Measuring the Shale Gas Revolution

Publish date: 
December 7, 2011

New quantification of the national impact of the shale natural gas revolution going on in the United States, from IHS Global Insight, one of the world’s largest economic analysis and forecasting firms:

  • Jobs – In 2010 the shale natural gas industry supported 600,000 jobs. The IHS Global Insight report projects growth to nearly 870,000 jobs in 2015 and to more than 1.6 million by 2035.
  • Economic – Shale gas’ economic contribution is expanding rapidly, from $76 billion in 2010 to an estimated $118 billion by 2015 and $231 billion in 2035. The report estimates nearly $1.9 billion in shale gas capital investments are expected between 2010 and 2015.
  • Energy – Production of shale gas, just 2 percent of total U.S. Lower 48 production in 2000, grew to 27 percent last year. As of September shale gas accounted for 34 percent of total production. The report estimates that by 2015 the share will increase to 43 percent, reaching 60 percent by 2035.
  • Tax revenue – By 2035 shale gas production contributions to federal, state and local governments will total more than $57 billion – more than triple the $18.6 billion contribution in 2010. Cumulatively, the shale industry is projected to generate more than $933 billion in tax and royalty revenues to governments over the next 25 years.

As much as anything else, this report shows the tremendous upside for an industry that’s already accumulating major benefits for our country in terms of jobs and economic growth. We’ve seen job-creation and economic growth numbers from individual states, such as Pennsylvania and North Dakota. From a national perspective, this sector is equally impressive.

“This is really, without a doubt, one of the bright spots in an otherwise laborious (economic) recovery,” said John W. Larson, IHS Global Insight vice president for public sector, during a conference call. Shale gas production’s stimulative effect, estimated to be about $1,000 per U.S. household, is remarkable, he said, noting “how much more painful this recession could have been without it.”