The oil and natural gas industry is an economic foundation in West Virginia. Its potential is enormous. And I’ll say it again and again– The industry’s success is a cause for HOPE for the Mountain State.
In the U.S., West Virginia ranks as the seventh largest natural gas producer. We rank fourth in proven natural gas reserves. That’s gas we have in the ground – gas that will be powering and heating homes for decades to come.
The industry is the state’s top-paying sector with annual wages exceeding $1 billion. It directly employs more than 22,000 people, who are making between $50,000 and $90,000 a year. And natural gas users – households, businesses, manufacturers – have saved $1.1 trillion since 2008 because natural gas production increased in the three Shale Crescent states – West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The industry has paid more than $2 billion in severance and county property taxes since 2008, which means we’re investing in communities, schools, healthcare for seniors and dozens of other worthwhile state programs. These numbers are simply incredible, and they show why the oil and natural gas industry is a leader in supporting the West Virginia economy.
Let’s not be content with where we are, though. We have some challenges that can become opportunities. Commodity prices have fallen to record lows, and those prices are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future. That means natural gas is very affordable for all market sectors.
Because of this extraordinary pricing opportunity, it is critical our state leaders embrace existing and create new policies that encourage the use of our abundant, energy efficient, clean burning natural gas in West Virginia and make the state competitive with its neighboring states.
We must work to encourage the development of new chemical and manufacturing facilities that will use these vast supplies of oil, natural gas and value-added liquids within the state to bolster infrastructure investment and create long term employment opportunities for hard working West Virginian’s. The potential is enormous. So let’s work together with three simple goals in mind:
Moving the economy forward.
Moving our people forward.
Moving West Virginia forward.
The Independent oil and Gas Association is proud to be a driving force in West Virginia’s energy and business future.
by Charlie Burd
Executive Director, Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia