Utica: Better Than Marcellus?

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted September 21, 2011

Ohio currently draws 85% of its energy from coal burning.  This heavy use of dirty fossil fuels has put the state in ranks as the fourth largest in carbon dioxide emissions.

But all is about to change.  This week, Ohio governor John Kasich is holding an energy summit to determine the future of energy in the state and to set up a plan for what is to come.

Currently, as established by former governor Ted Strickland, Ohio is aiming to generate 12.5% of its power from renewables and an additional 12.5% from sources such as nuclear and fuel cells by 2025, reports the New York Times.

This and many other measures will be reviewed at the coming summit, an event that will be attended by Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK), America’s Natural Gas Alliance, the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, and Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) among others, the article reports.

One of the major topics of discussion will be Utica Shale.  A highly undeveloped shale deposit, the Utica Shale covers most of the state, and some predict it could hold more natural gas than the famed Marcellus Shale.

Environmentalists are up in arms, protesting shale development in fear of the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by which the gas is extracted.

Kasich, however, does not sympathize.  “There’s no problem with fracking. I dismiss that,” he told the New York Times.

As of right now, 40 permits have been issued but only 9 wells drilled, says the article.

Chesapeake Energy holds a permit for over 1.25 million acres, which they predict could be worth around $20 billion.

The most promising aspect of the shale, however, is its potential job creation.

A study by the Oil & Gas Energy Education Association revealed that Utica could create 204,000 jobs in 4 years, and up to $14 billion in investments, said iStock Analyst.

This has great promise for a national economy struggling with unemployment rates.  But the potential doesn’t stop there.

Further investigation showed that up to 400,000 jobs could be created nationwide in the chemical industry through sufficient development of Utica, said the New York Times.

Last year, the oil and gas industry in Ohio employed 4,490 people, and this year that is expected to rise to 4,614, iStock Analyst reports.

And as Market Watch revealed, a study by Wood Mackenzie of API showed that by 2030, development in the oil and natural gas industries could create 1.4 million jobs and $800 billion in revenue.

It definitely makes fracking look promising.

Though Kasich did little to calm the fears of environmentalists in regards to fracking, Tom Steward of Ohio Oil & Gas assured they would be responsible.

“We stand here today firmly united in a common message that this resource will be responsibly developed, and doing so will benefit all Ohioans who are looking for economic opportunity and energy security,” he told iStock Analyst.

Maybe Ohio holds all the promise for our nation.

That’s all for now,


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