Dry Gas Drilling Slowdown Results in Layoffs in PA

Although historically low natural gas prices are great for consumers, it’s not so great for some in the shale gas drilling industry. Because drillers are changing their focus away from drilling in the “dry gas” areas of the Marcellus Shale play and instead focusing on the “wet gas”—or liquids-rich—portion of the play, it causes a slow down for some businesses and leads to layoffs in certain industries, like title searching. Title searches of property deeds are a necessary part of acquiring leases for drilling.

A title search company in western PA has just laid off nearly half of their staff:

A Washington company that performs title searches for oil and gas drilling companies has laid off 60 people in the past week, its president said Monday.

Bob Butler said Oil & Gas Title Abstracting, which is headquartered in the Crossroads Center, 95 W. Beau St., still has a staff of about 70 people among its Washington, Pittsburgh and Butler offices.

Butler, who said the layoffs were made in all three offices, said lower natural gas prices and clients’ shifting business priorities were the reasons.

Butler acknowledged a factor in the dearth of customer demand for title searches was historically low prices for natural gas prices.*

*Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter (Mar 6, 2012) – 60 laid off from local title business