Saturday, August 27, 2011

Energy Independence Awaits

Ohio EPA graphic.
"Ohio could be on the verge of looking like East Texas in the 1950's."  That's one expert's take on what soon awaits Eastern Ohio when the Marcellus and Utica shale plays are in full bore.  Evidence is building that she is right.

In Ohio, it's not just natural gas, but oil, that is expected to emerge.  A pretty good primer on this issue comes from an unlikely source--the Ohio EPA.  Plus, news reports speak to a recent $20 billion in land value from the play found by Chesapeake.

The consensus I see is this:  Energy independence awaits as long as environmental regulations, workforce training efforts, and manufacturing capabilities keep pace with the possibilities.

Three things stand out for Licking County, right on the fringe of the oil and natural gas finds.

For one, though oil and gas are commodities, proximity to these finds should make our region, nonetheless, more attractive to large energy users looking to spare the transportation costs of moving the gas.

Secondly, the diverse manufacturing prowess of Licking County makes our location ideal for companies looking to expand or locate in proximity to the drilling rigs. 

Third, is the workforce impact.  People who live in Licking County can expect more opportunity.  The transportation of water, sand, and disposal tanks means anyone with a commercial drivers license in this region is more employable than ever.  Pipefitting and rig-related skills are also going to be in high demand.  These are highly-skilled jobs that should also be expected to pay, in-kind, for those skills.

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