Appalachian Basin

Mahoning Valley Witnessing Vast Benefits of Shale Development

In 2010, when Vallourec Star announced the building of a new carbon-alloy tubulars and line pipe facility,* residents of the Mahoning Valley likely knew very little about how important shale development was going to be for the region.  Since then, over 25 oil and gas projects have made the Mahoning Valley their home, contributing to at least 4,000 jobs and investments totaling more than $5 billion.

“The people of the Valley have embraced the oil and gas industry because they have seen a significant turnaround in our economy – much of it from shale development and the growth of its supply chain,” said Tom Humphries, President & CEO of the Regional Chamber.

The economic turnaround can also be seen by recent announcements by Pennant Midstream, which just began operations of its Hickory Bend Cryogenic Natural Gas Processing Plant in Southern Mahoning County.  The $375 million project employed many local labor organizations and helped generate significant revenue for the region during the construction phase of the facility.

Local staple Dearing Compressor and Pump just announced its own plans to expand its plant for the third time in 10 years to keep up with local demand.  The company, which opened in 1945, now employs over 180 residents, up from just 45 in 2004.

In addition to these two entities, other Mahoning Valley oil and gas-related projects include 10 companies that announced supply chain expansion or attraction projects; six companies expanding or establishing new service operations for the industry; five significant pipeline or processing plant projects; and four investments by oil and gas producing companies, according to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.

All told, these projects have contributed to a 17 percent increase in sales tax apportionment since 2010 and a reduction in unemployment by more than five percent.

“It’s amazing to me that we still have a small segment of population, the anti-oil and gas people, making false statements that the industry is not generating jobs in the Valley,” said Humphries with the Regional Chamber. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve got to stop these people in their tracks when they continue to make ridiculous statements like that.”

Mr. Humphries is referring to the two failed attempts at passing community “bill of rights” measure, which were both anti-business and anti-jobs. The head of the local Plumbers and Pipefitters union even called the proposal a “jobs killer.” Unfortunately, those opposed to oil and gas development didn’t get the message the first two times when it was rejected, and they will be trying to kill local jobs yet again in the spring.

Even though there is this small, out-of-touch segment of the population opposed to economic growth, there is nothing that can take away the great strides the Mahoning Valley has made since 2010.  These projects have garnered national media attention for spurring economic recovery in the region, and last year Forbes Magazine ranked the Youngstown-Warren Metro area the fifth fastest growing industrial area in the country.

Things are looking up in the MahoningValley.  Jobs are being created, money is being invested and the economy is moving in the right direction.  As we move into 2014, the MahoningValley will continue to prosper thanks to the development of the Utica Shale.

*NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described Vallourec Star’s facility as a stainless steel pipe mill. We apologize for the error.

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