The Pittsburgh region is poised to enjoy freedom from foreign energy and a new era of self-sufficiency, thanks to development of the Marcellus Shale, according to a recent report.

"The use of this abundant fuel source, natural gas, will reinvest our energy expenditures back into the region, rebuilding our manufacturing base and employing and re-employing a large segment of our current, and soon to be added to, labor force," said the report "Regional Pittsburgh: The New Energy Economy."

"It is estimated that the use of [natural gas] will add over a quarter of a million new jobs by the year 2020. This does not include all of the service and related jobs that will be created due to the influx of population, the employment of the currently out-of-work people and thus a reduction in benefits support, and the added tax revenue that will provide the public works projects to keep pace with the increased social infrastructure that this growth will require," said the report, which was prepared by the Center for Industrial Research Applications at West Virginia University.

The area around Pittsburgh will benefit as Marcellus development continues, the report said.

"The exploration and transmission of the reserves will create the need to increase or reactivate our large machining and distribution capabilities, plus the ramping up of our raw materials handling reserves," the authors said. "Supporting this increase will create numerous employment opportunities in all manufacturing and distribution sectors and the service organizations that supply them.

"The direct impact will be the reinstitution of past work opportunities, the creation of new trades and disciplines with the ultimate goal of the next best reason to get a good, well rounded education from initial classroom education to on-the-job training and then on to continuing professional development."