Natural gas drives growth in economies and businesses where the resource is abundant. Thousands of jobs are created each year by the natural gas industry, and, according to The Canton Repository, these jobs pay “an average weekly wage of $1,350 in 2015, higher than many other sectors, including financial services, manufacturing and government jobs.”
These positive economic effects are most pronounced in the Utica and Marcellus shales, with incredible benefits coming to states rich in natural gas like Ohio and Pennsylvania. As The Canton Repository writes,
“The resource is here, as are dozens of companies with some tie to the industry. Natural gas production in the eastern United States, mostly in Appalachia, is expected to more than double in the next 35 years, to 45 billion cubic feet per day, and account for 40 percent of national production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”
Production continues to rise, and Ohio’s natural gas is sent to Canada or the Gulf Coast through pipelines to be processed, turned around, and sent right back to factories in Ohio. This underscores another important aspect of economic development that natural gas brings – natural gas processing plants that allow the state to harvest, process, and utilize the natural resources right beneath their feet. As The Canton Repository notes, this is already underway:
“A project proposed on the banks of the Ohio River in western Pennsylvania could change the dynamic. Shell Chemical Appalachia plans to build a $6 billion cracker plant that will turn ethane into ethylene, a chemical needed for making a common type of plastic.”
Projects like these continue to bring more jobs, and more capital to local communities. The positive effects that natural gas brings to a region are well beyond reproach, and a continued emphasis on expanding our natural gas and pipeline infrastructure will only serve to help communities on top of the Marcellus and Utica shales, and across the country.