Oil and gas drilling will bring 66,000 jobs and a $5 billion boost to Ohio’s troubled economy within the next two years, a study prepared by Cleveland State University economists predicts. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce commissioned the study for the Ohio Shale Coalition and used information from last year’s drilling for its predictions, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Gas producers such as Chesapeake Energy, ExxonMobile, and others have already leased more than 3 million acres statewide for drilling, and gas companies are paying an average of $2,500 per acre, so more than $7.5 billion has already been spent, the study said.
So far, only 33 wells were drilled last year, and only four produce oil and gas. However, by 2014, the study said, the gas producers will drill more than 1,000 wells annually at a cost of $6 billion.
The study, though, came up with much higher amounts than other analysts have predicted. In other studies, experts said there will only be up to 200 wells a year drilled in 2014.
Experts working on the study, though, pointed out Ohio’s gas is mixed with oil, which makes it more attractive for drillers and will bring more of them in from the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale fields.
The wells won’t come cheaply — which will also benefit Ohio. Each well will cost at least $5 million, and each drilling location will need about $1 million in road and bridge upgrades to enable existing roads to handle heavy drilling and equipment trucks.
Facilities to clean up and separate oil and other chemicals from natural gas are also needed, as well as a network of pipelines to move the material.
The report notes only a portion of the construction labor will be based in Ohio, but still, the growth will stimulate nearly $10 billion per year in economic activity.
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