Marcellus Shale equals energy independence

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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