The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Ohio's Jobless to Benefit from Energy Development

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 2, 2010

U.S. Steel Corp. is offering tangible proof that energy development can create jobs. This week the corporation announced it's considering expanding its Lorain, Ohio, steel tubing plant and adding a new steel coating line to a joint venture near Findlay, Ohio.

One of the primary reasons for the new investments is the company's proximity to the Marcellus Shale formation, where energy companies are using steel piping to drill for natural gas.

The Marcellus formation lies under a huge swath of eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia as well as the western edge of Virginia. It is estimated to contain 489 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making it one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world.

Based on a study conducted by Penn State, it's expected that development of the shale formation could generate much-needed revenues for government coffers and create tens of thousands of jobs in a variety of industries.

Both Lorain and Findlay have unemployment rates higher than the national average. In February 2010, unemployment stood at 11.5 percent in Lorain County and at 10.5 percent in Hancock County where Findlay is the county seat.

According to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Erin DiPietro, a spokeswoman for U.S. Steel, said she didn't know how many jobs the new projects would create. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said the investments would total $650 million.

The oil and natural gas industry directly employs or supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs, many of which pay about twice the national average salary. The industry stands ready to create more jobs--without a handout, a bailout or an earmark--in its continuing search for energy supplies.