Shale gas saves West Virginians $4.3 billion in energy costs

By Staff | September 19, 2018

A new report from the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) says West Virginians have saved more the $4 billion on energy expenses during the past decade because of increased natural gas production and new technologies that have reduced its cost.

The “Powering West Virginia” report—which includes calculations developed by strategic communications firm Orion Strategies—says that between 2006 and 2016, households in the state saved nearly $1.6 billion and commercial and industrial users saved more than $2.7 billion. The report found that on average, each West Virginian spent $3,910 on energy-related needs in 2016. For those at or below the poverty level, this represents about one-third of their income.

The analysis examines how the shale oil and gas revolution in the Marcellus and Utica regions helped energy consumers in West Virginia increase disposable income, job growth and economic investment, in addition to revitalizing communities.

“This report highlights how West Virginia’s families and energy users benefit from the production of West Virginia’s natural resources and the ability to transport that energy through pipeline infrastructure, all of which provides millions of dollars annually to fund our schools, hospitals, roads and communities,” said Chris Ventura, CEA’s Midwest executive director.

The CEA analysis also found that since 2010, West Virginia’s core shale-related industry employment increased 77.54 percent, employing nearly 12,000 people. In comparison, all the state’s industries combined experienced a 15.74 percent change in employment. Oil and gas pipeline construction jobs grew from almost 1,800 at the end of 2016 to 5,130 by the end of the third quarter in 2017—a 185-percent increase.

Despite these benefits, Ventura said West Virginia’s energy production is being threatened by out-of-state activists, some of whom are funded by foreign governments. “CEA strongly encourages West Virginia’s elected leaders to continue their support of energy solutions that allow for the responsible development of American energy resources, which help keep energy affordable for everyone,” he said.