2016 will go down as a year the Pennsylvania oil and gas industry would rather forget. According to new data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, the oil and gas industry lost nearly a third of its jobs in 2016 alone. Industry jobs in fell to 20,524 in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 30,313 jobs a year ago.
As frequently emphasized, the Mariner East 2 pipeline is an opportunity of grave significance to Pennsylvania’s energy infrastructure future. In addition to the several billions of dollars invested, the pipeline will support nearly 30,000 during the construction phase and several thousand permanent positions upon completion. Rebuilding Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry will be a principal outcome of Mariner’s completion.
Furthermore, as argued by from Philadelphia-area economist and Drexel University’s Kevin Gillen, the Mariner East project represents the safest and most economic method of rebuilding the industry. Pipelines are vastly safer than crude trucking or rail and, according to Gillen, pipelines have “been found to have less of an adverse effect on property values in the communities that such pipelines run through.”
After a hard year for the industry, Pennsylvania should look ahead to 2017 and the opportunities the Mariner East project can bring across the state.