The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Natural Gas Brings Hope to Pennsylvania

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 30, 2010

With an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, was the ideal setting for a job fair last week, featuring 50 employers including members of the oil and natural gas industry.

Sitting atop the Marcellus Shale formation, county residents have the opportunity to join an industry that already supports 9.2 million American jobs and is poised to create more.

Bob Garland of Universal Well Services Inc. described the job opportunities during a PowerPoint presentation. Citing a Penn State study, he said the industry is likely to create more than 98,000 jobs and funnel $14.8 billion into the state's economy this year.

About 1,750 wells have been drilled in the Marcellus Shale so far, and many more are expected. (Daily Courier) By using the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, drillers are unlocking trillions of cubic feet of shale natural gas and helping to vastly increase America's energy supplies.

"There are a lot of jobs available," Garland said, "not just in the drilling side." (Herald Standard)

Garland and other prospective industry employers said the jobs are in the areas of welding, heavy-equipment operating, geology, engineering, chemistry services, pipefitting, and many other positions requiring a high school diploma, a two-year diploma, or a full four-year college degree.

Many jobs pay up to twice the national average. The investments made to develop the natural gas also are generating other jobs in food services, entertainment, higher education and health care.

Chris Johnson, a 20-year-old from Perryopolis who was laid off from a production job, said, "I'm hoping to get a career going."

The Marcellus Shale is estimated to hold 489 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to meet the country's needs for about 100 years at current consumption levels. It also will help to improve the quality of life in Pennsylvania now and into the future.

"Our children and our children's children will be able to take advantage of this resource," Garland said.