The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Good News Friday: 0% Unemployment!

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 30, 2011

That's no typo: U.S. Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson says that in two of the Pennsylvania counties that make up his congressional district hugging the New York state line, the unemployment rate is zero.

The reason? Natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale, which is soaring because of hydraulic fracturing-assisted drilling. "Marcellus shale is something I've been very involved in," Thompson told a public hearing in Corning, N.Y., where he was a guest. The meeting was covered by the Ithaca Journal. "It's an opportunity that comes with responsibility. ... This has been very positive."

Zero unemployment! Can't imagine the stat eluded the congressman's New York listeners, whose state leadership is considering ways to tap parts of the Marcellus.

Other positive impacts from the oil and natural gas industry around the country:

Kansas - The Wichita Eagle reports new technologies bringing life to old oil fields is creating a new land rush, with energy companies buying up leases on hundreds of thousands of acres. Shell, Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge Energy are among those that are moving into Kansas, the newspaper says.

Woolsey Operating Company's Dean Pattisson estimates out of state companies have spent $2 billion on Kansas land leases this year. Lease prices have risen 100 percent in some places, the paper says. The economic impact is still to be realized, but locals expect the cash infusion will help farmers pay off loans and buy new equipment and spark a wave of economic activity.

Ohio - The Dayton Daily News reports development of the state's natural gas reserves in the Utica Shale (which is going "gangbusters" by the way) could spur growth in the chemical and manufacturing sectors. American Chemistry Council President Cal Dooley is quoted as saying cracker plants to derive ethane from natural gas could be built, creating an additional 17,000 jobs per plant. Ethylene, which is obtained from ethane is involved in more than 90 percent of manufactured goods, Dooley says.

Pennsylvania - More from the Marcellus region: Petroleum Economist reports the economic boom led by natural gas development continues. The U.S. economy may be struggling, but Pennsylvania's is not. "It's 24-7, non-stop," says an oilfield worker from Arkansas who came looking for work - and found it. Petroleum Economist notes well permits have risen from just four in 2004 to 3,314 in 2010. Penn State University researchers say every dollar spent by oil and natural gas operators generates $1.90 of economic output.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.