Appalachian Basin

Ohio Energy Production: Lower Costs, Job Creation, Stronger Economy

As I travel around Central Ohio talking to families and small business owners, I hear three common concerns:  the increasing cost of doing business or making ends meet, the high number of unemployed workers, and the troubled economy.   There are no “silver bullets” to solving these issues, but in Ohio, the Utica Shale Reserve is providing unmatched opportunities for families and businesses.   It’s creating jobs and helping our state’s unemployment rate remain below the national average, bringing an estimated increase of $12.3 billion in gross state product into Ohio’s economy, and enhancing Ohio’s reputation as a great place to do business.

While costs are rising for families and businesses – grocery bills are increasing, health care premiums are going up, gasoline prices remain high– Ohioans are already seeing the benefits of harnessing the resources of it’s Utica Shale reserve.  Using hydraulic fracturing – a technology that’s been around since the 1940s – to access fuels like natural gas from far beneath the earth’s surface, American wells, like those being drilled in Ohio, are boosting the nation’s domestic supply of natural gas.  Increasing supply means we’re depending less on energy sources from other countries, and we’re lowering energy costs here at home.  According to a recent industry study, the increased production of American natural gas has lowered costs, saving Ohio residential customers about $214 in 2010 alone.  The average commercial customer saved $1,366 while an average industrial customer saved nearly $87,000 in 2010.  That means families were paying less, and just as important, commercial businesses and manufacturers had a lower cost of doing business.  An increased natural gas supply frees up dollars that companies can use to grow, expand and hire.  In fact, the lower the cost of American energy, the more global manufacturers may see the United States as an attractive place to set up production facilities.

But it’s not just the lower cost of energy that can spur job creation, the business of extracting these resources produces jobs, as well.  An Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program study indicated that Ohio’s oil and natural gas industries supported and contributed to nearly 13,000 jobs, amounting to annual salaries and personal income of $793 million in 2010 alone.  The same study estimated that the industry will create and support more than 200,000 jobs in Ohio.  For those struggling to find work, these are good-paying jobs, located in parts of the state that have been hardest hit by the recession.  I’ve heard first-hand about hiring efforts from energy companies and their expectations that the industry will continue to grow.

Ohio has a long history with the oil and natural gas industry dating back to 1860.  Technology makes resources in the Utica Shale Reserve accessible, bringing us to a new era in domestic energy production.  Ohio must be vigilant at maintaining a proper combination of oversight to ensure safe and responsible energy development.  Development of Ohio’s Utica Shale Reserve increases domestic energy, making our nation less dependent on foreign oil, as well as lowering energy costs for families and businesses.  It will continue to create good-paying jobs and boost our state’s economy.  While many continue to struggle, Ohio’s resources are already providing for a better future.

Congressman Pat Tiberi is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Representing Ohio’s 12th Congressional district, the Congressman is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee.


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