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Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class

--By Josh Mandel

In American high schools, it is becoming increasingly hard to defend the vanishing of shop class from the curriculum. The trend began in the 1970s, when it became conventional wisdom that a four-year college degree was essential. As Forbes magazine reported in 2012, 90% of shop classes have been eliminated for the Los Angeles unified school district’s 660,000 students. Yet a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics study shows that 48% of all college graduates are working in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.

Too many young people have four-year liberal-arts degrees, are thousands of dollars in debt and find themselves serving coffee at Starbucks or working part-time at the mall. Many of them would have been better off with a two-year skilled-trade or technical education that provides the skills to secure a well-paying job.

A good trade to consider: welding. I recently visited Pioneer Pipe in the Utica and Marcellus shale area of Ohio and learned that last year the company paid 60 of its welders more than $150,000 and two of its welders over $200,000. The owner, Dave Archer, said he has had to turn down orders because he can’t find enough skilled welders.

Read more:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303663604579501801872226532

 
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Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

Tecnico - operaioBy KEVIN BEGOS

PITTSBURGH After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.

That vocal support from blue-collar workers complicates efforts by environmentalists to limit the drilling process known as fracking.

“The shale became a lifesaver and a lifeline for a lot of working families,” said Dennis Martire, the mid-Atlantic regional manager for the Laborers’ International Union, or LIUNA, which represents workers in numerous construction trades.

Martire said that as huge quantities of natural gas were extracted from the vast shale reserves over the last five years, union work on large pipeline jobs in Pennsylvania and West Virginia has increased significantly. In 2008, LIUNA members worked about 400,000 hours on such jobs; by 2012, that had risen to 5.7 million hours.

Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says total employment in the nation’s oil and gas industry rose from about 120,000 in early 2004 to about 208,000 last month. Less than 10 percent of full-time oil and gas industry workers are represented by unions.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/20/4853664/fracking-foes-cringe-as-unions.html#.U1UkkKZOVHh#storylink=cpy

 

 
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Fracking Sand Spurs Grain-Like Silos for Rail Transport

rail tracks (2)By Thomas Black

The U.S. shale oil boom is putting millions of tons of sand onto North American railroads, enabling carriers to pack trains full instead of hauling just a handful of cars at a time.

With help from Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) and Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway Co., the sleepy silica sand industry that once mostly supplied glassmakers now ships more than 20 million tons of the material a year. Buyers including Halliburton Co. (HAL) and Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) use the sand in hydraulic fracturing at oil fields in Texas and North Dakota.

Miners such as Emerge Energy Services LP, U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. (SLCA) and Hi-Crush Partners LP (HCLP) are taking a page from the grain industry’s playbook to deliver sand faster and cheaper. They’re building facilities at their mines to load unit trains, which move just one type of cargo, and near oil fields to empty them.

“The customers more and more are saying ‘We don’t want the headache of logistics. That’s on you,’” Rick Shearer, chief executive officer of Southlake, Texas-based Emerge (EMES), said in an April 14 phone interview. “We’ve scrambled to put in a network of storage and trans-load sites all over North America.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/fracking-sand-spurs-grain-like-silos-for-rail-transport.html

 
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Gastar Exploration begins drilling new well in Utica Shale

oil drilling rig on oilfieldGastar Exploration, Inc. announced it began drilling its first Utica/Point Pleasant well on April 3, 2014. Gastar explores and develops drilling opportunities for oil and natural gas in the U.S. Its current projects focus on the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia, the Hunton Limestone play in Oklahoma and now the Utica Shale in Ohio.

The Utica Shale is yielding large amounts of natural gas and crude oil from wells in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Drilling in these locations was difficult before the development of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing because of the depth and limited permeability of the area. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates there are 13.26 billion barrels of oil that have migrated to conventional reservoirs in the Utica-Point Pleasant formation.

Read more:

http://www.youroilandgasnews.com/gastar+exploration+begins+drilling+new+well+in+utica+shale_100683.html

 
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Will the U.S. Declare Oil Independence in 2037?

US Flag-Map Inner Shadowby Jim Offner

Mark the year 2037 on your calendars.

That’s the year the U.S. will not have to import any more oil, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The new Independence Day,” joked Phil Flynn, energy analyst with Chicago-based Price Futures Group.

But, he actually was serious.

“Since the Arab Oil Embargo, it’s been our nation’s goal to become energy independent, and there’s been a lot done in that time to use less oil and become more fuel-efficient.”

Advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling get much of the credit. Technology now can squeeze oil out of rocks. And, with net oil imports down from 13 million barrels a day in 2006 to about 5 million now, the U.S. is rising as a power player in the energy business, where it once was a craven customer that would pay whatever price one despot or another commanded. The U.S. is now actually positioning itself as the world’s dominant – and reliable — energy producer.

Read more:

http://www.govtech.com/transportation/Will-the-US-Declare-Oil-Independence-in-2037.html

 
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