The Exponent Telegram | March 25, 2015
From major players like Dominion, EQT, Antero, CONSOL, PDC and MarkWest, to smaller contractors that aid in well and pipeline development, to law firms and ancillary businesses, the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom has had a positive impact on the North Central West Virginia (NCWV) economy.
In the third part of our four-day Annual Report series, we focus on the many companies that have grown the industry in NCWV, the economic benefits the area reaps, the companies’ efforts to be sensitive to environmental concerns and what the future holds.
We also report on coal’s continual role in the local and state economy and what the future could hold, as well as other energy providers, such as the Harrison Power Station and the emergence of
We also report on coal’s continual role in the local and state economy and what the future could hold, as well as other energy providers, such as the Harrison Power Station and the emergence of wind power.
When people talk about the energy industry in NCWV, it’s not difficult to see the positive economic results.
One only needs to look at the new offices constructed at White Oaks for Antero, Dominion, EQT and MarkWest. Or at the MarkWest’s processing facilities in Doddridge County.
Hundreds of contractors have been kept busy with these projects. And when you consider the actual work at the well pad sites, it’s easy to understand why proponents voice their support of the industry.
Need further proof?
One only needs to look at hotels that are running at or near capacity, or visit restaurants that are enjoying strong business, because of the additional people the oil and gas industry has drawn to the region.
Or perhaps we should consider the increase in tax revenues that some counties are enjoying, especially ones like Doddridge, which have seen major increases in revenues.
Because of that increase, most counties in the region are able to pay off debts early, invest more in quality-of-life projects like libraries and parks, and even hire additional personnel.
The natural gas and oil industry is helping to keep West Virginians in the Mountain State because of increased job opportunities. And it is also opening our state to newcomers, driven here by the demand for petroleum engineers and other highly skilled workers.
The industry is also serving as a catalyst for state colleges and universities to develop training programs that will enable more young West Virginians to learn the skills needed to land high-paying jobs.
This reaction by the academic world signals not only short-term needs, but long-term commitment by the many companies that now call NCWV home.
The natural gas boom has helped steady the economic tide that was rocked with attacks on coal. But it’s good to see coal regain some stability and remain an intregal part of the state’s economic picture.
Hopefully, state and national leaders can find a way to continue efforts to develop more clean-coal technology so our nation can find a workable balance between environmental and economic concerns. It’s fool’s play to consider a national energy policy without coal as a player.
Likewise, the state and nation must continue to develop other energy sources in an economically prudent fashion. The potential of wind and solar energy to supplement traditional extractive natural resources must continue to be developed.
And all energy development must be done with an eye to the environment and safety of workers and the public.
Fortunately, we believe the companies that call NCWV home are committed to that safe, environmentally friendly development because they realize that proper business development isn’t about short-term profits, but long-term gains.
Working with the long-term prosperity of our region and state in mind, the energy industry will continue to be a driving force for many years to come.