A new Cleveland State University (CSU) study predicts that Ohio's Utica Shale industry could help create 10,505 full-time jobs by 2019, mainly as the result of post-production opportunities in areas such as the supply chain and the petrochemical industry.
The three-part study examined state data, publicly available information from companies throughout the industry and interviews with industry personnel. It also found that in the coming years an aging workforce would help create additional career opportunities for the state's younger workforce through many opening positions that would require higher education and specialized training.
Beyond drilling and completing wells, the study said economic opportunity would exist in midstream operations, such as pipelines, storage and natural gas processing in addition to downstream activities such as those in power generation, distribution and the conversion of hydrocarbons into petrochemicals for plastic products.
CSU acknowledged that the commodities downturn has slowed growth over the last year or so, but its report said "the shale resource is not going away, and the industry is here for the long term and will be positioned to benefit at the time when prices rebound."
"Ohio should be more than just an extractive economy in which minerals are taken out of the ground and shipped elsewhere to create wealth," said Andrew Thomas, a report co-author and executive-in-residence at CSU's Energy Policy Center. "There could be opportunities to manufacture products here from local resources, employing a local workforce and building a supply chain here."
CSU said the play's leading companies, with prime acreage and more access to firm transportation, are weathering the downturn and preparing adequately for a rebound. While the report said many jobs would be created in pipeline and processing maintenance and other post-production operations, new sectors are likely to emerge somewhere in the Appalachian Basin, if not in Ohio.
Five ethane crackers have been proposed for either Pennsylvania, Ohio or West Virginia, including a nearly $6 billion proposal from PTT Global Chemical pcl to build one in Belmont County, OH (see Shale Daily, Sept. 9; April 23). CSU said a single cracker would create 7,400 construction jobs and 1,570 supply jobs for every $1 billion invested. The report also said large-scale crackers tend to employ about 400 people for day-to-day operations.
The report said the more than $4 billion in planned infrastructure investments in regional pipelines and processing plants over the next five years would help create an additional 5,000 construction jobs per year. Research was conducted by CSU's Center for Economic Development and the Energy Policy Center at the school's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. It was commissioned by the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy Shale Committee with support from the Economic Growth Foundation and the state's for-profit economic development organization, JobsOhio.
CSU researchers have monitored the Utica Shale's economic impact in the state over the years. As part of a separate shale gas monitoring series, the university said in January 2014 that the play was beginning to have noticeable economic impacts in the state, with significant effects on sales tax receipts and employment rates that year (see Shale Daily, Jan. 10, 2014).