Drill, North Dakota, Drill — and the Rest of the Country, Too

By October 15, 2010Energy

“Drill, North Dakota, Drill,” is the headline on a recent editorial in Investor’s Business Daily hailing the economic benefits from energy development in North Dakota.

One state, North Dakota, is in a boom of sorts, so much so that it was rated by the Adversity Index as the first state to have moved out of the recession and actual expansion mode.

The key may be North Dakota’s development of the energy resources under its soil and in its rocks, something the Obama administration is loath to do nationally. Instead we get drilling moratoriums and polar bear habitat protection that serve to make America the only industrialized nation not developing its domestic energy resources.

North Dakota is simply gushing. It has a billion-dollar budget surplus and oil revenues ready to shoot up 70% over the next two years.

Contrast this with the Gulf states, where job losses could reach tens of thousands as the oil industry atrophies and rigs leave for foreign waters.

North Dakota has risen to become the fourth largest oil-producing state in the nation. Along with a friendly population and reasonable regulatory environment, thanks for the boom go to the technological advances like hydrofracturing and horizontal drilling that have made it profitable to develop the oil-rich Bakken Shale formation.  

Hydrofrac is already helping to create thousands of jobs in the states that lie above the Marcellus Shale. From AP:

A recent report by Pennsylvania State University, commissioned by a natural gas industry group, predicts that in 2010 drilling in Pennsylvania’s shale formations will add 89,000 jobs and inject $8 billion in spending into the state.

And consumers of natural gas are welcoming low prices. Analysts predict heating bills this winter could be as low or lower than last year and sharply lower than in recent years. Through the first six months of 2010, average residential gas prices were 9 percent lower than for the same period in 2009 and 18 percent lower than in 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Pennsylvania’s political leaders are stuck on the details of an excise tax on the natural gas, but by and large the state seems welcoming to the Marcellus Shale development. In New York, unfortunately, the environmentalist reactionaries and anti-energy forces are slowing the development and jobs that come with it.

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