The Marcellus Multiplier

Economic Impact of Responsible Energy Exploration Being Felt Across the Commonwealth, “Boosting” U.S. Manufacturing, “Reigniting” American Steel Industry

The safe and steady development of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is creating a “boom in blue-collar jobs” throughout the Commonwealth – one that according to Penn State, is expected to generate more than 100,000 jobs in Pennsylvania by year’s end. And while the prospect of that many jobs coming online at such an accelerated pace would be considered great news no matter what the economic circumstances of the day, the fact that these opportunities are being seized on now – at a time when our state is shedding thousands of jobs a month – has made this revolution all the more critical to continue.

On Saturday, a Marcellus Career Expo sponsored by Penn College, the Marcellus Shale Education and Training Center, Pennsylvania CareerLink and Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce attracted thousands of natural gas industry job-seekers from the region. Jason Fink, the Chamber’s executive vice president, tells theWilliamsport Sun-Gazette this about the expo in an article entitled “Thousands turn out for gas industry job fair”:

“This should be an awakening for the local people to understand that the industry is here. Here are 25 companies looking to hire not just a handful of jobs, but hundreds of jobs.”

These new jobs are not all exclusively gas production jobs, though. Shale gas development in the Marcellus is helping to spur major investments and growth in the region’s steel industry. An anticipated “350 high-paying manufacturing jobs” are on their way to eastern Ohio to support Marcellus shale production efforts. Today’s Wall Street Journal sheds light on this uptick in steel manufacturing thanks to shale gas production:

French steelmaker Vallourec SA is expanding its Youngstown, Ohio, operation to make pipe for natural gas drilling.

Other steel markets, particularly in the energy sector, are going strong. Vallourec is investing $650 million at its Youngstown plant to beef up production of small-diameter steel tubes that can be used for drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus basin, one of the largest shale formations in the world, spanning from West Virginia, to Pennsylvania to New York.

Dow Chemical Co. president and chief executive officer Andrew Liveris took to the pages of the Houston Chronicleover the weekend to highlight the critical relationship between a strong U.S. manufacturing base and affordable and stable supplies of clean-burning natural gas. Under the headline “Stable natural gas prices will boost manufacturing,” Liveris writes this:

Shale gas — and the cost-effective and reasonably clean technology for extracting it — seems well within reach and has factored into a new supply bounty that has kept natural gas prices substantially lower than oil prices.

Sustained low energy prices achievable today through this newfound gas position can reignite manufacturing in America.

We must not lose this golden opportunity that has been provided to us by the recent commercialization of shale gas in the U.S.

And elected leaders throughout the Commonwealth are also speaking out about the positive economic benefits associated with shale gas production. Congressman Bill Shuster (Pa.-9), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, writes this in a Johnston Tribune-Democrat column yesterday under the headline “Marcellus Shale: Reigniting state’s energy potential”:

Pennsylvania has the opportunity to recapture its past by becoming a leading producer of another energy source – shale gas.

The Marcellus Shale, which underlies a vast majority of the state, is the largest unconventional natural gas reserve in the world. There is enormous economic potential for Pennsylvania to take advantage of this reserve as new drilling techniques have unlocked vast resources previously impossible to reach.

Natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale will generate $14 billion and has the potential to create 98,000 jobs in 2010 alone, and bring in $800 million in state and local tax revenue.

From steel to rail, other industries are already responding to the needs of the growing gas industry. This will lead to more jobs and economic growth throughout the state.

Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (Pa.-5), a member of the House Small Business Committee, tells theTitusville Herald this about the positive economic benefits associated the responsible development of the Marcellus Shale:

The Marcellus Shale could be the biggest boom for Pennsylvania — both economically and as an energy resource — since Col. Drake struck oil.

“I actually think it’s a tremendous blessing, given the financial situation the state has found itself in during the past 18 months to two years,” said Republican Congressman Glenn “G.T” Thompson, who represents the Fifth District, including Titusville. “The Marcellus Shale is a way for us to create prosperity right below our feet.”

“The economic activity seen in my district [because of the Marcellus Shale] started in Tioga County and is working its way west. It’s amazing — the number of jobs — good jobs paying, $60,000 a year or better — [that have been created because of the Marcellus Shale].

Thompson said that the amount of state tax revenue brought in by the Marcellus Shale in 2009 was between $600 and $650 million.

“This figure does not include hotel, restaurant and other [spin-off] jobs,” Thompson said. “In 2010, some estimates put the tax revenue [from the Marcellus Shale] from between a billion and two billion dollars.”