What They’re Saying: Shale Fueling Job Growth Across the Nation
As the U.S. works to create jobs for the 8.3 percent of Americans still unemployed, the development of America’s shale reserves is creating opportunities from the well pad to the law firm. And with natural gas development occurring in over 30 states across the nation, the possibilities are limitless. As USA Today highlighted this week: “of all the places that America's new jobs are, the emerging energy business, directly or indirectly, might be responsible for more of them than almost anything else.”
As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare for their first official face-off, the question of how the next Commander in Chief will recharge America’s economy is at the forefront of America’s mind. Luckily for both candidates, there is one industry charging full speed ahead – American energy.
As USA Today highlighted this week: “of all the places that America’s new jobs are, the emerging energy business, directly or indirectly, might be responsible for more of them than almost anything else.”
From USA Today:
“Since 2002, the exploration of natural gas deposits embedded in shale, followed by oil drilling that began in earnest late in the decade, has created more than 1 million jobs, says Moody’s Analytics economist Chris Lafakis. That’s out of 2.7 million the whole country created. ‘It’s really huge,’ Lafakis says. ‘And the jobs pay very well.’
“Jobs directly in the oil and gas extraction business pay an average of just under $150,000 a year, Lafakis says — almost exactly three times the national average.”
“…Just counting positions directly in the energy industry, the shale boom has accounted for as many as 33,000 new U.S. jobs this year, according to Bright Labs, a San Francisco start-up whose website provides job-hunt data and tips.
“More than 3,500 are in metropolitan Houston, Bright says. But the job expansion stretches through cities of all sizes. Oklahoma City’s 400 jobs are near the top of the list, Bright says. Denver, Pittsburgh, and Williston, N.D. — all near newly exploitable oil and gas deposits — are also seeing big changes from shale for shale-related jobs.”
“…In Pennsylvania, where officials say shale added 18,000 new energy industry jobs between 2008 and last year, another 5,000 jobs were added for freight trucking, and 500 more were created to build roads, according to a state-sponsored study this summer.”
As the U.S. works to create jobs for the 8.3 percent of Americans still unemployed, the development of America’s shale reserves is creating opportunities from the well pad to the law firm. And with natural gas development occurring in over 30 states across the nation, the possibilities are limitless.
Red or Blue — swing or decided — here’s what they’re saying across the states about the real numbers surrounding shale development:
California: Southern Monterey County land to be leased for oil development. “We really could have the kind of economic renaissance that has occurred in other states that are developing their shale resources, like Pennsylvania,” said Dave Quast, California director of Energy in Depth, a group that’s pushing back against public concerns over fracking. (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 9/28/2012)
California: Shale development in California Could Fuel Economic Boom. “Underneath the Central Coast which some people estimate could contain as much as 15 billion barrels of oil,” says Dave Quast with energy industry advocacy group Energy In Depth, “so there is potential for more development even more then what we have, we’re the fourth largest energy producing state.” Quast says there are popular misconceptions that hydraulic fracturing is a threat to public health and the environment. “There’s this myth that this is something that is new and somehow controversial”, Quast says, “this is a well proven technique that has been used safely for more than 60 years for wells that were fractured back in the 1940′s.” (KCOY TV, 10/1/2012)
Ohio: Drilling creates slew of work. Dan Alfaro, a spokesman for industry advocate Energy In Depth, said competition for workers is a sign of a strong economy, and that has been missing in this state. “The Ohio job market has been competitive, but for all of the wrong reasons, as opportunities have been scarce,” he said. “The development of the Utica Shale is changing that.” (Mansfield News Journal, 9/30/2012)
Ohio: As more law firms turn attention to shale boom, most say there’s enough work to go around. The emerging shale industry in Ohio — projected to bring billions of dollars of investment to the state over the next few years — has been a cash carrot enticing businesses with the promise of new jobs, developments and infrastructure improvement. (Crains Cleveland Business, 10/2/2012)
Ohio: Shale a $10B boost. The shale boom will explode the Ohio economy by adding $10 billion to it by 2014, Linda Woggon, executive vice president of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Ohio Shale Coalition, said. (Warren Tribune Chronicle, 9/30/12)
Louisiana: Chemical industry on a rebound. Today, gas is roughly $3 per MMBTUs, while oil is about $90 per barrel – about a 30-to-1 ratio. “That makes Louisiana incredibly competitive,” he said. Borné said there is a lot of activity in the chemical industry, which has added 1,000 jobs a year for the last three years. He said Methanex is going to dismantle a methanol plant in Chile and move it to Geismar and is considering another facility in Geismar. (Associated Press, 9/29/2012)
Pennsylvania: We Shale Overcome. “Mariner East is a critical step in beginning to realize the vision outlined in the Delaware County Industrial Development Authority’s study on repurposing the Marcus Hook industrial site,” said County Council boss Tom McGarrigle.” State Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of nearby Chester, zeroed in on the importance of this deal to Marcus Hook. “It’s great to see new investments in historic industrial sites. This project shows what’s possible when companies take the long view. It also opens the door to other potential investments in Marcus Hook. (Delaware County Daily Times, Editorial, 9/30/2012)
West Virginia: The Future Of Jobs In Kanawha Valley. The Kanawha Valley and surrounding areas could see a large amount of job opportunities opening up in the next few years all thanks to the Marcellus Shale. (WCHS Radio, 9/29/2012)
Michigan: Hydraulic fracturing will provide new energy, jobs for region. Barry County and Michigan can certainly benefit from the direct new jobs and income that may result from the growing energy industry. Michigan-based businesses and residents may also benefit from gaining access to locally-sourced energy, allowing potential new investments through energy savings. (Michigan Live, LTE, 9/17/2012)
Texas: Shale plays create significant job opportunities. Shale gas is a portion of that, with Texas plays in Barnett in the north-central region, Haynesville/Bossier to the east and Eagle Ford to the south. “It’s only been recently that technology exists to get the gas out of the ground cheaply,” said Richard Meserole, vice president and general manager at Fluor in Sugar Land. (Houston Chronicle, 9/13/2012)
North Dakota: Oil boom bright spot in Midwest economy. Little or no economic growth is likely this year in most of the nine Midwest and Plains states covered by a survey of business leaders, but the booming oil business will continue to drive growth in North Dakota and Oklahoma, according to the report released Monday. … North Dakota’s state economic index hit 61.6 in September, and Oklahoma’s registered 56.6 thanks to the oil boom. (Post Bulletin, 10/2/2012)
This morning, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the nation’s monthly jobs report. These headlines speak to the bleak results:
- Los Angeles Times’: “Stagnant labor market seen as unemployment rate holds at 9.6%.”
