WHEELING - Over the next 23 years, natural gas and oil extraction from shale formations like the Marcellus and Utica could support as many as 3.5 million jobs - and lead to $5.1 trillion in capital expenditures.
So states the report released Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute, the Institute for 21st Century Energy, the American Chemistry Council and the Natural Gas Supply Association.
"We've known for some time that shale energy is truly a game-changer for America - and now we can prove it," said Karen Harbert, president and chief executive officer of the energy institute.
"This new, comprehensive study demonstrates that shale energy is already contributing over $200 billion to our economy, with much more to come, if policymakers at all levels of government don't stand in the way," she added.
In the natural gas field, jobs can be created for those who search property records to sign landowners to leases; those who drill and frack wells; those who process, transport and market the gas streams that come out of the ground; and those construction workers who build the pipeline networks or gas plants, such as ethane crackers.
Moreover, these jobs can lead to additional hiring by companies that provide supplies to the gas companies; more hiring at hotels, restaurants and department stores; and numerous other drilling-related jobs.
"Polls show Americans' top priority is job creation, and the oil and natural gas industry will be a driver for those new jobs, with nearly three quarters of a million new jobs added over just the next three years," said Jack Gerard, president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based API. "The study highlights the extraordinary opportunities we have right here at home to develop our unconventional oil and gas resources and return our economy to a pro-growth engine."
The study shows that shale energy development has created 1.75 million jobs over the past few years alone. By 2015, shale development will be responsible for 2.5 million jobs; by 2020, 3 million, and by 2035, 3.5 million.
In 2012, shale energy is responsible for $62 billion in tax revenue. Between now and 2035, shale energy development is expected to contribute more than $2.5 trillion in total tax revenue - more than half of which will go to states and localities. Overall, between now and 2035, the energy industry will invest more than $5.1 trillion in energy development, the study shows.
The study also notes that by 2015, oil production is expected to increase by 46 percent over 2008. By 2020, there will be a 68 percent increase compared to 2008, predominantly because of shale. The research also predicts that by 2020, net oil imports will decrease by 60 percent, reducing America's spending on imported oil by $200 billion.
The production of natural gas liquids - ethane, propane, butane and pentane - from shale gas is expected to grow from 1.8 million barrels per day in 2012 to 4.8 million barrels of oil a day in 2035, the information shows. At an ethane cracker, the substance is further processed to make ethylene, which serves as a building block for the plastics industry.
"Abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas are revitalizing the chemical industry and providing a competitive edge for manufacturers in the global marketplace. This study confirms that these benefits from natural gas liquids are not a short-term phenomenon but an ongoing trend expected to last for decades," said American Chemistry Council President and Chief Executive Officer Cal Dooley.