region... and it's a diversified economic growth that cuts across most sectors. Of the 27k jobs Pittsburgh added over the year... 3k were in "natural resources, mining".

The biggest contributor to regional economic growth is still...


That's an increase of over 10k jobs from 2010 to 2011 and now at 250k... represents almost 5 times as many employees as the "natural resources, mining" sector

Pittsburgh also had the top growth rate among "benchmark regions" in..

Financial Services


Trade, Transportation and Utilities
Oh I realize that the planned slowdown is not due to smaller reserves. I know that it's due to low prices/large supply on the market. And I know that the greatest # of jobs have been added in the healthcare/education sector. I was just noting the the greatest % increases in jobs per sector were seen in industries directly related to natural gas -- mining/nat resources, wholesale trade/transportation/utilities -- and just wondered if those increases will be as favorable when the numbers come out over the next few years, due to the planned slowdown in production activity... along with forecasts made with less available gross resource added to the picture.

I'm very glad to see Pittsburgh continuing to expand in healthcare/education (presumably employment increases at UPMC and Highmark have much to do with it as they've increased their sizes over 5x in the past decade), though it does concern me that they hold nonprofit status... and that the city does not get more bang for its buck out of them.
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  #233  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 6:46 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is online now
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Yep, the "wet" gas Marcellus/Utica overlap region, of which we are a part, pretty much has the lowest overall break-even price, so will be the last man standing and may even somewhat benefit from lower market prices.

But ultimately, low prices should help increase demand--power plant conversions, vehicle conversions, home conversions, industrial conversions, and so on. So that's the next turn of the wheel I am watching (investment in such conversions), and if gas prices continue to stay so low in relation to oil prices, we should see that ramping up.
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  #234  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 6:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
Oh, possible future chemical plants. That's right. I did hear about Shell recently. It would be good for western PA's plastics industry. I was thinking that you were referring to existing chemical plants (ethane crackers) in the area -- of which I was unaware of any major operations.
Right, the first jobs and such would mostly be in fields like construction, then there would be jobs in the plants, and then jobs further downstream and upstream. My thought is all that may end up offsetting a slowdown in drilling activity, but obviously that remains to be seen.
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  #235  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2012, 7:25 PM
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Oh, possible future chemical plants. That's right. I did hear about Shell recently. It would be good for western PA's plastics industry.
Which would be good for Erie.
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  #236  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2012, 12:32 AM
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http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_778737.html

Quote:
Developers sign lease with Nakama that could jump-start Federal/North project

By Thomas Olson, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, January 27, 2012
Last updated: 1:11 pm


Developers of a long-blighted North Side block at North Avenue and Federal Street said today they signed a lease with Nakama restaurant, which should help jump-start development there.

Nakama, the popular Japanese steak house and sushi bar on the South Side, will take 5,000 square feet in the Masonic Building at North and Reddour Street, said co-developer Craig Tottino.

"They are viewed as an anchor for the Federal/North project," said Tottino, co-owner of Collaborative Ventures, Mt. Lebanon. The firm and Zukin Development, Philadelphia, formed Allegheny City Development Group, the joint venture that's developing the block.

The limestone and brick Masonic Building sits next to the Garden Theatre, a shuttered adult movie house. Developers have yet to secure a tenant for that space, said Tottino.


Read more: Developers sign lease with Nakama that could jump-start Federal/North project - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1khzJaVVj
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  #237  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2012, 5:02 AM
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The design of that building looks very similar to the Nakima restaurant in Southside. Should be a good use for the building. Are the upper floors going to be apartments or office space?
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  #238  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2012, 2:04 PM
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I'm really excited about Nakama signing a lease on the North Side. That project wouldn't have been able to get off the ground without a good tenant. Hopefully they keep some of the architectural integrity.

I don't know that the lower estimates on the Marcellus gas is going to have that big of an impact. Obviously a couple of the large drillers are going to slow down a bit, but we are still close to the beginning of this process. I work with a lot of Marcellus related companies and they are expanding like crazy - its pretty constant. A lot of companies are just starting to look at the region.

If the cracker plant lands in Aliquippa (and I am guessing it will) then you could see a huge influx of jobs in Beaver County.
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  #239  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2012, 8:56 PM
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Originally Posted by markson33 View Post
I'm really excited about Nakama signing a lease on the North Side. That project wouldn't have been able to get off the ground without a good tenant. Hopefully they keep some of the architectural integrity.

