Let’s begin with a short quiz.
What two things do the following nine states have in common: Colorado, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Montana, Oklahoma and North Dakota?
No, they are not all swing states in the coming election. Most aren’t, in fact.
The two things they have in common are that 1) all of them have unemployment rates that are below the national average (8.2 percent in June and May), and 2) all of them are experiencing shale gas and oil booms that have been made possible by horizontal drilling and fracking.
In North Dakota, the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the country (3 percent), the job market has become so hot in the state’s oil patch that local McDonald’s restaurants are offering signing bonuses to attract help. In Colorado, where unemployment is just below the national average (8.1 percent), the pace is less torrid, but is about to heat up. Last month, Noble Energy, which has leased 880,000 acres in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, revealed that in the years 2012-2016 it planned to invest $8 billion in its Colorado acreage.
Anadarko Petroleum, which has 350,000 acres in the Wattenberg Field, is investing $1 billion a year in leases.
I can’t think of companies in any other industry that are contemplating investments of that magnitude in Colorado. And Noble and Anadarko are just two of a dozen or more oil and gas companies that are operating in Colorado. The industry could easily be spending $3 billion to $5 billion a year in Colorado over the next few years.
It may drive the peace and justice/ occupy Wall Street crowd wild to hear it, but oil and natural gas are looking a lot like Colorado’s ticket out of the recession. And it’s all due to fracking. MORE …
(source: Boulder Weekly)