The state has billions of dollars invested in leases, wells, and related areas. Pennsylvania’s pipelines are in the right places, too. Its growing network of pipelines link the state’s wells to regional and national hubs.
Another factor that could allow Pennsylvania to be the big dog in the yard for a long time is Shell Oil Co. The company has tentatively chosen western Pennsylvania as a site for a petrochemical plant.
Pennsylvania also makes it easy for energy companies to choose to locate here. Thousands of wells have begun production during the past four years, but the state also has at least 2,000 that have been drilled but not completed—in other words, companies don’t have to shell out the money to start from scratch. Saving money is an enticing factor when picking a state to locate in.
Pennsylvania has a long-standing history in well drilling and energy production. Pennsylvania has the proud heritage of being the first place in the world where a commercially successful well was drilled for oil production. Edwin Drake drilled the first well in 1859 in Venango County, near Titusville. Paraffin-based “Pennsylvania Grade” crude oil is renowned for its lubricating qualities. More than 350,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania since that time.
In Drake’s time, the main use for oil was to make kerosene for lamps and stoves. Now petroleum and natural gas fuel our modern world – providing transportation, heating, electricity, and petrochemicals for manufacturing. Natural gas is used mainly for heating buildings and producing electricity at power plants, but it also fuels some vehicle fleets.
Pennsylvania is also poised to lead in Marcellus shale jobs. According to Colorado-based IHS Global Insight, Pennsylvania had just under 57,000 gas-related jobs in 2010, but that number is expected to increase to 111,000 by 2015 and about 270,000 by 2035. Among the top 10 unconventional gas-producing states, Pennsylvania was third in jobs in 2010 and would be second by 2035, trailing only Texas with 682,740 jobs.