The shale gas boom over the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville Shale Formations came on quickly and grew exponentially over 10 years, with more than 100 energy companies moving into Pennsylvania alone. One culminating development is the $6 billion Shell Oil ethane cracker under development in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania. In the FirstEnergy region, shale gas is not just a fuel and energy source. It is a fundamental building block in a thriving cluster of chemical and plastics manufacturing. These industries depend on large amounts of natural gas as feedstock.
While natural gas production plateaued in 2020, the potential for shale gas in this region should be viewed over a longer time frame. In many rural communities that had been struggling for decades, shale gas is a lifesaver, benefiting property owners, governments, investors and workers. Shale gas wages are double what other private sector jobs pay. Geologists estimate that Marcellus deposits could last 30 to 50 years. In addition, there are at least four other strata of deep shales above and below Marcellus that could become commercially viable.