THE MARCELLUS SHALE AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN WEST VIRGINIA

All one needs to do to realize that a mini industrial revolution is occurring throughout our tri-state region is to drive on the rural roads that populate the area.  From Williamsport to Waynesburg, Pennsylvania continuing through the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia towards Charleston, small town hotels and restaurants are overflowing with the commerce that has come with the Marcellus Shale activity.  But what industries have been affected by this activity and to what extent?

Researchers at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics just published a study entitled The Economic Impact of the Natural Gas Industry and the Marcellus Shale Development in West Virginia in 2009 (the “Study”).    In the Study, WVU researchers analyzed a variety of issues, including the economic impacts and forecasts of Marcellus activity on variety of industries including mining, construction, utilities and transportation, and the results are striking.

The Study found that in 2009, the oil and natural gas industry “directly employed” approximately 9,900 individuals representing over $550 million in wages.  Direct and indirect employment totals over 24,000 jobs.  In this calculus, over 10 separate industries were represented with the mining, transportation and construction industries accounting for approximately 9,000 direct jobs with essentially the same number being employed indirectly within a broad range of industries from professional and scientific services to arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services.

Aside from the Study findings, there is good reason to suspect that this trend will continue into the future with various energy companies announcing projects that will continue to positively impact the construction industry.  For example, Dominion Transmission recently announced plans to construct a large gas processing facility at Natrium in Marshall County.  Further, the abundant, local supply of gas should act as a catalyst for gas-consuming industries to locate within the region.

If you have time, we encourage you to review the work of the WVU researchers and draw your own conclusions as you look optimistically at the prospects of activities – including employment – in the Marcellus Shale region.  A copy of the Study may be found at:  http://be.wvu.edu/bber/

Jim Wright concentrates his practice in the area of complex and commercial litigation, particularly in the areas of energy, labor and employment and construction law as well as other business matters. He has also represented professionals before state licensure boards. During his career, he has tried numerous cases in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia and Ohio. He has also argued cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and various appellate courts in the State of Ohio. Jim is a also a recognized leader in the profession, having served as a member of the West Virginia State Bar Board of Governors and currently serving as the State Bar’s Vice President.
 
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