We’ve all heard that Ohio is sitting on a supposed gold mine of oil and natural gas resources buried deep in shale rock. It's generating a lot of controversy and a lot of business. The business side was the main focus of the Crain's Shale Summit in Mayfield Heights this week and more than 600 people attended. ideastream was a co-presenter of that conference and reporter Michelle Kanu has the story.
Some industry insiders say the Utica shale may be the biggest natural gas field in the nation and potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Estimates vary widely and we’re a long way off from knowing the true value, but energy companies are making big bets.
Tsuru: “We are really early and to talk about when it’s going to end is hard. The shale is a 50 to 100 year life resource.”
That’s Frank Tsusu, CEO of M3 Midstream. He told this week’s conference that his company has invested a billion dollars in Ohio facilities that will process the gas and separate the liquids and plans to build more.
One effect of such investments is that many eastern counties are already reaping an economic windfall.
Cleveland State University’s Ned Hill has some new data on that.
Hill: “In the 13 strong shale counties, we saw a 15.3% year to year increase in sales tax revenue from 2011 to 2012.”
The CSU research attributes most of the huge revenue jump to the shale boom.
On the flip side, many of these rural counties are having a hard time keeping up with all the roads, housing and other needs. Officials from Coshocton and Columbiana County said they could use some state help on that. And, they say said they don’t have the manpower to police the drillers on safety and health concerns; they and are relying on the state to regulate them.
Some would say the state’s moving slow on the oversight part
Outside the shale conference a small group of anti-fracking activists gathered and waived banners to protest the drilling and environmental risks it poses.