I don't know that the lower estimates on the Marcellus gas is going to have that big of an impact. Obviously a couple of the large drillers are going to slow down a bit, but we are still close to the beginning of this process. I work with a lot of Marcellus related companies and they are expanding like crazy - its pretty constant. A lot of companies are just starting to look at the region.

If the cracker plant lands in Aliquippa (and I am guessing it will) then you could see a huge influx of jobs in Beaver County.
Speaking of the possible cracker plant development, found this on the Tribune-Review website:

Quote:
Pennsylvania eyes tax deals to lure Shell's 'ethane cracker'
By Timothy Puko
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, January 28, 2012


Big businesses could be in line for millions of dollars in new tax breaks in Pennsylvania under legislation that may be critical in the state's bid to best Ohio and West Virginia for a petrochemicals plant.

The bill has quietly moved toward passage as state officials court Royal Dutch Shell plc, which plans to spend as much as $4 billion to build an "ethane cracker" in the tri-state area. The plant would create several hundred jobs.

Senate Bill 1237 would expand Keystone Opportunity Zones, special areas that grant businesses broad tax cuts, credits and exemptions to spur economic development. Businesses that invest at least $1 billion and create at least 400 permanent, full-time jobs would get an extra five years of tax breaks -- 15 years in all -- with more breaks for manufacturing and processing businesses, under provisions in the bill.

"By far, (Keystone Opportunity Zones are) a huge competitive advantage for the commonwealth when companies are looking at Pennsylvania," said Steve Kratz, spokesman for the state Department of Community and Economic Development. "The first thing they say to our program office is that 'we're interested in Keystone Opportunity Zones.' "

The Corbett administration supports the legislation because it generally supports the Keystone Opportunity Zones as a way to pump investment into struggling areas that otherwise might not attract it, Kratz said. He declined to discuss what the state has offered Shell.

State leaders have closely guarded their talks with Shell. Offering a sweetened Keystone Opportunity Zone is probably the best way to compete with Ohio and West Virginia, several former state economic officials said.

SB 1237 would allow for 15 new zone expansions statewide. Billion-dollar investors would get an extra five years of no taxes, and manufacturing and processing businesses would get new breaks on state corporate income and capital stock franchise taxes.

The benefits would easily be worth millions of dollars to Shell, political officials and experts said.

Industry estimates claim a $3.2 billion ethane cracker, which would take advantage of the region's burgeoning natural gas business to convert gases into products such as plastic, could create 17,000 jobs in Pennsylvania's chemical industry.

Other manufacturing plants are likely to grow or be built to buy and work with the plastics that Shell creates, sparking officials in the three states to fight for a rare chance to revitalize their chemical industries.

"It has been the most powerful tool we have had in competing for business," said state Sen. John Blake, D-Scranton, a co-sponsor and former acting secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development. "The benefits of the KOZ are powerful enough that they'll drive a business decision."

There are more than 60 Keystone Opportunity Zones in the nine Western Pennsylvania counties, including several in Beaver County.

The Aliquippa Industrial Park on the Ohio River in Beaver County includes a Keystone Opportunity Zone. That former LTV Steel site has 300 to 400 acres of available space, access to freight rail and a dock. Owner Charles J. Betters declined comment, citing confidentiality agreements.

Though they would support using the legislation to court Shell, Blake and another co-sponsor, Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, said they signed on because they believe in the Keystone Opportunity Zone program.

Officials in the governor's office and House leadership said the bill was introduced irrespective of Shell's plans, but they acknowledged that the program and the measure are helpful.

The legislation awaits a fiscal note in the House Appropriations Committee, and leaders plan to bring it up for a full vote when they resume work next month, said House Republican spokesman Stephen Miskin.



Read more: Pennsylvania eyes tax deals to lure Shell's 'ethane cracker' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1kmwPXo29
Considering this, I really hope Pennsylvania comes out on top here.

Also, there was an article about AVR asking the Port Authority for advice on how to develop the rail line from Steel Plaza out to Arnold. From the looks of things, it looks like financing for this project is already in place.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_778873.html
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  #240  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2012, 9:14 PM
TBone7281 TBone7281 is offline
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Any driving by the Civic Arena today might notice that the scenery is a little bit different.

If I had known they were going to start dropping the roof today I would have gone down to watch.

Video of the drop from the Official Pens site:
http://video.penguins.nhl.com/videoc...b_iphone%3Ac.m
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