- USA Today: Obama faces same jobless rate of 9.6% — but fewer jobs
- Associated Press: “Economy loses 95K jobs due to government layoffs,” noting that “The jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s.”
But it’s not all gloom and doom. You see, because of technologies like hydraulic fracturing – a tightly regulated 60 year-old oil and natural gas stimulation process – thousands of good-paying private sector jobs continue to be created at a time when they’re most needed. At the same time, because of this work enable by fracture stimulation technologies, abundant supplies of homegrown, reliable sources of oil and natural gas are coming to market, helping to keep energy costs stable for struggling American consumers, families and small businesses.
Unfortunately, “the federal government has something in the works that, if approved, could paralyze North Dakota’s oil patch,” according to the state’s Department of Mineral Resources chief. It’s called the FRAC Act, and this misguided legislation – which would strip individual energy-producing states of their “commendable” ability to tightly regulate fracturing would deliver a major blow to job growth and domestic energy production without adding any additional environmental benefits.
“University of Pittsburgh environmental engineering professor Radisav Vidic said there is no evidence that fracking alone creates any environmental hazards, as long as all other safety measures are followed,” reports West Virginia’s Wheeling Intelligencer. The FRAC Act is simply another ‘Washington solution’ in search of a problem.
But here’s a quick look at the staggering rates of economic growth in North Dakota, where the responsible development of oil-rich Bakken Shale is putting thousands of Americans to work, as the state’s “oil rig count matches record set in 1981.”
The Dickinson Press: Experts discuss North Dakota oil possibilities (10/7/10)
- “Many great opportunities for all of us North Dakotans with this Bakken play,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. “I think we all recognize the influx of people, the influx of wealth and the influx of potential is somewhat of a renaissance for North Dakota.” … “You really can’t understand the magnitude of what’s going on until you get out on the ground you see a drilling rig you see the traffic,” Ness said.
- Kathleen Neset, a geologist and owner of Neset Consulting Service in Tioga, said the Three Forks Formation, which is present in Stark County, is about 370 million years old. Neset said the Bakken play is the largest in the lower 48 states, citing it as a “technology play.” “We knew the oil was there, now it’s a matter of making it work with the technology,” Neset said.
- However, the federal government has something in the works that, if approved, could paralyze North Dakota’s oil patch. Hydraulic fracturing, a high-pressure tactic used to extract oil from rock formations, is at the heart of developing the Bakken Formation. Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, said it has been proposed that the Environmental Protection Agency be put in charge of hydraulic fracturing. Helms said the state’s geology is much different than others and North Dakota’s regulations are much more stringent than others. “We know how to take care of our resources in North Dakota,” he said, adding protection of groundwater resources is the number one priority. “We’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Williston Herald: Bakken basics: Town hall meeting highlights oil industry activity (10/7/10)
- North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said activity in the state has reached record-breaking levels across the board. “We are in an unprecedented time in North Dakota history,” said Helms. Helms said activity is booming, with over 320,000 barrels of oil being produced each day, a record number of rigs operating and thousands of jobs available. He added that the long term stability of the state’s oil play grows stronger each day.
- Kathy Neset, owner of Neset Consulting Services of Tioga, said technology has been a key component to the current success in the Bakken formation. Neset explained to the crowd the horizontal drilling technique used to get to the thin layer of Bakken shale. Without the use of horizontal drilling, a huge amount of oil would be unrecoverable. “When we have an unconventional play, we have to go out and do other things,” said Neset. … “This truly is a technological play,” said Neset.
- North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness said current estimates put the number of employees in the oil industry in the 18-25,000 range. Ness said there are thousands of current job openings available to meet the current demand. In the long term there will be thousands of permanent jobs in the state, from people servicing wells to operating processing plants. Ness said gas processing plants have been announced in Williams and McKenzie counties, among others. He said these will provide large numbers of high-paying jobs to the communities they’re located in.
KFYR-TV: Western Oil Development (10/7/10)
- “They see this as a tremendous opportunity, not just for the current time, but for many years to come,” said Director of North Dakota Pipeline Justin Kringstad. “We’ve got something very sustainable,” said Helms.
The biggest problem facing North Dakotans, aside from the threat posed by the FRAC Act, which could shut down this responsible and tightly regulated development, according to the Associated Press? “The money problem is how to spend it,” where there’s “virtual full employment, according to economists.”