Appalachian Basin

As Utica Shale Development Grows so Does Ohio’s Economy

Ohio once again has the opportunity to lead the nation, this time in economic growth and job creation in the field of natural resource development, primarily in developing oil and natural gas. We are fortunate that this opportunity has presented itself to eastern Ohio, which has the potential to create hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs. It can also move the United States towards energy independence.

The prospect of oil and natural gas under our feet has been attracting investors to our state for several months leading to economic growth. These investors are coming from all over the country, a positive sign for a state that for years had seen business flee to other states that offered more economic potential.

Besides creating jobs in the energy sector, developing our natural resources can have an immensely positive impact on other areas of the economy as well. The economy is not a zero-sum game. Often, when one part of the economy improves, it is good for the businesses around it also.

First, the equipment needed to produce oil and natural gas can be made right here in Ohio, potentially boosting our ailing manufacturing industry. Building this equipment in Ohio makes sense because it will be more responsive to local needs and will be easier to transport than if it were made in other parts of the country, or even overseas.

The steel industry is seeing an upturn in business because of the steel used for pipeline infrastructure. The aggregate business is seeing major benefits with site development. Local contractors are heavily utilized for all the steps of the drilling phase including site preparation, well development, and installation.

Furthermore, anytime people are drawn to an area, opportunities for business and economic growth expand. The workers who operate on these wells will eat at local restaurants and support a wide array of small businesses. All of these things are good for the local economy, which is another reason why the potential for energy exploration in our region is such a blessing.

Environmental protection certainly has a place in this discussion, but I think many of the fears have been based on misinformation and a lack of scientific evidence. The fracturing process has been executed safely for many years. Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, in particular, reduces the amount of wells necessary for extracting oil because one vertical injection has a broader range upon being drilled into the earth.

This is not only an opportunity for the oil and gas industry, but for the vital resurgence of manufacturing in our area. With the new technology it’s going to give us an opportunity to preserve farm land for generations to come. We should take advantage of this opportunity to get people back to work and to take a step forward in securing our energy future.

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