Adaptation can be a game-changer

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The support system for Marcellus Shale has grown over the past several years in several directions, bringing changes to businesses that have adapted to take advantage of new opportunities presented by this still-new source of energy.


There’s the ever-increasing supply chain as well as trade groups that have formed to support the efforts of deriving natural gas from shale as well as supporting an energy spectrum that also includes solar, wind, coal and nuclear.


There’s a longtime familiarity with drilling for gas in Western Pennsylvania that many families know well.


Two of those who learned about shallow-well drilling firsthand from their father are Bob and Brian McCarrier who, now run a supply business the father started 45 years ago.


But when the McCarrier brothers began approaching Marcellus Shale drilling companies about how they could service them, they soon learned their approach would have to be a little like the shale itself: somewhat unconventional.


This month, The Energy Report profiles the McCarriers and their Interstate Pipe and Supply Co. and how they navigated their way to doing business with companies working in the region’s shale strata.


Around the time the McCarriers were figuring out how to approach unconventional shale drillers for business, Houston-based Falcon Technologies, which started work in Texas’s Barnett Shale region by cleaning up recently completed well sites, discovered its niche by helping to make recently completed wells and fracking sites environmentally safe by installing safeguards.


We look at the ways both companies increased their opportunities in the industries by changing their approach.


This month’s report also profiles the Consumer Energy Alliance, a trade organization that promotes diversified energy use by looking at the ways energy is consumed by business and industrial users.


Adaptation has also come from the industry itself.


As the Marcellus has become one of the most productive U.S. shale stratas, its producers have looked for new markets to develop for abundant methane as well as natural gas liquids like propane and ethane.


Our update on the Mariner East pipeline project being undertaken by Sunoco Inc. shows how locally produced liquids will soon find their way to those markets.


Columnist Jeff Kotula discusses the impact the local energy market – particularly that derived from unconventional shale – has had on recent economic development projects in Washington County.


And finally, columnist J.R. Shaw reminds us that as the winter season ebbs, spring is just around the corner, with a list of events to draw everyone back to the outdoors.


As another page of the calendar is about to turn, and a new season is ready to arrive, adaptation is the theme everywhere you look.


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