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Study: Shale could support almost 30K jobs in WV by 2020

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Shale energy production could support nearly 30,000 jobs in West Virginia by 2020.

That's according to a study released Dec. 19 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy. The study was the second part of a three-part project..

According to the study, shale energy production has created more than 11,800 direct, indirect and induced jobs in West Virginia and is projected to support 29,656 jobs by 2020 and 58,000 jobs by 2035.

The jobs projection is in line with a 2010 study from the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research projecting jobs supported by shale development in the state at between 8,800 jobs and 19,600 jobs in 2015.

Shale energy development was projected to add $1.6 billion to the state's gross state product in 2012 — GSP was about $67 billion in 2011 — and to generate $283 million in state and local government revenue, and it could generate $884 million a year by 2020, according to the study. Through 2035, the state could collect more than $25 billion.

"Shale energy is a game-changer for America and for West Virginia," said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute. "The latest installment of this study allows us to quantify just how significant the impact on West Virginia's economy will be. It provides all the more reason to strongly support responsible shale energy development."

Parts one and two of the IHS CERA study focused on the impact of operations surrounding the extraction of oil and gas, referred to as "upstream" operations. The final installment, expected in early 2013, will examine the entire economic impact of shale, including components like manufacturing and chemicals, known as "downstream" operations.

The U.S. Chamber's Energy Institute partnered with the American Petroleum Institute, American Chemistry Council, America's Natural Gas Alliance and Natural Gas Supply Association to sponsor the study.