The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Reports Underscore Shale’s Growth Dynamic

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 9, 2012

Several reports out this week highlight the job-creating potential of shale development and the impact it is having on the overall economy.

Leading the way is the Bakken formation, creating opportunities in North Dakota and surrounding states.

From E&E (subscription required):

"In a new overview from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), North Dakota officials report a swiftly expanding economy, spurred by oil production that is boosting jobs, population, and opportunities for housing and business development.

While most states strive to finish the year with a budget balance equivalent to about 5 percent of that year's general fund spending, North Dakota expects to end fiscal 2012 at 48 percent. That's 48 percent above what it would take to break even."

A report from University of Montana economists credits shale production with aiding Eastern Montana's economic growth.

"The state's overall rebound from the Great Recession has been helped by an improving job market, investment in energy development, and strong income growth, according to the mid-year economic outlook from the university's Bureau of Business and Economic Research."

"The booming Bakken oil field gets much of the credit for a doubling of the number of drilling rigs in Montana over the past year, to about 20. In the first six months of 2012, the state issued 225 new drilling permits — almost as many as in all of 2011."

A U.S. Conference of Mayors report predicts steady growth this year in the nation’s metro economies, much of it driven by domestic energy development.

Reuters has more:

"The study forecast the nation's real Gross Domestic Product will grow at 2 percent in 2012 and the country's 363 metropolitan areas will see their GDP grow an average of about 1.8 percent. According to the federal government, the economy grew at a 1.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter.

A metropolitan area is typically defined as a city and its surrounding suburbs.

Five metropolitan areas will likely see real growth of more than 7 percent - Lafayette, Louisiana; Odessa, Texas; Columbus and Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana; and Bismarck, North Dakota.

Bismarck will benefit from the Bakken shale oil formation that stretches down from Canada, while Lafayette and Odessa will also share in the boons of natural resources, the study said.

In general, the firm found the chemicals industry is now 'a key driver of economic growth across a large number of metros.’

'The industry surge this decade in investment, jobs and incomes has been largely spurred by low natural gas prices, a result of the rapid incorporation of new drilling techniques to extract shale and other unconventional gas supplies.'"

One thing all of these reports have in common—development of America's energy resources creates jobs and is helping the economy.


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.