Source: The Times Leader
WHEELING –Pipeline work to move Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas continues in nearly every corner of the Upper Ohio Valley, as new data show the industry supported more than 333,000 jobs in Ohio and West Virginia in 2015, while contributing nearly $46 billion to the two states’ economies.
Meanwhile, there are several billion dollars’ worth of interstate pipeline projects that are in some stage of development, whether they are still in the permitting process or construction is ongoing.
These include the $5.1 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise, the $1.4 billion Leach XPress, the $2 billion Nexus Pipeline, the $4.3 billion Rover Pipeline, the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline and the $2 billion Mountaineer XPress.
These giant pipeline systems do not include the “transmission lines” that move natural gas from well sites and processing plants to the interstate pipelines, nor do they count the “gathering lines” that connect individual well sites to transmission lines.
For several years, pipeliners have been working in both northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio. This work, combined with drilling and fracking, was part of the 10.3 million jobs and $1.3 trillion impact the industry made throughout the U.S. in 2015, according to the Washington, D.C.-based American Petroleum Institute.
In fact, the API shows the number of jobs the natural gas industry supports has grown by 500,000 since 2011. The average salary for one of these jobs is $101,181, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In West Virginia — as companies such as Southwestern Energy Co., Antero Resources, Consol Energy, EQT Corp., Chevron and others work to produce natural gas — API said the industry accounted for 70,900 jobs, while adding $8 billion to the state economy, in 2015.
“This is impactful information and validates what the West Virginia oil and natural gas industry has known for some time: that this industry is an economic driver for the state and its citizens,” West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association Executive Director Anne Blankenship said. “This industry’s ripple effect – in terms of jobs, community support, tax base, etc. – is becoming more like a tidal wave, and we’re proud to play a part in moving West Virginia forward.”
In Ohio, drillers such as Gulfport Energy, Ascent Resources, XTO Energy and Eclipse Resources join EQT, Antero and Consol to frack in the woods.