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Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia sign pact to develop shale resources

Governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have a new agreement to work together to make the most of shale-energy resources that run beneath parts of all three states.

The five-page document says that officials in the states will cooperate to promote the region’s shared energy interests.

“The issues and opportunities facing our growing oil and gas industry do not recognize state lines, making it essential that we work together to help ensure the continued growth we expect to see,” Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said in a statement. “We are seeing tremendous and continued growth in this industry, and we know that can be strengthened by partnering on key areas.”

Taylor signed the agreement last week on behalf of Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The other signatories were Govs. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia.

Each state would pay for its share of the programs, with no dollar figures listed. The deal runs through 2018.

The agreement “definitely intrigues me from an economic-development standpoint,” said Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

“Hopefully, the focus of this agreement will be bringing jobs and opportunities to the Appalachian Basin,” he said. “It really just depends on how they structure this group and who is involved.”

Those details have yet to be determined.

The pact lists four areas of cooperation, including:

–Marketing and promoting the region to businesses.

–Job training to prepare residents to work for shale-energy businesses.

–Planning roads, pipelines and other infrastructure to help transport oil and gas to market.

–Research at state-sponsored academic institutions to help the industry.

Taylor, Wolf and Tomblin signed the agreement at the Tri-State Shale Summit last week in Morgantown, W.Va.

The three states have benefited from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, which run deep below ground and hold vast quantities of oil and gas.

In Ohio, most of the activity has been in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state.

In related news, OPEC has stalled the shale revolution: Kemp.

This article was written by Dan Gearino from The Columbus Dispatch and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.