Appalachian Basin

Ohio Laborers Have Logged More Than 2.6 Million Hours on Pipelines in 2018

Continued development of Ohio’s oil and natural gas resources has been a boon to Ohio laborers – particularly in the years since development of the Utica Shale began – and shows no sign of slowing down. Last year, the Ohio Laborers District Council (OLDC) reported that it had surpassed 2016 expectations by more than a million work hours, totaling 4.2 million work hours over a 16-month period from January 2016 to April 2017. This year, the OLDC has again exceeded expectations, recording over 2.6 million work hours on pipeline projects alone.

OLDC members have logged in 1,823,550.5 hours on mainline gas lines since Jan. 1, and an additional 805,705.25 hours on gas distribution lines. These efforts combined total 2.6 million hours worked through August.

Ray Hipscher, Pipeline Specialist at OLDC, told EID that oil and natural gas development has been “beyond beneficial” to members, and shows no signs of slowing down in the future, noting they “anticipate that these (the over 2.6 million) work hours will increase even more as the end of the year reports are finalized.”

The impact the industry has had on Ohio workers – and their families – has been profound, a fact Hipscher highlighted:

“The difference the industry has made in the lives of working families in Ohio is indescribable. It has provided family-sustaining wages, quality health insurance, and secure pension to Ohio residents during a time they were struggling to even find a job, let alone a good job.”

While the 2.6 million hours worked figure itself is astounding, it is important to note it doesn’t include hours worked on the growing number of natural gas power plants in the state that have come online or are in the process of being developed.

As EID reported earlier this week, Ohio has 10 new natural gas-fired power plants in the works, four of which have already begun operation. These facilities will provide more than 9,000 megawatts of new electric capacity, an estimated $9 billion in investment and roughly 7,200 jobs during construction.

The flurry of shale-related activity has resulted in thousands of jobs and work hours for skilled laborers from the OLDC – which represents a large share of Laborers International Union of North America member workers.

Overall, there are 3,000 Ohio laborers working on various stages of oil and gas development. These projects will continue to offer job opportunities for decades, with pipelines in particular providing long-term work. As Ohio Laborers Training Center executive director Robert Chatterson stated last year in an interview with Ohio Senate Members, these pipelines – distribution specifically – are projects that have longstanding potential:

“The distribution work in gas pipelines is a 25-year project. Conceivably a young person can go into distribution work and work their whole career and retire with a great pension.”

The ongoing development of Ohio’s oil and natural gas resources will continue to play a dominant role in the state’s economy in the years to come. As the industry develops our natural resources while operating in a safe, responsible manner, we will see more opportunities for the workforce to grow and prosper – it’s the reason fracking has received so much support from labor to date, and will continue to receive support in the years to come.

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