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Area development very significant

March 23, 2012
The Herald-Star

There were some significant developments last week that centered around the oil and gas industry.

Just look at March 13, for example. At noon that day, Frank Semple, president and CEO of MarkWest Energy Partners, was joined in Cadiz by Gov. John Kasich to announce the company plans to build $500 million processing facilities in Harrison and Noble counties.

And then at 5 p.m. that day, Chesapeake Energy announced its intention to partner with M3 Midstream and EV Energy Partners to build natural gas gathering and processing facilities in Scio and Hanoverton. The cost of those facilities, which Chesapeake will operate, is $900 million.

That's five hours, and $1.4 billion. Or, to help put that number into greater perspective, that's $1,400,000,000.

Numbers that big show that economic development surrounding the Utica shale play is going to drastically alter the lives of area residents.

MarkWest, for example, estimates that the facilities in Harrison and Monroe counties will require as many as 700 construction-related jobs to complete, and 40 or more full-time, long-term jobs to run the plants. Those numbers are important to a region that has had a unemployment rate that is consistently among the highest in the state,

As Kasich pointed out, those jobs are also good for all of Ohio, which has become the No. 1 job creator in the Midwest, Kasich said, and the No. 5 job creator in the United States.

While residents in the Steubenville and Weirton area were disappointed to learn on March 15 that the Shell Oil Co. had made the long-awaited decision to place its ethane cracker plant in Monaca, Pa., last week's announcements by MarkWest and Chesapeake demonstrate that our area is in a good position to benefit from the oil and gas drilling industry.

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