If you still have any doubts that the shale oil and gas industry is making an economic impact on our region, we would direct you to a survey recently released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy.
The numbers show that while the Utica and Marcellus shale industry supported nearly 39,000 jobs in Ohio during 2012, that number could grow to as many as 266,000 jobs by 2035. Even more important than the raw numbers, most of that growth is expected to occur in Eastern Ohio, from Monroe to Trumbull counties.
Looking at it from another angle, as the number of wells and processing facilities in Ohio increases, the industry's contribution to the state's economy is expected to grow as well. Last year, the industry directly contributed $4.1 billion into Ohio's gross state product, a number that is projected to grow to more than $35 billion by 2035.
That growth will have a big impact on other parts of the economy as well, as evidenced by the creation of training programs at Eastern Gateway Community College. Those programs will ensure a well-trained local work force is ready to take advantage of the employment opportunities that come with the expansion of the industry.
Workers for Halcon Resources began working this week on the first Trumbull County well that is expected to reach the Utica formation. The well is in Burghill.
BP, meanwhile, plans to drill 10 Trumbull wells by April.
All this could be the precursor to pipelines to midstream processing plants to downstream factories, all of will would provide a long-term boost to the local economy.
When you take a close look at the numbers in the survey, they support this anticipated boost.