Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Editorial: Shale Gas Is An Encouraging Spot In West Virginia's Economic Picture

Provided is an editorial that appears in the August 8, 2012 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail:

Marcellus will soon be the biggest producer

Shale gas is an encouraging spot in West Virginia's economic picture

FOR the past four years or more, the national economy has struggled. The answer from Washington, D.C., is record deficit spending, which has not brought significant job gains. The answer from Washington, Pa., and thousands of other towns scattered across Appalachia is Marcellus shale gas, which is leading to royalties for landowners, cheap energy for consumers and jobs for the construction industry. A few facts:
  • In April 2011, Marcellus wells in Pennsylvania and West Virginia produced 3.6 billion cubic feet of gas a day.
  • By last month, that average had more than doubled to 7.4 billion cubic feet a day.
  • Marcellus shale now accounts for 25 percent of shale gas production in the nation.
  • Marcellus shale will soon surpass the Haynesville region in Arkansas and Texas as the No. 1 field.
  • The wholesale price of gas dropped to $3 per thousand cubic feet. In Japan and Europe, the price is $12 or more.
  • Shale gas production is responsible for 600,000 jobs nationally.
  • By 2035, that figure is expected to hit 1 million.
  • Construction jobs in West Virginia rose from 34,100 to 36,700 over the past year after dropping by 1 percent over the previous three years.
"A lot of our members are working in the Marcellus shale industry," said Mike Clowser, executive director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia. "Water and sewer contractors are putting in lines, highway contractors are putting in roads, aggregate suppliers are supplying stone to these projects.

"We are seeing a pretty good market for our membership that are now working in the oil and gas industry that were not involved in this process five years ago. As such, our members have been able to stay pretty busy."

That should continue as the cheap energy and raw material from the gas attracts new businesses to the state.