Natural Gas

As natural gas prices continue to drop, the recent nationwide boom in drilling is slowing.

Several companies have said in recent weeks they plan to cut back production, but experts say the low prices are also opening up new markets.

Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, says there will be fewer natural gas wells drilled in 2012.

Yet Klaber says that even as drillers are pressured by low prices, the cost creates opportunities for more people and industries to use the product.

 

The Dayton Daily News reports that natural gas trapped in two shale formations beneath Ohio could mean thousands of new jobs, if activity in other states is any indication.

Pennsylvania,which sits on one of the same shale formations as Ohio, saw gas and oil industries hire 72,000 new people from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2011.

The newspaper reports that a series of announcements in the last week, including $750 million in land leasing by the Hess Corp. for possible drilling, shows that Ohio is on the cusp of an oil and gas boom.

State parks and other lands in Ohio will be opened to oil and gas drilling under a bill that has passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

The Senate voted 22-10 on the legislation that sets up a commission to oversee oil and gas leasing. It also requires state agencies to create property inventories that could yield potential drilling sites.

The House has passed the bill, but would have to agree to the Senate's changes before it could go to the governor's desk.

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