What will the second big wave of drilling look like in Pennsylvania?
“When will the gas guys come back?”, asked the fellow in the local market, reflecting back to the wave of Pennsylvania’s surging rig counts between ’06 and ’08. Another landowner praying he’ll hit it big this time around.
In 07, my neck of the woods teemed with those ubiquitous White trucks, and discussions about E&P were a weekly ritual. The oil and gas industry’s mark on rural Pennsylvania transcended mere appearances on Mad Money, etching enduring shifts in accents, flavors, and the very fabric of life. Even fashion changed in the rural north. I saw brands and styles for sale in the stores previously only associated with places like Texas.
This impact manifested in a stew of accents gracing local check out lines and a revolution in culinary traditions. As a Southern born and Yankee raised man, I embraced the advent of food trucks dishing out bona fide barbecue, reshaping the local landscape with classics like biscuits and gravy. Once relegated to Sunday morning truck stop fair, the holy dish hit the mark daily and from scratch rather than (gag) from a can.
Back in ’06, locals grumbled about outsiders monopolizing job opportunities. Yet, as time flowed, homegrown Pennsylvanians seized the reins post-skills gap. Now, probing the next drilling surge may defy expectations of white trucks and peculiar accents, as the workforce leans increasingly local.
There’s a perception among locals that the next big phase will be as crazy as the late 2000s, and I honestly have my doubts. My prediction rather is that it’ll look like what 2006 through 2010 was supposed to look like. A slow and steady increase rather than an explosion.
Furthermore, the change will not be as notable because, those with the jobs will be local. They will sound local. They will eat like locals and spend like locals.
While this shift spells positivity for the community, the resurgence of the energy industry becomes a subtle affair. Corporate hotel lots won’t overflow with company rigs, and the once-ubiquitous hand-parades at shift changes will become a fading memory. Grasping this metamorphosis demands pragmatic scrutiny, a reliance on hard facts, digits, and some good old sleuthing to unravel the Marcellus shale’s impact. Stick around in the coming months; I’ll be your guide through these unfolding tales.
Howdy! Grab your favorite coffee and join me as we journey through the Marcellus shale. I’m your guru’ for all things oil and gas. Expect some hearty chuckles as we wonder the ins and outs of the Appalachian Basin, because let’s face it, the new energy revolution is – full of surprises.
James A. Asbury