How much has shale drilling meant to Ohio’s economy? A new report by researchers from Cleveland State and Youngstown State universities says more than $50 billion since 2011.
The study, led by Andrew Thomas of Cleveland State, used government and industry data to determine how much has been invested in developing Ohio’s Utica shale.
But he says that’s only part of the picture.
“The actual effect on the economy is, of course, also a far more complicated question than the investment because a lot of that money does not actually flow into Ohio.
"For instance, a drilling company may hire somebody to come out there and drill a $10 million well, and only half of the money is spent in Ohio, or even less.”
Thomas says what was done with the money that did come to Ohio is key to understanding the shale play’s value. Much of it helped fund new or expanded support businesses and infrastructure.
“What really isn’t evaluated here is the effect it’s had on the downstream economy -- end users. And I’m not just talking about the petrochemical industry. I’m talking about all of the energy-intensive industries in Ohio that are using electricity and natural gas for energy-intensive manufacturing such as steel, glass and aluminum.”
Thomas says the fundamental reshaping, technically and financially, of how energy is produced in Ohio will drive economic development for decades to come. The building of a wide-ranging, modern distribution infrastructure is also expected to have an impact.