Marcellus Shale Coalition looking for new leadership


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Katie Klaber, the first CEO of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said Friday that she's in her last few months on the post and that the organization is looking for a new leader.

The coalition, formed in 2008 to advocate for oil and gas operators working in the Marcellus play, brought Ms. Klaber onboard in late 2009. She was previously an executive with the Allegheny Conference on Economic Development.

According to the organization's 990 tax form, Ms. Klaber earned $361,115 in 2010, her first full year, and $532,996 in 2011, the last for which data is available.

Ms. Klaber was employed under a contract with the organization and the decision to separate was made within the context of that contract, the coalition said.

Over the past three and a half years, the organization has expanded to five locations in Pennsylvania and 16 full-time staffers. It has 43 full members, who each pay hefty $50,000 annual membership fees, and 239 associate members, who pay $15,000 annually. In 2011, its revenue was $7.3 million.

Ms. Klaber said she's proud of her success on many regulatory and legislative fronts, but the one still gnawing at her is the issue of local government control over drilling. The organization has promoted having statewide rather than local rules for where companies can drill, as is outlined in Pennsylvania's Act 13, parts of which are still being debated in court.

"We've called that the Achilles' heel of the Pennsylvania system," Ms. Klaber said.

The Coalition's next leader will have to deal with that, she said.

Ms. Klaber will be part of the search committee looking for a replacement over the next several months. The coalition wants a candidate familiar with Pennsylvania, with the operators in the Marcellus Shale, and someone who could unite companies to advocate with a "strong, single voice," Ms. Klaber said.

The organization won't change after her departure, she said.

It will continue to be in Pittsburgh, although now and then its members consider relocating to Harrisburg. It will continue to be called by its established brand, to the exclusion of other shales creeping up in this area, namely the Utica.

But it likely will expand its international profile just as the Marcellus Shale itself is garnering more attention abroad.

"In the coming months before I leave, we're talking about these big issues -- how much [gas] can the U.S. be exporting, what can technology developed here mean for our allies around the world," she said.

Ms. Klaber will be traveling to Australia and London to promote the group's message. She'll also host the organization's annual Shale Insight conference in Philadelphia on Sept. 25-26.

As for her own next chapter?

"I can't share that at this point, except to say I've established a track record of working on behalf of the industry on issues that are important," Ms. Klaber said.

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Anya Litvak: alitvak@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455


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