Appalachian Basin

Ohio’s Utica Shale Garners National Media Attention

Ohio’s Utica Shale received national attention Thursday for putting eastern Ohio’s economy back on track.  NBC and CNBC featured Youngstown, Canton, and more of Utica Shale country on three different platforms yesterday as a part of their “Invest in America” series.  First, CNBC’s Jim Cramer appeared on the “Today” show to discuss Utica Shale development and how it’s transforming the state.  Later on, he broadcasted his program “Mad Money” live from Timken’s Faircrest Steel Plant in Canton.  Throughout the day, CNBC’s Phil LeBeau reported live from Youngstown, including an appearance on the “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” at 6:30.

So why is the Utica Shale catching the networks’ attention for a full day? The Warren Tribune reported:

In NBC’s promotion of today’s broadcast, a network news release pointed to the need for American energy independence, particularly as high gas prices threaten economic growth. Reporters will report from the area, considered by many as the location for America’s next big boom—Media Shines Light on Valley 10/18/12

Well that’s good to hear.  The NBC press release said:

“Once a prosperous area at the heart of American industry, the economy in Steel Country, Ohio was hit hard long before the recession. After years of struggle, there are sparks of new life and optimism in the region driven by the Utica Shale, a little-known oil and natural gas formation located thousands of feet beneath the surface of several U.S. states—Media Shines Light on Valley 10/18/12

Sounds like the rest of the nation is finally started to realize what we’ve been reporting for months: Ohio’s economy is changing for the better because of Utica Shale.

Cramer visited with Timken and Chesapeake to get a look at how things are developing. He spoke to Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon about his recommendation to members of Congress in 2008 to lay a foundation to take clean and domestic natural gas more seriously as an energy and fuel source and how things have transpired since.  McClendon noted that U.S. oil consumption is at a five year low and he thinks it will continue to decrease. McClendon said the development of the Utica Shale will be liberating for Ohio and the rest of the country.  He also noted the incredible job creation the oil and gas industry has provided in the last few years.

Cramer toured a rig with McClendon and asked him why hydraulic fracturing gets such a bad rap.  All McClendon could say was that the reputation is 100% untrue and pointed out that natural gas is the reason that the U.S. has cut carbon emissions more than any other nation over the last six years.

The interview and focus on Timken showed just how much of an impact affordable and domestic natural gas is having on our industrial community.  Timken for example has benefited from the increased demand for steel piping and broke ground in April on a $225 million expansion to their Faircrest plant.  Cramer sat down with CEO James Griffith to find out why American products are considered the best in the world.  In Timken, Cramer drove home how “American” this industry is.  American products are driving it and helping move the country toward the goal of energy independence.  He said that even though most manufacturing left Ohio and the Midwest in past decades, the industrial renaissance is happening right here in Ohio and that the world’s best manufacturers are still here.

The crew came at an interesting time for the Youngstown area.  They were present for Youngstown City Council’s influential decision to lease city land for oil and gas development to raise money for demolition projects.  The city is taking advantage of an incredible opportunity after careful research is definitely something that should catch national attention. They met with Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone and other city officials to get a sense of how the Utica Shale is helping revitalizetheir once disparaged city.  Chamber Vice President of Government and Media Affairs Anthony Paglia was contacted to give information on the effects on the local economy.  As EID has reported, auto dealerships, restaurants, hotels, and manufacturing all have benefited, but of course the benefits don’t end there.

The film crew also took a look at the comeback in Ohio’s auto industry.  With the influx of workers and wages, vehicles are being purchased.  This comes just three years after many Ohio cities saw General Motors leave and the Nation faced the very real likelihood the automotive industry could collapse.

During “Nightly News with Brian Williams”, LeBeau visited Cadiz, Ohio to show an overwhelmed county records office and reported that oil and natural gas development has resulted in 88 new millionaires in Harrison County. The segment showed area high schools teaching welding for the first time, preparing a workforce for the incredible number of wells expected to come online in the area.

CNBC and NBC aren’t the only media paying attention to the resurgence of eastern Ohio’s economy.  The region has drawn international attention, too.  The German magazine Diezeit and the CBC of Canada recently reported on Ohio’s change of fortune.

With more development expected, the Utica Shale and Ohio are poised to remain in the national media’s spotlight.  Many of Ohio’s counties are outpacing the rest of the nation in terms of economic recovery and job creation.  As Ohio’s families continue to benefit from shale development’s opportunities, we invite the media to come see the incredible economic transformation of the Buckeye State.

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