While politicians court Google and Uber, fracking industry offers a different sort of high-tech job 0

CANNONSBURG, Pa. — If there is mud on the floor, they say in the shale industry, that means cash is coming in the door. That is, when workers are out in the field and the boots are getting dirty, money is being made.

Thanks to an infusion of high technology driving the natural gas industry, it’s not just about dirty boots anymore – and it’s a good story. It’s a marriage of advanced technologies and dirt-under-your-nails hard work rarely told, because extracting shale is not a popular business politically.

Fracking, it turns out, is the one high-tech industry not embraced by politicians in Pittsburgh who are rushing to embrace the likes of Uber and Google. Why? Because local progressive Democrats, very vocal climate activists, and the burgeoning Democratic Socialists of America party demand a wholesale repudiation of the natural gas industry. Local Democratic officials thus have to oppose fracking or risk losing in a Democratic primary.

Vice President of Engineering and Development of CNX Resources Corporation Andrea Passman stands in a control room that is used for predicting drilling locations at CNX's headquarters on July 30 in Cannonsburg, Pa.

Vice President of Engineering and Development of CNX Resources Corporation Andrea Passman stands in a control room that is used for predicting drilling locations at CNX’s headquarters on July 30 in Cannonsburg, Pa.

(Justin Merriman for the Washington Examiner)

Today’s natural gas industry isn’t the same petroleum job your grandfather or your father would have applied for. It not only attracts computer scientists, software engineers, mathematicians, and geologists to relocate to Western Pennsylvania from around the country, but it also provides careers for locals who thought those good jobs left for good when the coal mines and steel mills closed a generation ago.

Plenty of locals, who perhaps were not cut out for college, just wanted an opportunity to work hard in an industry with a future. All the better if that industry utilized the resources of the land while conserving it — nobody wants to spoil the places for hunting, fishing, climbing, hiking, and camping. Even better, a local job would allow them to live near family.

Mike May is one such guy.

The 33-year-old grew up in Imperial, Pa., along the Lincoln Highway. After graduating from West Allegheny High School, May joined the Marines. When he left the service, he wanted to come back home to Western Pennsylvania and work his way up in the world, but he just didn’t know if he had the career skills.

Mike May, 33, of Oakdale, Pa., works in the control room of CNX Resources Corporation on July 30 at their headquarters in Cannonsburg, Pa. The control room is able to monitor and adjust well sites throughout several states.

Mike May, 33, of Oakdale, Pa., works in the control room of CNX Resources Corporation on July 30 at their headquarters in Cannonsburg, Pa. The control room is able to monitor and adjust well sites throughout several states.

(Justin Merriman for the Washington Examiner)

“So, I started in the gas and oil fields literally working with my hands; I have worked in the industry from the bottom up,” he says as he stands in front of three monitors doing the same thing he did in the field.

No dirt under the nails. No weather dictating field conditions. No mud on the boots. Just precision automation that does the job a team of workers used to do in the field. Now, May does it inside the offices of CNX, a fracking company that broke off of energy giant CONSOL.

“Basically, I was a production operator,” explains May, “I ran all the physical operations, manual chokes, fixing anything that would break or go down; adjusting water dumps to increase the efficiency of the separators, water, and tank levels out there,” he says of the drilling sites.

Now, he does almost all of that remotely.

“See, this is the digital twin of the well site,” he says, pointing to one of several screens he is monitoring in a highly secure floor of the complex. “So, over here, we have all of our physical assets. This is the data surveillance side of the house. We’re also able to control and push parameters out to the field level. So, things I used have to do at the site and make physical changes I can do using technology,” he says.

Twenty miles north of this office, in Pittsburgh, several dozen young climate activists — about May’s age — protested last week in front of the mayor’s office. They pressed Democratic city and county leaders to stop the expansion of fracking in the county and to speak out against the Shell cracker plant under construction in the region.

Twenty miles in the opposite direction, public high schools are offering vocational training for their students that prepare them to walk off the high school football field on graduation day with their diplomas and into jobs that start at $129,000 a year.

