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Ohio Utica Shale

Financial activity tied to Marcellus shale called robust in survey

By Bob Downing Published: March 8, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A Federal Reserve survey of regional economic trends says activity coinciding with the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom in Pennsylvania has been robust.

The Fed's latest Beige Book, a snapshot of business conditions in the agency's 12 regional bank districts, notes that eastern and central Pennsylvania banks in shale gas areas in the agency's Third District "described customers paying down loans with royalty money and avoiding further debt by paying cash."

In the Fourth District, which includes western Pennsylvania and Ohio, the survey says shale gas activity is expanding at a robust pace, while conventional oil and gas was steady. "Shale gas producers expanded payrolls, while employment at conventional oil and gas firms was flat," the Fed noted.

Natural gas production has boomed in many states over the past few years as advances in drilling opened up vast reserves buried in deep shale rock.

The Marcellus Shale is an underground gas-rich formation extending across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Ohio and Maryland. But most of the production so far is in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Ohio also has the Utica Shale, another formation rich in oil and gas. New York has placed a moratorium on shale gas drilling, citing environmental concerns.

Meanwhile, the boom also is creating some local economic worries.

"Dealers in the eastern part of the District are apprehensive about losing technicians to the shale gas industry, which may put upward pressure on wages," the Fed said.

Bryan Routledge, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business in Pittsburgh, cautioned that the Beige Book contains anecdotal information about business trends, not hard numbers.

"But it is interesting that people are mentioning shale," Routledge said, calling the report a good example of how the Fed can get snapshots of possible new economic trends.

The Fed noted that the boom is about more than just drilling. Manufacturers and processors are starting to expand in the Fourth District, using the natural gas both for power and to make other consumer goods.

"Beyond the gas fields, energy projects are attracting substantial investment interest and loan opportunities for larger banks," the Fed noted.

On the other hand, the Fed said, coal production fell in the Fourth District and "was expected to decline further with a shift in demand toward low-priced natural gas and stricter environmental regulations."



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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.