Marcellus Shale Entrepreneurial Opportunities: A Business Profile of Natural Gas Resource

Posted: May 2, 2010

One challenge for energy companies developing the Marcellus Shale has been the lack of infrastructure and services specific to this industry, the technology being used, and the scale of development. A challenge for communities trying to take advantage of the potential economic benefits of Marcellus Shale has been how to create and keep jobs locally. To help address both of these challenges, Penn State Extension has been conducting programs for business owners and managers interested in developing new opportunities or expanding their firm's involvement in natural gas activities. This article profiles one such entrepreneur and her business, Natural Gas Resource, created after attending one of these Extension programs. Over the next several months, we will profile other businesses to demonstrate the pathways by which entrepreneurs identify and pursue opportunities related to natural gas.

A Business Profile of Natural Gas Resource

by Dawn Gannon

Natural Gas Resource is a consulting firm that focuses on providing natural gas information to multiple types of clients, including government agencies, energy companies, and financial and related businesses. This information includes statistics, rankings, company profiles, industry and company news, and financial data (gas prices, leasing, and royalty rates). Jill Morrissey is president and founder of Natural Gas Resource.  “I focus on obtaining, organizing, and summarizing the volumes of information that pertain to the natural gas industry. I monitor the overall natural gas industry with a particular interest in Marcellus Shale,” Morrissey says.

Morrissey attended several town hall meetings in her home area of Lycoming County and was surprised at how information was disorganized and fragmented.  It was clear that both the landowners and general public had to search multiple sources for information, often with inaccurate or partial results. She decided to use her research skills to create a centralized source of information that would compile, organize and summarize data. Her experience working on Wall Street as a corporate and financial researcher at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse aided the development of her business.

For example, her firm was recently hired by a Wall Street financial firm to provide consulting research on Marcellus Shale companies.  Morrissey researched the companies to show how they rank within the industry and compiled news articles and documents.  She searched national news sources such as CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and Oil & Gas journal in addition to the local newspaper coverage.

Morrissey takes fragmented bits and pieces from numerous sources and puts them into a presentation format that is easier and more efficient to understand. For example, she took data from the Department of Environmental Protection that was organized monthly in a map format and re-formatted the data into quick overviews and rankings that are more useful to government officials and business executives.

Morrissey says that because her skills are unique to the area she put great effort into marketing to promote the value of her business. Morrissey says, “I’ve been very aggressive from the start about getting the business up and running. I’ve attended several Marcellus Shale business seminars and expos.” Penn State Extension has assisted Morrissey in networking and marketing, developing business contacts through seminars and the online service directory. She also says that Extension “has been a great influence” in forming her business.  She is impressed at how Penn State Extension "emerged early as a leader in the community to promote information on Marcellus Shale.”

The business development webinar series in which Ms. Morrissey participated have been very well received by small and medium-sized businesses throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York. Recordings from the past two series can be viewed online. A third series titled “Your Business & Marcellus Shale: Building Business Connections” is being planned with a June 2 start date. Check out the informational website for more details and to see if the series will be offered at a location near you. Sites are being added daily so check back often. If there is not a site convenient to you, encourage your local Small Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce or other business development organization to host by directing them to our host website.