I had the opportunity to attend a session of the Enterprise Forum in Pittsburgh last week, entitled "Leveraging Marcellus Shale: Finding Your Entrepreneurial Success." Over one hundred persons attended, and the energy and enthusiasm seemed high.

Natural gas recovered from Marcellus shale continues to be a major aspect of cleantech and larger issues of energy and innovation. For example, the ARPA-E conference, coming up on February 28 - March 2 in Washington DC, will feature a session on natural gas entitled, "Changing the Game in Natural Gas: The Role of Breakthrough Technologies" with the following abstract:

"The U.S. has the sixth largest proven natural gas reserves, at over 245 trillion cubic feet. Recent shale gas discoveries and development are dramatically increasing the U.S. domestic resource base and strengthening our energy security. But we won’t succeed in unlocking the full potential of our natural gas resources without new technologies, especially in the area of inexpensive conversion of natural gas to valuable liquid fuels and chemicals, reducing our need for imported oil. There are also exciting technology opportunities throughout the natural gas value chain: in exploration, drilling, hydraulic fracturing, production, transportation, storage, and water separation. The U.S. has the sixth largest proven natural gas reserves, at over 245 trillion cubic feet. Recent shale gas discoveries and development are dramatically increasing the U.S. domestic resource base and strengthening our energy security. But we won’t succeed in unlocking the full potential of our natural gas resources without new technologies, especially in the area of inexpensive conversion of natural gas to valuable liquid fuels and chemicals, reducing our need for imported oil. There are also exciting technology opportunities throughout the natural gas value chain: in exploration, drilling, hydraulic fracturing, production, transportation, storage, and water separation.”

As we predicted last year, we see more patent applications publishing that relate to Marcellus Shale (we previously addressed Marcellus Shale and patenting on September 25 and October 4, 2010). The count is up to eight patent publications (approximately one per month since May 20, 2010). Areas of innovation include, for example, methods of drilling, methods of treating fracture fluid and flowback water, and a down hole well tool.