Laura Fisher, Senior Vice President of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development stated recently that 70% of the drilling workforce is not local to Pennsylvania. According to DEP, there was an average of 112 wells drilled per month in 2010. Penn State's State Cooperative Extension Division says that it takes approximately 400 individuals to drill a well. Based on these statistics, one can easily estimate that there are easily over 10,000 gas workers in Pennsylvania from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado and Wyoming.
Putting aside what looks to me to be a dodgy estimate, what would it take to relocate some of those workers permanently to Pennsylvania? Are they already de facto residents? A company footing the bill for such a long-distance commute would welcome a greater availability of local talent. So why not move your employees (and families) closer to the drilling sites? My guess is that the shale gas play remains cloaked in uncertainty. And if I am a local eying one of those jobs, then I would worry about competition from the current employees. As for now, the experienced help holds all the cards.