Bountiful Barnett Continues To Churn Out Jobs, Revenues

In 1981, Mitchell Energy – led by legendary oilman and wildcatter George Mitchell, who’s widely considered the father or shale gas development – started drilling the Barnett Shale in an effort to unlock its enormous natural gas reserves. Today, thanks to the tireless efforts of Mitchell and others, the Barnett remains a powerful job creation machine and economic catalyst for Texas.

And it’s no surprise that a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce-commissioned study released yesterday finds that the Barnett Shale has produced 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas while enabling the creation of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment over the past decade. The study — entitled “The Impact of the Barnett Shale on Business Activity in the Surrounding Region and Texas: An Assessment of the First Decade of Extensive Development” — takes an in depth look at the Barnett’s positive effect on the Lone Star State. Here are key findings from the study:


  • Regionally, Barnett Shale-related activity has created 100,268 jobs. For Texas as a whole, more than 119,200 jobs have been created. Over the 2001-2011 period, local taxing entities received an estimated $5.3 billion in tax receipts. The state received $5.8 billion.


  • Personal income in the region is almost 8.5% higher than it would be in the absence of Barnett Shale-related activity. Wage and salary employment in the region is about 8.7% higher than it would be without the Barnett Shale.


  • Over the entire 2001-2011 period, The Perryman Group estimates that local taxing entities received an additional $5.3 billion in tax receipts, with another $5.8 billion to the State.


  • Independent school districts in the Barnett Shale region received approximately $2.7 million in royalty payments, $2.5 million in bonuses, and $45.8 million in tax revenue from natural gas and mineral rights last year. Indirect revenues from collateral development are even higher…At a time when most government entities and schools are facing difficult budgetary conditions, the Barnett Shale provides an important source of additional revenues.

Some maintain that shale gas development is only a “boom” and cannot be sustained. As thePhiladelphia Inquirer reports, “Daniel Yergin, one of the most influential voices in the world of energy, says shale gas is here to stay.” And this new study reinforces that fact:

  • Only a small portion of total estimated production has occurred to date, and the Barnett Shale is expected to continue to generate economic stimulus for local area and state economies for decades to come.

With more than 70 rigs already drilling in the Barnett Shale, the new study reconfirms the positive impact of America’s natural gas industry on local, state, and regional economies. The Dallas Business Journalspoke with Fort Worth Chamber President and CEO Bill Thorton about the positive report:

“We commissioned the study to see how or if the economic downturn had impacted past projections about the industry,” said Bill Thorton . “What we found was that it’s a bulwark of our economy.”

Bud Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to further highlight Perryman Group’s findings:

“What’s important is that we have an industry in North Texas that basically didn’t exist a decade ago,” he said. “While gas prices have fallen over the last couple of years and the rig count is way down, and the Barnett may no longer be the biggest shale-producing play in the U.S., the technology of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has clearly added a new dimension to our economy, added thousands of jobs, and helped cities, counties, school districts.”

If it wasn’t clear already, this report confirms it. Responsible shale gas development in the United States has provided millions of jobs, generated billions of dollars in revenue, and is a vital part of our domestic energy and economic security. Texas found the lucky pot of gold at the rainbow – all thanks to hydraulic fracturing.


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