Marcellus Shale is becoming a bigger and bigger part of West Virginia’s economy and it looks like that’s going to continue for years to come.

“It’s transformational. It has changed the entire landscape both from an economic stand point, from an energy stand point and, frankly, a geo-political stand point.”

Chris Guith

That’s the word from Chris Guith, the Vice President for Policy at the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He was the guest speaker Wednesday at the opening of the Marcellus2Manufacturing Conference at the Charleston Civic Center.

The event is aimed at educating West Virginia business owners and industry workers on where the shale industry has been and where it’s going.

In 2012, Marcellus Shale created more than 12,000 jobs in West Virginia. Guith says that number will climb to 30,000 by 2020. As for the economy, shale added $283-million to the state economy last year.

Guith says the industry is still in its infancy here in West Virginia and it’s going to take some time to see huge financial gains.

“It’s not going to happen for some time. We need to build the pipelines to get this gas where it needs to go,” according to Guith. “But the investments are being lined up right now and things look very, very good for West Virginia.

One of the things holding back the entire industry is a glut of natural gas on the U.S. market. Guith says West Virginia hasn’t been impacted as much as states like Pennsylvania where the shale is only producing methane. The Marcellus Shale in the northern part of West Virginia also yields wet gases like ethane and butane.

Guith stresses there are no guarantees but if shale demand continues to grow as predicted, it could be a billion dollar industry in West Virginia in a couple decades.

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  • Luke

    You are right the current economic impact to the state is grossly underestimated by this guy.

  • MrJ

    It's a boon to the unemployed of Oklahoma and Texas--once again, we allow ourselves to be used by out-of-state interests for the sake of a few convenient store jobs.

  • Harpers Ferry

    Is this news? What did you think he was going to say? Cheerleaders don't cheer for the opposing team, or even give objective viewpoints.

  • brandt wendell

    Where is this Chamber guy from? Not WV. Marshall County alone has already had $BILLIONS$ invested. $283 Million? Maybe to the State coffers, but much more the last 5 years has been spent on thousands of leases, job hirings, materials, ect. ect.. Chesapeake alone spent $80 Million on road repairs in 2011 in Wetzel, Marshall and Ohio Counties. Last Winter,s warm year caused the glut. Production is up, pipelines going in, processing plants construction exploding, hang on. "a Billion Dollar industry in decades"? I hope you guys aren,t paying this guy?

  • hillbilly

    Its all about jobs, jobs, the moment. Its all about sell that gas, sell that gas... to other countries. In a lot less years than they have said it would last, this resource will be gone and WV will have gotten a lot less for it than the out of state execs and corporations who sold it. All WV residents will have left to show for it after its gone is $300 a month heating bills..