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Water Management

Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel and Hydraulic Fracturing: A Discussion on the Risks and Benefits

Tuesday, February 21st, 9:30am- 12:30pm EDT / Streamed Panel Discussion: 7:00am - 9:00am PDT / 10:00am - 12:00pm EDT / 16:00 - 18:00 (Paris-Frankfurt)

Natural Gas Report


AGRION is hosting a two part conference on the viability of natural gas procurement in the US. The first part will be a case study on the applications of natural gas as a transition fuel; the second part will be a debate on hydraulic fracturing and take a look at events transpiring in upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.


Time Schedule

9:30am-10:00am:         Networking/Breakfast

10:00am-11:00am:       Natural Gas as a Transition Fuel

11:00am-12:00pm:       Business Networking/Lunch

12:00pm-1:30pm:         Hydraulic Fracturing: A Discussion on the Risks and Benefits

1:30pm-2:00pm:            Full Room Business Discussion and Closing



Natural Gas as a Bridge Fuel 


Perhaps one of the hottest topics in energy today is the current and future use of natural gas as an energy source and what that means for other players in the energy field. Should natural gas be solely used as a temporary solution during the move from conventional energy sources to renewable ones? How clean is natural gas and is it an aid or a hindrance in addressing climate change?  Will natural gas be a more permanent member of the energy industry's portfolio of power generation sources?

Presentation 1: In this on-site meeting, we are joined by Professor Lawrence Cathles of Cornell University to examine the validity of a natural gas transition fuel argument from a business perspective.  Professor Cathles received his PhD from Princeton and has conducted industry research with the Chevron Oil Field Research Laboratory. He has been at Cornell since 1987.



     Professor Lawrence Cathles, Cornell University, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


Presentation 2: This talk will look at the business case for natural gas to determine the likely role for natural gas as a transition fuel to a cleaner and greener economy.   Included in the talk will be a brief overview of the current state of affairs, forces at work to accelerate/hinder development, and potential outcomes, including the speaker’s own view of where energy in the future will be derived, and the role natural gas will play.


Nancy Thurmon Schmitt has worked in various aspects of the energy business for over 30-years.   She is Co-Founder and President of Taum Sauk Capital Management, which is a multi-strategy investment manager specializing in energy and natural resource equity investments that started-up in late 2008.


     Nancy Schmitt, Taum Sauk Capital Management, President

Hydraulic Fracturing: A Discussion on the Risks and Benefits


“This is so important to so many people it’s pretty much hijacked everything else.” –“Drilling Debate in Cooperstown, N.Y., Personal, New York Times, October 29th, 2011


Over the past year, a method of oil and gas drilling known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing has garnered growing scrutiny by state and federal regulatory bodies, the media and the public. It has become so contentious of an issue in areas such as Upstate New York as to have resulted in personal vendettas and spawned community activism. This meeting will be a multi-sector dialog about the environmental, health and economic stakes at hand and the variables that should be considered in a ‘fracking’ agenda.


It is clear that there are economic benefits to be had but also serious safety concerns. In this discussion, we aim to discover a middle ground that optimizes the enormous national security and geopolitical economic benefits of shale gas procurement by hydraulic fracturing while minimizing the health and environmental risks.

  • How have the Marcellus Shale multiplier and other figures on the economic benefits derived from hydraulic fracturing been calculated?
  • What are the safety concerns? (water contamination, interference with tectonic plates through waste removal, etc.)
  • Should there be state or federal oversight?
  • Should hydraulic fracturing be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act?

Meet the Panel











Stuart Gruskin, Former Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental       Conservation and Founder of Gruskin I Gordon



Deborah Goldberg









Deborah Goldberg, EarthjusticeManaging Attorney



John Quigley










John Quigley, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Principal at John H Quigley LLC and Strategic Advisor to Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future



Scott Sherman


Scott Sherman, Hess Corporation, Director of Environmental Affairs


Michael Gerrard










Michael Gerrard, Columbia Law School, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice
Director, Center for Climate Change Law (Moderator)


Scott Cline


Scott Cline, Oil and Gas Consultant, Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York




The Markle Foundation, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, 16th Floor New York, NY 10020 



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