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DNR Secretary Angelle Hails NW Recognition Another Positive Impact of Haynesville Shale

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle said today that the recent recognition of Shreveport by a New York-based national news website as one of the top 25 best destinations for recent college graduates is a prime example of how exploration of the Haynesville Shale brings economic benefits to the area and the state that go beyond just the people working directly for the energy industry. 

Shreveport ranked 20th in the nation in a report published the Daily Beast, a news and opinion site affiliated with Newsweek, based on factors such as unemployment rate, salary per capita, and availability of rental property. 

Activity in Northwest Louisiana’s Haynesville Shale, noted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) this past winter as the top-producing U.S. natural gas play, began in earnest in 2008 and 2009, at roughly the same time that the rest of the nation was feeling the impact of the depths of recessionary conditions. 

With that activity has come new jobs in the oil and gas industry from expanded field and pipeline operations, and the opening and expansions of offices and support industry facilities, as well as new wealth for property owners and increased funding for local government. 

“The value to the economy of the area and the state from the Haynesville Shale is not restricted to the oil and natural gas companies and the landowners,” Angelle said. “When an industry expands its operations in a major way, we see new people, new jobs, and new companies coming in to support that, and with those come opportunities in other industries to feed more customers, sell more cars, trucks and homes, rent more property, and do more business in many sectors.” 

As the U.S. unemployment rate shot up from averaging less than 6 percent prior to the fall of 2008 to averaging around 9.5 percent for more than two years, Shreveport-Bossier’s rate averaged around 7 percent, and outperformed the national economy in that measure by a third or more over that time period. Prior to the upswing in Haynesville activity, Shreveport-Bossier’s unemployment rate performance had closely tracked the national average through most of the previous decade. 

The area was also recently ranked by Forbes as the 7th best for jobs among mid-sized metropolitan areas in the nation. Economic studies of the Haynesville Shale activity have indicated that it shielded the Shreveport-Bossier economy from the worst of the recent recession and economic developers have also credited the energy sector for bolstering Northwest Louisiana – with the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce naming “The Haynesville Shale Industry” as its 2010 Industry of the Year. 

Angelle credited the work of Northwest Louisiana’s governmental, economic development and business leaders for making the most of the opportunities for growth and recognition provided by the economic boost from the Haynesville Shale. 

“When we observe analysts with a national outlook promoting Northwest Louisiana as an address for success, we can see that our responsible balance of development and management of natural resources has not only strengthened our economy, but the way other states view us,” Angelle said. “I am especially gratified to see Louisiana targeted as a promising destination for ambitious young people from around the nation looking for their best opportunities.” 

Angelle said the next great opportunity represented by the Haynesville Shale and other natural gas plays in the country would be shifting the nation’s energy policy to find ways to encourage wider use of natural gas, including use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a transportation fuel. 

“Nationally, the average price of CNG is about $1.60 less per gallon equivalent than that of gasoline – almost $1.80 less here in Louisiana. Wider use of natural gas to supply our daily transportation needs would amount to giving a pay raise to almost every American by making fuel cheaper at the pump,” Angelle said. “We will continue to urge the nation's policy makers to implement strategies that expand the uses of natural gas.  It’s clean, abundant, domestic and creates American jobs.”

 Angelle noted that the nation has begun to reverse the recent trend of cutting the percentage of imported oil it uses as oil prices have once again risen to the $100 mark in the past year, while the energy industry has already been estimated to have found enough natural gas to supply the nation for a century or more.

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