The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Massachusetts, Jobs and the Shale Energy Revolution

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 23, 2012

Interesting report in the Boston Globe about how a ripple of economic benefits from shale natural gas development is reaching a non-energy state, Massachusetts.

Clean Harbors, Inc., a Norwell, Mass., company that delivers environmental services, estimates that demand for its know-how from shale-rich Pennsylvania generated 25 percent of its $2 billion in revenues last year – a number it expects to grow this year. “We just see a tremendous market that needs all of the services we provide,” says Chief Executive Alan McKim, who figures his company’s shale-related business is growing about 25 percent a year. “In the U.S., there’s huge potential,’’ McKim says. The Globe adds:

“Clean Harbors is just one example of how the unlocking of natural gas reserves hundreds of miles away promises to benefit Massachusetts companies and the state economy. At first glance, the abundant supplies in Northeast shale formations offer lower energy costs for businesses and consumers … But as Clean Harbors also shows, booming gas production is providing a market for one of the state’s main exports: expertise. Consulting, financial services, and even technology firms are finding new customers in the shale industry.”

Other examples from the Globe:

  • A Bedford, Mass., firm reports strong demand for software that analyzes sensor readings from drill bits and pipelines.
  • A Burlington, Mass., company that sells software to manage production, processing and transportation of natural gas says business from shale country is so brisk it is hiring recent chemical engineering and computer science grads to stay ahead of growing demand for its products.
  • A Marlborough, Mass., consulting firm reports an increase in its business of advising energy companies on investments related to various shale formations.
  • A Boston energy capital investment firm says it has put several billion dollars in natural gas pipelines, processing plants and storage facilities as a result of the shale revolution.

It’s just one report from one state. But the anecdotes are real, and they support oil and natural gas industry assertions that energy production in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Texas and other states creates job growth beyond the industry itself.

Now, who still wants to dismiss indirect or induced jobs that are being generated by energy industry activity?

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.