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Appalachian Governors Renew Commitment to Promoting Shale Gas

Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have extended for another three years a cooperative agreement to promote the region’s shale gas resources and create more economic opportunities.

The states’ governors agreed to extend the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was first signed in October 2015 to establish the Tri-State Shale Coalition.

“The extension of this agreement by all states signifies to domestic and international markets that the region’s shared goal is to maximize opportunities for these resources to be used to support additional manufacturing opportunities within the region rather than to simply export the resources to other areas,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s administration said the states are now free to continue working collaboratively on marketing and promotion, workforce development, transportation, infrastructure and academic research.

Since it was established, the coalition has shared information about policies, organized workshops and training activities, created a regional workforce platform, and promoted economic growth and job creation. Its efforts also led to Pennsylvania commissioning a study by IHS Markit that found the Appalachian Basin could accommodate up to four more ethane crackers in addition to the one being built by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell plc in Western Pennsylvania.

The coalition also played a part in a study released last year that showed there are multiple options for underground natural gas liquids (NGL) storage in various formations throughout the basin. Led by West Virginia University, participants from the geological surveys in the three states mapped potential options for subsurface storage. The study was aimed at helping the private sector establish a major NGL storage hub in the region.

The coalition’s work is one of several partnerships that have involved both the private and public sectors to promote opportunities from Appalachia’s growing shale production. The MOU is to automatically renew annually through December 31, 2021.

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