Some of the best energy news in recent years is the discovery of massive oil and gas reserves in the Bakken and Marcellus fields, among others. Thanks to advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), deposits once thought unprofitable have now created an economic boom in Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and other places where it is being used. In the long term, this can only lead to greater reserves, lower world prices for crude oil, and lower prices for aviation fuel.
In the short term however, airport managers in these regions are reporting brisk business.
Heather Blokzyl, manager of the Bradford County (PA) Airport (N27) in Towanda, recently reported “The Marcellus gas fields have been great for my airport, especially fuel sales. We see many corporate aircraft from Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, for instance King Airs and Pilatus PC-12s. Helicopters are also used frequently to move people from site to site. For every major project, 100 companies are involved, and many have their own aircraft. We are now expanding our airport.”
Once again, the unique ability of general aviation to support industry is proving itself. Our airports will play a key role in opening up even more shale and sand deposits that are found across the country, as this DOE/EIA map shows. It will be interesting to watch how this large new domestic supply of oil and gas will impact the price we pay for fossil fuels in the coming years.
The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., an expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer, aviation sales rep for U-Fuel, and president of EAA1114.
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