Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Marcellus Shale Energy Boom

Think jobs. Lots of jobs. That's if the cost of energy increases enough:

Lou D'Amico of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association talked about the economic impact of the gas drilling, and the Marcellus Shale Committee provided printed information on jobs to the crowd.

Mr. D'Amico said eventually there will be new jobs and opportunities for Pennsylvania including a full range of professions and skilled trades. In 2008 a committee was commissioned to conduct a study on the impact. Currently in the natural gas industry, $4.5 billion directly results from the industry with a total impact of $7.1 billion with more than 10,000 direct jobs.

To project the economic impact of the Marcellus Shale, the committee looked at the impact of the Barnett Shale in Texas, which covers only 5,000 square miles as opposed to the 95,000 square miles of the Marcellus Shale. In Texas, 55,000 direct jobs were created with a $10 billion economic output totaling 5 percent of the economic output.

There are about 1,000-1,500 permits out now for well drilling and about 500-600 are expected to be drilled. The reason for such a low number is simple: the economy. Right now, natural gas is less than $4 per gallon. The price has to be at least $5 or higher to justify the cost of multiple drilling sites. Much of the drilling taking place now is to test the area and see how well it will produce.

Keep an eye on the cost of natural gas in order to presage when the rush begins in earnest. But now would be a good time to get the requisite training. The article linked above has good information on that count.

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