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IHS: Unconventional gas supporting 1.4 million US jobs by 2015

Natural gas production from shale, coalbed methane, and tight sands is expected to support 1.4 million US jobs by 2015, said a new study released by IHS Global Insight.

Unconventional gas activity supported more than 1 million jobs in 2010, said the report, entitled, “The Economic and Employment Contributions of Unconventional Gas Development in State Economies.”

Unconventional gas activity accounted for 53% of total US gas production in 2010 and is projected to rise to 79% of total US gas production by 2035, the study said.

Nearly $3.2 trillion in cumulative investments in the development of unconventional gas are expected to fuel increased production during 2010-35, IHS said.

“At a time when the US economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession and struggling to create enough jobs to sharply reduce the unemployment rate, the growth in shale and other unconventional natural gas production is a major contributor to employment prospects and the US economy,” said IHS Vice-Pres. John Larson, lead author of the study.

During 2010-15, the top 10 producing states as ranked by unconventional gas-related employment are listed as Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Wyoming, Ohio, Utah, Oklahoma, and Michigan.

These 10 states are expected to experience a compound job growth rate of nearly 8%/year, with Pennsylvania and Colorado leading with expected compound growth rates of 14% and 10%, respectively. Meanwhile, total US employment is expected to grow at a significantly lower average rate of 1.6% during the same period, IHS said.

Of the nearly 1.5 million unconventional gas activity jobs contributing to the economy by 2015, nearly one-fifth are projected for nonproducing states.

The top 10 nonproducing states as ranked by jobs growth due to unconventional gas development in 2015 are projected to be California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Maryland.

“When it comes to unconventional natural gas, a state does not need to have a gas play to benefit economically” Larson added.

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