Ohio's oil and gas industry grew exponentially over the past 12 months. The latest US Chamber of Commerce study claims shale drilling added 4.1 billion dollars to the state's economy in 2012 alone, and many economists and government officials say that's just the beginning. Ideastream's Michelle Kanu has some of the highlights from 2012 and a preview of the developments expected in 2013.
2012 brought a host of oil and gas investments to Northeast Ohio. GE Oil and Gas finalized plans to build a $5 million complex in Canton, Exterran started hiring for their new Youngstown facility, and Chesapeake broke ground on a corporate campus in Stark County. That's in addition to millions of dollars companies have paid to private landowners for drilling and mineral rights.
Those investments helped slash the jobless rate in Mahoning County from above 9 percent in 2011 to below 7 percent in 2012.
Jacob Duritsky is the director of business attraction with Team NEO. He says much of the job growth is indirect, in industries like lodging and food service that have grown to meet the demands of an influx of out of state energy workers. But the experience of states like North Dakota and Pennsylvania, where shale development is further along, indicates the ratio of direct to indirect job creation will eventually shift.
Duritsky: "The balance as time goes on in these plays tends to shift a bit more toward the direct jobs which then create those indirect and induced jobs."
Moving forward, many of those jobs will involve building the next stage of Ohio's natural gas industry. Eric Planey is the head of business attraction for the Regional Chamber in the Mahoning Valley.
Planey:"2013 is going to be continued build out of the infrastructure that's needed for the oil and gas industry, specially the midstream and the processing and the pipeline activity that is essential for the Utica shale play to really reach its full potential."
A handful of major gas companies have processing plants under construction that are slated to open in Ohio later this year.