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SNL Financial reported this week the state of Maine is concerned that the state’s lack of access to affordable natural gas is contributing to a state economic crisis.  It was noted that while New England is accustomed to having higher energy pricing than the rest of the country (due to low natural gas supplies along with a lack of coal reserves) the shale gas revolution could make it more possible for the region to become regionally competitive.  Unfortunately, even though Maine is just a day's drive from the Marcellus Shale, and countries are lining up for LNG exports, no new gas is flowing to Maine from the best reserves in the world. 

Contrast Maine with Ohio where that state is reaping the benefits of billion of dollars of direct investment in shale energy.  Those billions are in addition to other less direct economic activity like the success of frac sand company Fairmont Minerals who is exploring a billion dollar IPO – read more here.  Besides the economic activity, companies are becoming active charitable givers.  Gulfport Energy recently announced a partnership with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio that will involve hundreds of thousands of dollars being used to seed new regional Foundations. 

Cheap and available natural gas changes the economic landscape for a state.  The Maine report is a good reminder of the disparity that exists just in the US, let alone internationally. 

I welcome your comments. Please join the discussion at our Business Advocate on the Energy Insights blog.

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