Appalachian Basin

Old Line State Takes a New Look at the Marcellus

States that have safely and responsibly developed their natural gas resources have seen significant increases in job creation and economic activity in recent years.  As Maryland examines whether to develop its shale resources, a new study shows its westernmost counties could support thousands of jobs by producing nearly $300 million worth of natural gas located two miles underground.

The study, released last week and commissioned by the Maryland Petroleum Council, found that portion of the prolific Marcellus Shale underlying Garrett and Allegany counties holds significant volumes of natural gas.  Specifically, the study reached the following conclusions:

  • Maryland’s portion of the Marcellus Shale- located primarily in Garrett, Allegany Counties – could produce as much as 710.1 bcf of natural gas
  • The cumulative labor income would equal $916.8 million and would support $2.9 billion in business sales from less than 400 natural gas wells.
  • This would result in $213.8 million in revenues for the State; $162.4 million for Garrett County; and $64.9 million for Allegany County.
  • Each well would support 420 jobs from 150 occupations with a majority being jobs for blue-collar residents. In total, development would provide nearly 2,000 jobs.

The study, which is based on conservative estimates, only focused on direct employment and did not take into account ancillary jobs that may be realized – jobs, as we’ve seen in other states, that are created up and down the entire supply chain.  But even considering just the direct employment impact of responsible shale development, we’re still talking about a welcome bit of news for a portion of Maryland with higher unemployment rates than elsewhere in the state.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has, on more than one occasion, highlighted the development of Maryland’s clean energy economy as a means to move the state forward while protecting its environment. To wit:

“In these last three years, we have made the choices that have transformed Maryland into one of the leading clean energy states in the nation. Each element of our energy agenda is structured to provide resources and incentives for our families and workforce, create jobs, and fuel innovation as we continue to strive for a Maryland that is truly smart, green and growing.” (1/10/10)

While the state is currently home to approximately 80 natural gas wells, the study clearly shows continued development of clean burning natural gas could provide significant economic benefits to Marylanders while advancing the Governor’s commitment to a clean energy.

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