Compared to the kids closer to Pittsburgh, these kids from rural high schools won’t have an inside track for jobs at the likes of Google, Uber, and others whom the Democratic mayor celebrates as part of the “new Pittsburgh.”

And the Shell cracker plant the climate activists were protesting? It doesn’t make really make crackers — cracking is the process that converts natural gas products into ethylene and then into plastics. The $6 billion dollar plant began construction last year, with construction employment expected to exceed 6,000 workers over the next ten years and provide 600 permanent positions once the plant is complete.

Since the 1920s, technology and automation have been disrupting the manufacturing world — eliminating jobs and growth opportunities throughout the different regions in the country. Here, technology is creating jobs. For May, automation and high technology didn’t take his job; it enriched it.

“Correct. I kinda evolved with the times. I am truly living the American Dream.”

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Halliburton forms strategic agreement with Microsoft and Accenture to advance digital capabilities 0

HOUSTON – July 17, 2020  Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today announced they have entered into a five-year strategic agreement to advance Halliburton’s digital capabilities in Microsoft Azure.

Under the agreement, Halliburton will complete its move to cloud-based digital platforms and strengthen its customer offerings by:

  • Enhancing real-time platforms for expanded remote operations,

  • Improving analytics capability with the Halliburton Data Lake utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, and

  • Accelerating the deployment of new technology and applications, including SOC2 compliance for Halliburton’s overall system reliability and security.

Halliburton logo“The strategic agreement with Microsoft and Accenture is an important step in our adoption of new technology and applications to enhance our digital capabilities, drive additional business agility and reduce capital expenditures,” said Jeff Miller, Halliburton chairman, president & CEO. “We are excited about the benefits our customers and employees will realize through this agreement, and the opportunity to further leverage our open architecture approach to software delivery.”

“Moving to the cloud allows companies to create market-shaping customer offerings and drive tangible business outcomes,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president, Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business. “Through this alliance with Halliburton and Accenture, we will apply the power of the cloud to unlock digital capabilities that deliver benefits for Halliburton and its customers.”

Accenture logoThe agreement also enables the migration of all Halliburton physical data centers to Azure, which delivers enterprise-grade cloud services at global scale and offers sustainability benefits. Accenture will work closely with Microsoft, in conjunction with their Avanade joint venture, to help transition Halliburton’s digital capabilities and business-critical applications to Azure. Accenture will leverage its comprehensive cloud migration framework, which brings industrialized capabilities together with exclusive tools, methods, and automation to accelerate Halliburton’s data center migration and provide for additional transformation opportunities.

“Building a digital core and scaling it quickly across a business is only possible with a strong foundation in the cloud,” said Julie Sweet, chief executive officer, Accenture. “Halliburton recognizes that this essential foundation will provide the innovation, efficiency and talent advantages to do things differently and fast. We are proud to be part of driving this transformational change, which builds on our long history of working with Halliburton and Microsoft.”

The companies expect to complete the staged migration by 2022.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About Halliburton

Founded in 1919, Halliburton is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. With approximately 50,000 employees, representing 140 nationalities in more than 80 countries, the company helps its customers maximize value throughout the lifecycle of the reservoir – from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data, to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production throughout the life of the asset. Visit the company’s website at www.halliburton.com. Connect with Halliburton on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services in strategy and consulting, interactive, technology and operations, with digital capabilities across all of these services. We combine unmatched experience and specialized capabilities across more than 40 industries — powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. With 513,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture brings continuous innovation to help clients improve their performance and create lasting value across their enterprises. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

For Microsoft

Microsoft Media Relations
WE Communications for Microsoft
(425) 638-7777
rrt@we-worldwide.com

For Halliburton

Investors:
Abu Zeya
Halliburton, Investor Relations
Investors@Halliburton.com
281-871-2633

Media:
Emily Mir
Halliburton, Public Relations
PR@Halliburton.com
281-871-2601

For Accenture
 Christian Harper
Accenture Media Relations
Christian.harper@acccenture.com
516-434-8615

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