A Community Conversation on Natural Gas

Over the past few months, the Marcellus Shale Coalition asked Pennsylvanians their questions about natural gas development.
This website will answer those questions straightforwardly and honestly.

Q: Do the positives outweigh the negatives?

 Absolutely. While natural gas development is indeed a short-term, industrial process, this safe, tightly-regulated production has sparked an American energy revolution – a game-changer – for our nation’s economy and our long-term energy security. From more jobs at a time when they’re most needed, to strengthened energy security and a stronger standing in the global economy, to a cleaner environment – the benefits tied to shale gas development are as widespread as they are undeniable.

Job Creation

  • Employment in the entire upstream unconventional oil and gas sector on a direct, indirect, and induced basis will support nearly 1.8 million jobs in 2012, 2.5 million jobs in 2015, 3 million jobs in 2020, and nearly 3.5 million jobs in 2035. (IHS)
  • In Pennsylvania, Marcellus Shale natural gas production, according to the state department of Labor & Industry, supports more than 238,000 jobs.
  • The number of jobs [nationwide] could rise to three million by 2020. The energy revolution will add an estimated $62 billion to federal and state revenues this year. … The growth of shale gas will save the U.S. from spending $100 billion a year on imported LNG, which was the likely prospect five years ago. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Sean McGarvey, President, Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO, said the new oil and gas prospects are “a golden opportunity” to “put a floor under the middle class.” He said “responsible use of fracking,” adhering to all laws and best practices, provides a “foundation for American economic development,” and the cooperation that has evolved between producers and skilled labor throughout the industry should be a “shining example” to other industries. (AOL Energy, 10/31/12)
  • And importantly, many of these jobs are being created or saved in southeastern Pennsylvania.
  • The brunt of the jobs being created fall within the supply chain they include: site construction and preparation, production and site completion, piping, well production, transportation and logistics, and finally water management.

Bolstering Economic Growth

  • Unconventional energy activity will contribute $237 billion in value added contributions to GDP in 2012, a figure that will increase to $475 billion annually in 2035. (IHS, 10/23/12)
  • Unconventional oil and gas activity will generate more than $61 billion in federal and state government revenues in 2012 and increase to $91 billion in 2015 and $111 billion in 2020. By the last year of the forecast period, in 2035, government revenues will increase to more than $124 billion. (IHS, 10/23/12)
  • Domestically, growing natural gas supplies provide a foundation for a manufacturing renaissance, at least for industries for which energy is an important feedstock or where energy costs are significant. Chemical companies have been leaving the U.S. for years in the search for lower-cost countries in which to operate. Now they are planning to invest billions of dollars in new factories in this country because of inexpensive and relatively stable natural gas prices. (Wall Street Journal, 10/22/12)
  • The rapid growth of oil and natural gas production represents a major opportunity for the U.S. Without these energy resources, the disappointing economic picture would look worse, and so would the jobs numbers. Instead, the energy revolution is helping revitalize the economy and make the U.S. more competitive in the global marketplace. (Wall Street Journal, 10/22/12)

Protecting, Enhancing Our Environment

  • In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is…cheap and plentiful natural gas. (Associated Press, 8/16/12)
  • Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides at the power plant.(EPA, 10/17/12)
  • Flowback,recycling which comes up as the well is being fracked and not too long after, hit the 90 percent mark for the first six months of this year. (Pittsburgh Business Times, 8/21/12)
  • A recent URS Corporation study shows that actual methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells are substantially lower than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has claimed. (API, 9/21/12)

Natural gas producers continue to work diligently to ensure a safe, healthy, and clean environment. Working toward this shared goal, our industry works alongside local, state and federal regulators and other government officials [click here to see the various governmental agencies that regulate Marcellus Shale development] to ensure we get this historic opportunity right.


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