The Importance of Oil for the Appalachian Economy
The Appalachian region is known for its fair share of things. For starters, we have the best mountain ranges, sprawling valleys, and dense forest lands that you are going to be hard pressed to find outside the Eastern United States.
But did you know that it is also home to the largest concentration of oil drilling projects? And with a population of around 25 million people, the Appalachian economy relies heavily on this massive oil industry to support and contribute to its growth.
It All Starts In The Appalachian Basin
The Appalachian Basin is a mature basin that is known for being abundantly rich in many natural resources such as oil, gas and coal. In its entirety, the Appalachian Basin stretches across a total of 9 states, one of which is our beautiful state of Tennessee.
From the mid-1800’s through about 1904, the Appalachian Basin was also the leading oil-producing region in the United States. The very first commercial oil well was even located in the region. It was drilled in 1865 in New York.
It wasn’t until 2012 that the Appalachian Basin would begin to take its seat on the throne once again. Since then it has been making leaps and bounds with production numbers high enough to put it on the map of the global market.
In 2012, the basin increased natural gas production by 7.8 billion cubic feet per day. By 2017 that number was up to 23.8 billion cubic feet per day. That is a monumental increase in production, and it is only slated to grow more.
How Does The Oil Industry Help Boost The Economy?
With the growth of any large industry also comes the potential for even larger economic growth. This new economic growth can present itself in many different forms but what is most commonly seen is the creation of new jobs and increases to the value of the surrounding land and real estate.
Ideally, it works a little something like this:
A drilling company surveys an area of land to find shale deposits. They then hire laborers to fill positions as workers on drilling crews, mechanics, truck drivers, loader operators, engineers, etc… Even when there isn’t an active project taking place, there is always a need for drilling explorations to find the next deposit to be drilled.
But all those workers will also need places to sleep, eat, and enjoy their free time when they have it. To fulfill these needs, most of them will support the local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers. With as large as the oil industry is, that is a lot of revenue that could be potentially re-circulating throughout the Appalachian region.
That revenue can then be used to fund local schools, build new businesses, fix broken roadways, and put the Appalachian region in a financially solid position.
By supporting the growth of the oil industry, the Appalachian economy will undoubtedly continue to thrive and flourish.
The oil industry, as a whole, is responsible for a majority of the industrial and economic growth that the United States has seen over the last century. And from what we can tell… it probably won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
In that time, the Appalachian region has certainly dug out a name for itself as a powerhouse in the oil industry, not just locally or regionally, but globally as well. As it expands the Appalachian economy gets to reap the benefits as it has been doing since 2012.
The sky’s the limit and the wells are deep in Appalachia.