Abandoned Buildings Grant to Provide Momentum for City of Glenville

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer County Economic Development Association has received a technical assistance grant valued at $10,000 through the 2015 Brownfields, Abandoned, Dilapidated (BAD) Buildings Technical Assistance program to address barriers to the reuse and redevelopment of abandoned and dilapidated buildings in the City of Glenville.

The BAD Buildings Program grant was awarded to The Gilmer County Economic Development Association by the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center. The program provides technical assistance and expertise to assist communities in West Virginia to create a redevelopment plan for its strategically located abandoned, vacant, and dilapidated properties.

The City of Glenville was one of only 9 projects awarded statewide to receive a 2015 BAD Buildings Program technical assistance grant. 

City of Glenville Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick said he was supportive of Mr. Campbell in this endeavor.  The award of the BAD Buildings technical assistance grant will provide the necessary tools and resources for improving planning and property utilization in the City of Glenville according to Jeff Campbell.  The Bad Buildings award and the associated planning activities will provide a forum and processes to improve planning for all community stakeholders.  An initial information meeting for all interested community stakeholders is being planned and an announcement will be made in the coming weeks.

Luke Elser, BAD Buildings Program Manager says, “The BAD Buildings model provides an initial stepping stone for revitalization efforts by initiating redevelopment progress and spurring community involvement.  The NBAC looks forward to working with the City of Glenville and its community partners on this project.”

The BAD Buildings Program is funded through a grant from the Benedum Foundation through the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for West Virginia University.

Information about the BAD Buildings Program can be found at  The Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, located at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal & Energy.


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Discovery Education 3M: Young Scientist Challenge

With the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, students have the opportunity to create an engaging one- to two-minute science video that communicates one of the following scientific concepts: preventing the spread of germs/disease; food safety; sun protection; or wind-resistant structures.

Maximum award: $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds; a trip to 3M’s World Headquarters in St. Paul, MN; contest trophy, and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.“

Eligibility: all legal U.S. residents who are students enrolled in 5th through 8th grade at a public, private, parochial, or home school located in one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia.

Deadline: April 21, 2015.

CSX Transportation: Every Kid Healthy Grants

Every Kid Healthy Grants provide physical activity grants with an optional nutrition component to support becoming recognized as a health-promoting school.

Maximum award: $2,500.

Eligibility: schools in AL, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, NC, NY, OH, PA, and WV.

Deadline: May 01, 2015.

Toshiba America Foundation: Grants for Math and Science

The Toshiba America Foundation makes grants for projects in math and science designed by classroom teachers to improve instruction for students in grades K-12.

Maximum award: $5,000.

Eligibility: Grades 6-12.

Deadline: August 01, 2015.

U.S. Drillers Scrambling to Thwart OPEC Threat

NEW YORK — OPEC and lower global oil prices delivered a one-two punch to the drillers in North Dakota and Texas who brought the U.S. one of the biggest booms in the history of the global oil industry.

Now they are fighting back.

Companies are leaning on new techniques and technology to get more oil out of every well they drill, and furiously cutting costs in an effort to keep U.S. oil competitive with much lower-cost oil flowing out of the Middle East, Russia and elsewhere.

Spurred by rising global oil prices U.S. drillers learned to tap crude trapped in shale starting in the middle of last decade and brought about a surprising boom that made the U.S. the biggest oil and gas producer in the world. The increase alone in daily U.S. production since 2008 — nearly 4.5 million barrels per day — is more than any OPEC country produces other than Saudi Arabia.

But as oil flowed out and revenue poured in, costs weren’t the main concern. Drilling in shale, also known as “tight rock,” is expensive because the rock must be fractured with high-pressure water and chemicals to get oil to flow. It became more expensive as the drilling frenzy pushed up costs for labor, material, equipment and services. In a dash to get to oil quickly, drillers didn’t always take the time to use the best technology to analyze each well.

The Gilmer Free Press

When oil collapsed from $100 to below $50, once-profitable projects turned into money losers. OPEC added to the pressure by keeping production high, saying it didn’t want to lose customers to U.S. shale drillers. OPEC nations can still make good profits at low oil prices because their crude costs $10 or less per barrel to produce.

Now drillers and service companies are laying off tens of thousands of workers, smaller companies are looking for larger, more stable companies to buy them, and fears are rising of widespread loan defaults. OPEC said in a recent report that it expects U.S. production to begin to fall later this year, echoing the prediction of the U.S. Energy Department.

To compete, drillers have to find ways to get more oil out of each well, pushing down the cost for each barrel. Experts estimate that shale drillers pull up just 5 percent to 8 percent of the oil in place.

Engineers have adapted some of the best sensor technology and mathematical models, developed first for deep offshore drilling, to see into the rock better. As they drill, they use imaging technology to find natural cracks in the rock that they can then use as a target when they fracture the rock, to leverage natural highways for oil and gas.

After they fracture the rock, they can map the new cracks. That way they can know how close they can drill another well to target more oil without sapping production from the first well. EOG Resources, one of the pioneers of shale oil drilling, has reduced the space between wells in an area called the Leonard Shale, in Texas, to 560 feet from 1,030 in 2012.

Drillers are finding they can back into wells drilled only a few years ago to re-frack them or inject specially tailored fluids to get oil flowing again. That can return a well in some cases to peak output, without the expense of drilling a new well.

The companies are also getting much faster.

Exxon says it has cut the time it takes to drill a well in North Dakota’s Bakken formation by one-third over the past four years. It has also cut by half the cost of fracturing the rock and preparing the well for production. Exxon will run 13 rigs in the Bakken this year, the same number it did last year, despite the low prices.

Companies will save money in the coming months because service companies, rig operators and other suppliers to the industry will lower rates to keep business. Oil companies have been telling investors in recent weeks they expect to see cost reductions of 10% to 40%, depending on location and type of service.

Drillers are also focusing on the wells in the parts of formations that they know to be the most prolific, and cutting back drilling in places where they aren’t quite sure what’s below. That reduces overall spending without dramatically decreasing production.

U.S. shale drillers will never push costs as low as OPEC countries. But the U.S. industry may be able to survive — or even thrive — if drillers can learn to quickly adapt.

There is a significant portion of this that is competitive on a global basis. North American tight oil supply is more resilient than some people think it is.

Stocks Break Losing Streak

The Gilmer Free Press

U.S. stocks managed to break a full week of losses and clawed to finish in the green but are still down for the week.

Crude futures fell 5% to settle at $48.87 after a five-session climb but is still up for the week.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) once again led the blue chips’ decline. Shake-up at the top pushed shares of Quicksilver (ZQK) to fall.

The surfwear maker abruptly replaced both its CEO and CFO.

Right before the close, Altera (ALTR) jumped 28% after being briefly halted.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Intel (INTC) is in talks to buy the chipmaker.

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