Oil Boom Shifts The Landscape Of Rural North Dakota

The American Petroleum Institute organized a tour of natural gas drilling operations and newly-created educational opportunities in southeastern Pennsylvania Monday. Prolific Marcellus shale development is driving a need for skilled workers in a region struggling with high unemployment rates. “About 6.8 percent of Philadelphians are unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics — about 1 percentage point higher than the statewide average. Wilkes-Barre is at 7 percent unemployment; Scranton is at 6.7 percent. …The tour continued past Elk Lake School District, where the Susquehanna Career and Technology Center recently added a welding program to whet the interests of high-schoolers who may one day decide to work for a gas company. And finally they stopped at Lackawanna College School of Petroleum and Natural Gas in New Milford, a two-year college that Cabot endowed this year with a $2.5 million grant. The five-year-old program boasts a 95 percent job placement rate for the some 100 graduates it has produced.” [The Times Leader]

Here’s the latest on US electric vehicle sales with a spiffy graphic and nice table. “On the whole, 100% electric vehicle sales were up 67% in July 2014 compared to July 2013 in the US, and 20% for the year to date; plug-in hybrid electric vehicle sales were up 64% in July 2014, and are up 58% for the year to date; and all plug-in vehicle sales were up 66% in July 2014, and are up 37% for the year to date.” [CleanTechnica]

International benchmark crude oil futures prices headed lower yesterday despite supply risks in major producing nations including Iraq and Libya where militant insurgencies flare. “Worries about prolonged geopolitical tensions in key producing regions had prompted a short rebound, but in the absence of supply disruptions, the market resumed its downward trend on Tuesday as traders and investors grew more nervous about seasonal weak demand and poor refinery margins in a market that appears to be abundantly supplied.” [Reuters]