Elected leaders in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia said Oct. 13 that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging regional support and enhanced cooperation to ensure the continued development of natural gas in the Appalachian Basin.
The deal was struck in connection with the Tri-State Shale Summit in Morgantown, W.Va. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) today joined Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor (R) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in approving the pact.
“The development of West Virginia’s natural gas industry, although still in its infancy, has the potential to be a game changer not only in West Virginia, but for the Tri-state region,” Gov. Tomblin said. “As technology continues to pave the way for new opportunities and create good paying jobs for hardworking West Virginians, we are also working to support new investors and downstream industry partners who want to locate and invest in our region and our state’s workforce.”
“The issues and opportunities facing our growing oil and gas industry do not recognize state lines, making it essential that we work together to help ensure the continued growth we expect to see,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Taylor who represented the state and signed the agreement. “We are seeing tremendous and continued growth in this industry and we know that can be strengthened by partnering on key areas.”
As part of the new agreement, the three neighboring states within the Appalachian Basin will discuss ways to cooperate in marketing efforts to attract new businesses, strengthen workforce development programs, spur investments in expanding infrastructure and delivery of natural gas and liquids, and encourage its academic institutions to expand and collaborate on research.
The document is officially titled the “Agreement to Enhance Regional Cooperation and Job Growth through the Continuing Development of Shale Gas in the Appalachian Basin.”
The document says that production of Appalachian shale gas and natural gas liquids surpasses historical precedents every year and promises substantial growth over the next several decades. The document also says that the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that the Tri-State Region represents 85% of the increase in natural gas production in the United States since January of 2012 and predicts that the Marcellus shale will yield up to 147 trillion cubic feet of natural gas by 2040.
A recent report issued by a consortium of academic institutions from the Tri-State Region concluded that development of the Utica shale could eclipse the Marcellus shale in natural gas production, according to the agreement.
The document also said that production of natural gas from shale in the region should be done in an environmentally sound manner that protects streams.