Marcellus Shale Reserves Continue to Grow, Helping to “Power an American Renaissance”

Over the weekend, the Associated Press took a detailed look at new data and research available related to the Marcellus Shale, “the biggest natural gas field in the country.” This from the AP story under the headline “Reports: Marcellus reserves larger than expected”:

One of the reports adds that the Marcellus reserves that lie below parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and New York are far larger than recent government estimates, while another said the powerful combination of resource, cost and location is altering natural gas prices and market trends across the nation. … The Marcellus could contain “almost half of the current proven natural gas reserves in the U.S,” a report from Standard & Poor’s issued this week said.

Another recent report from ITG Investment Research, a worldwide financial firm based in New York, found that a detailed analysis of Marcellus well production data suggested that federal government estimates of its reserves “are grossly understated.” … Manuj Nikhanj, the head of Energy Research at ITG, said analysis shows that the Marcellus contains about 330 trillion cubic feet of gas, more than double the size of the next largest field in the nation, the Eagle Ford in south Texas. … Nikhanj said a review of actual Marcellus well data shows that on average they’re producing more gas than expected, not less.

And while the more clean-burning American natural as is safely produced from the Marcellus Shale, the economic benefits – especially in terms of job creation – cannot be denied. Last week, the Pa. Department of Labor and Industry issued an overview of the natural gas industry’s economic impact on the Commonwealth.

This from the analysis, “Marcellus Shale: By the Numbers”:

  • JOBS: 150,616 new hires from 4Q’09 – 2Q’12; 74% from PA, compared to 69% for all industries
  • WAGES: Average salary of core industry job: $81,116; Average salary of ancillary industry job: $63,904; Average salary across all industries: $47,034
  • UNEMPLOYMENT: In the six Workforce Investment Areas (WIA) (accounting for 98% of wells drilled), core employment increased by 123% and ancillary employment increased by 9% from 2Q’08 to2Q ’11; Seven of top 10 counties for wells drilled in 2011 had unemployment rates lower than statewide average
  • TAX & ECONOMIC IMPACT: Companies engaged in and related to natural gas drilling have paid more than $1.6 billion in state taxes since 2006; These companies paid $420 million in corporate, sales and employee withholding taxes in 2011 – a 77% increase from 2010 ($237 million); Over $200 million in personal income taxes paid from bonus lease and royalty payments in 2011; More than 50,000 landowners annually are collecting royalty checks ($400 million in 2011); Residents across the state are paying lower gas and electric prices; Philadelphia Inquirer reports PGW gas customers (500,000) are saving $594 annually ($297 million total); PECO reports its electric customers are saving $1 billion annually

And as the MSC’s Joy Ruff writes in today’s Washington Observer-Reporter, “Marcellus Shale production is positively impacting every square inch of the commonwealth.” Indeed, the responsible development of American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale is Powering an American Renaissance.