The state of Ohio is in need of jobs, and fortunately energy industry companies are organizing a massive drilling campaign in the Utica Shale. With it comes the promise of job creation and tax revenues for the state. An oil and gas rush seems to be coming.
According to the Washington Post, one company had spent over $2.2 billion and leased approximately 800,000 of land in eastern Ohio. This activity has the potential to contribute up to 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to national energy supplies, cut greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of jobs.
The Utica Shale is a rock layer located several thousand feet below the Marcellus Shale, one of the world's largest natural gas fields. It is named after the city of Utica, New York, where it appears, or outcrops, on the surface of the earth.
The Utica Shale is being called the "next big play," and has the potential to become an even larger natural gas resource, because it is thicker and much deeper than the Marcellus Shale, is more extensive, and based upon early test results, is believed to have the potential to respond well to modern drilling techniques including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
The Utica Shale extends from Quebec to Kentucky and lies beneath the surface of areas of Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, and beneath Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. In areas where the Marcellus Shale is present, the Utica Shale is thought to be a resource of the distant future because the Marcellus Shale will be less expensive to develop and the focus will be there rather than on a deeper resource with a more uncertain result.
Where are the jobs? Most of the mineral rights leasing and drilling activity in the Utica Shale was in eastern Ohio and Ontario, Canada. In these areas, the Utica Shale is less than 4000 feet below the surface of the earth and the Marcellus Shale is not present, making drilling easier and less expensive.
The Utica Shale is wet, meaning that crude oil or natural gas liquids are present, which are currently much more valuable than gas. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently estimated that the recoverable gas potential was up to 5.5 billion barrels of oil and between 3.8 and 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is about one-third of the expected production from Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, which is currently the largest oil reserve in the United States.
It's early in the development process, but already leading oil natural gas companies have spent billions of dollars acquiring Utica Shale land in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The companies, many of which are hiring hundreds of staff, reported that some wells in this area were already producing commercial quantities of natural gas.
Drillers in the eastern Ohio region of Utica Shale are hiring. Some of the types of jobs opening up in this area include:
One major energy employer is drilling in 20 locations. And the company plans to install about 200 miles of pipeline to transport the natural gas.
Because of the lure of inexpensive natural gas, another oil company is contemplating building a chemical plant in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Ohio, which would provide even more jobs.
Employers are buying up millions of in the Utica Shale region, and it is believed by some that Utica may hold even more potential than the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. An economic impact study released recently stated that harvesting the natural gas present in eastern Ohio could create more than 204,500 jobs in just four years, including jobs in leasing, royalties, exploration, drilling, production, and pipeline construction.
Using your OilJobFinder Membership you will be able to find all of the employers in the Utica Shale PLUS the latest job openings.