While slumping energy prices are devastating Pennsylvania's once-booming shale drilling industry, Ohio's nascent fracking industry could be primed to take off once the market improves, according to a prominent industry analyst.
Oil and gas drilling activity this year has fallen off across the Marcellus and Utica shale formations that lie underneath eastern Ohio and much of Pennsylvania, according to DrillingInfo, a Texas-based energy analytics firm.
That has led to economic problems in Pennsylvania. But in Ohio, which last year produced about one-eighth as much natural gas as the Keystone State, there haven't been nearly as many jobs to lose.
As of June – the most recent time that statistics are available – Ohio's oil and gas industry directly employed 2,085 people, down from 2,367 at the same time last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In Pennsylvania, oil and gas employment nudged up slightly from 6,422 in June 2014 to 6,486 last June, though Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry spokeswoman Sara Goulet said there's been a dropoff in jobs to set up new drilling sites. Local businesses that cater to drillers have also seen sales drop off recently.
But when prices inevitably rebound, Ohio will be in an enviable position, said DrillingInfo CEO Allen Gilmer. It's already been proven that Ohio sits atop a world-class reservoir of oil and gas, he said, but unlike Pennsylvania, it still hasn't been heavily exploited.Click here to read the whole article, which features several graphics.
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