Glacial Energy Blog

Pennsylvania and Natural Gas: A Match Made in Heaven

Fracking DrillingPennsylvania is home to the second largest natural gas field in the world, the Marcellus Shale formation. This massive source of energy is also a massive source of wealth for the state. The Marcellus Shale is instrumental in bringing some stability to the local economy and the workers that harvest the gas. In fact, nearly 250,000 people are employed in a position relating to the Marcellus Shale. The hydraulic fracturing aspect of the operation, commonly referred to as “fracking,� is responsible for creating 150,000 jobs in the past three years alone.

Not only is this field creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, but they also pay well. Core fracking positions pay about $90,000 per year and in 2010, this sector pumped over $11 billion into Pennsylvania’s local economy. All this success has been attributed to the policies and legislation set forth to encourage investment and safety.

Even those not directly participating in the actual work of harvesting natural gas are reaping the benefits. Pennsylvania residents, particularly in Williamsport, the hub of natural gas expansion, are getting low energy rates and an economic growth of 7.8 percent. In fact, the average rates for utilities dropped more than 40 percent over three years, which saved each resident about $3200. Because of the economic growth and new residents looking to benefit from this natural gas rush, the tax base for counties with more than 150 natural gas wells grew by 11.4 percent, despite the statewide tax collection dropping by 3.8 percent.

Fracking is environmentally sound as long as it is done properly, which the experts with Marcellus Shale ensure it is. About 99.5 percent of the solution used for fracking is just sand and water. The other 0.5 percent is one or more of a few dozen chemicals. The chemical or chemicals used vary by well, depending on the geological composition of the well. A full list of the chemicals can be found here, but it also includes chemicals not used in the fracking process, like diesel fuel and oil for generators and vehicles.

It is projected that the Marcellus Shale could provide over a quarter of the United States’ natural gas by the year 2020. This could potentially drop energy costs all over the country and perpetuate tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs, which Pennsylvania was suffering a major loss of between 1990 and 2009. Because of the efforts in Pennsylvania, several other states, including Ohio, New York, and North Carolina are looking to invest in natural gas mining. It’s estimated that the United States has about a 100 years worth of natural gas within its borders, setting the stage for a majorly beneficial economic growth nationwide.

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