Sunday, March 06, 2011

Pittsburgh's Unconventional Economic Boom

Pittsburgh is the next Calgary. What does that mean? Expect more inmigration than you ever thought possible for a Rust Belt city supposedly dying. The main attraction will be the energy industry, namely the Marcellus Shale and its wealth of natural gas reserves.

Hydrofracking is literally an economic earthquake. The unconventional gas and oil revolution has plenty of boosters and skeptics. The truth is that no one is sure what is going on and what will happen next. What we do know is that the world of energy is morphing faster than we can make sense of the new terrain. From Der Spiegel:

In addition to changing worldwide energy markets, the emergence of new gas sources is leading to shifts in the global balance of power. Indeed, the dominant position of classic production countries, especially Russia, could soon erode strongly. Poland, on the other hand, could become a relevant player in the global market. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski already envisions transforming his country into the "next Norway" -- rich, important and independent -- particularly of its giant neighbor Russia.

Poland is the next Norway. Pittsburgh is the next Calgary. The above passage is innocuous enough. It is just speculation. In the context of the entire article, it seems more like a foregone conclusion. If you are living above the Marcellus, I encourage you to read it.

1 comment:

Paul Hertneky said...

Good post, Jim. The folks in the Burgh better pay attention to their rivers, though. Poison the water and watch the city's rise shrivel and die. There's a gold rush mentality out there that's already gotten out of hand.