Tag Archive for 'Ohio'

The St.Lawrence Seaway at 60 – A Vital Waterway 

On its 60th anniversary, the St. Lawrence Seaway is stronger than ever as it performs its mission to move commodities in and out of America’s heartland 

By Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook 

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation 

2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the binational waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes and the heartland of America. How fitting that in this anniversary year, we can talk about the bright future of the Great Lakes Seaway System – North America’s “Fourth Sea Coast”, while celebrating its historic past. 

The Great Lakes economy is a powerhouse on an international level. With a GDP of $6 trillion, the Great Lakes region would be the third largest economy in the world if it were a country. 

State and local economies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York are benefitting from the surge in shipping in the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 2018, cargo shipping was up 7% in the St. Lawrence Seaway, sustaining over 237,000 jobs in the Great Lakes region in manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and shipping. 

Top performing cargoes included U.S. grain shipments which increased 37% over 2017, liquid bulk shipments which increased 22% over the previous year, and steel slabs which saw a 53% increase. 

We are living in a transformative moment as the Seaway turns 60 this year. Yet, there is one constant that we always begin and end our day with: our focus on safety and reliability. 

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao is clear about her priorities: focus on safety, invest in infrastructure, and promote technological innovation. Those priorities speak to the heart of the mission at the Seaway. 

The 2018 Seaway navigation season was one of the safest on record, a continuation of the long and steady improvement in our safety performance. New technology, newer fleets, a stringent inspection program and highly trained staff all play a key role in our ability to achieve exceptional safety results. 

In 2018, the reliability rate for the lock and channel infrastructure in the St. Lawrence River section of the Seaway remained extremely high. The System Availability rate improved to 98.9 percent from 96.4 in 2017. 

When it comes to safety and reliability, it is important to include the work of the Ballast Water Working Group. The binational group inspects the ballast tanks of incoming ocean vessels to ensure there are no aquatic invasive species in the tanks. Every tank of every international vessel that entered the Seaway System and Great Lakes was inspected, totaling over 9,300 ballast tanks last year. The results in 2018 sustain a track record of effective oversight and acknowledge the strong cooperation of the maritime industry. These results continue to support the fact that “no unmanaged ballast water is coming into the Great Lakes through the Seaway on international vessels.” 

This year also marks the completion of a decade of infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance work at the U.S. locks under the ground-breaking Seaway Asset Renewal Program. Through the first ten years of this program, the SLSDC has obligated $152 million on 50 separate projects. Several projects involve the implementation of new innovations and improved technologies for the operation of Seaway infrastructure, resulting in reduced maintenance needs and operating costs to Seaway users. 

One of the projects involves the installation of a unique, first-of-its-kind, Hands-Free Mooring (HFM) technology system in the locks. The HFM system uses vacuum pads, each of which provides up to 20 tons of holding force, mounted on vertical rails inside the lock chamber wall to secure the ship during the lockage process as it is raised or lowered while keeping it at a fixed distance from the lock wall. The HFM technology will increase efficiency, improve safety, reduce operating costs to Seaway users, and reduce lock transit times by nearly seven minutes per lockage, equating to 3-4 hours of potential time savings on a roundtrip transit. The use of HFM will also significantly increase the pool of vessels worldwide that will be able to enter the Great Lakes Seaway System. It is arguably the most important technological advance at the Seaway since 1959 and will revolutionize the vessel transit experience through the Seaway. 

With over $35 billion in economic activity and more than 237,000 U.S. and Canadian jobs dependent upon the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, the waterway is a driver of economic development in the Great Lakes region. 

On its 60th anniversary, the St. Lawrence Seaway is stronger than ever as it performs its mission to move commodities in and out of America’s heartland. 

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Technical Announcement:
Appalachian Basin Energy Resources — A New Look at an Old Basin

USGSNew Geological Compilation Available for Resource Studies and Land-Use Planning

Appalachian coal and petroleum resources are still available in sufficient quantities to contribute significantly to fulfilling the nation’s energy needs, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Appalachian basin, which includes the Appalachian coalfields and the Marcellus Shale, covers parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

“The study we conducted is a modern, in-depth collection of reports, cross sections and maps that describe the geology of the Appalachian basin and its fossil fuel resources,” said USGS scientist Leslie Ruppert, the study’s lead editor.

Petroleum resources, including oil and natural gas, remain significant in the Appalachian basin. Although both conventional oil and gas continue to be produced in the Appalachian basin, most new wells in the region are drilled in shale reservoirs, such as the famous Marcellus and Utica Shale, to produce natural gas.

The Appalachian basin contains significant coalbed methane and high-quality, thick, bituminous coal resources although the resource is deeper and thinner than the coal that has already been mined.

Although this volume is not a quantitative assessment of all notable geologic and fossil fuel localities in the Appalachian basin, the selected study areas and topics presented in the chapters pertain to large segments of the basin and a wide range of stratigraphic intervals. This updated geologic framework is especially important given the significance of shale gas in the basin.

This volume discusses the locations of coal and petroleum accumulations, the stratigraphic and structural framework, and the geochemical characteristics of the coal beds and petroleum in the basin, as well as the results of recent USGS assessments of coal, oil and gas resources in the basin.

Many of the maps and accompanying data supporting the reports in this volume are available from chapter I.1 as downloadable geographic information system (GIS) data files about the characteristics of selected coal beds and oil and gas fields, locations of oil and gas wells, coal production, coal chemistry, total petroleum system (TPS) boundaries and bedrock geology. Log ASCII Standard (LAS) files for geophysical (gamma ray) wireline well logs are included in other chapters.

USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas and coal resources of onshore lands and offshore state waters. This study of the Appalachian basin will underpin energy resource assessments and may be found online. To find out more about USGS energy assessments and other energy research, please visit the USGS Energy Resources Program website, sign up for our Newsletter, and follow us on Twitter.

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4163