3 PA Economics Profs Predict When Marcellus Employment Will Peak

crystal ballA favorite pastime for people who support and for people who oppose fossil fuels is to throw around estimates of how long the Marcellus Shale will be around. How long will there be enough gas in the ground that drillers will actively pursue getting it out of the ground? On the anti-fossil fuel side you have discredited peak oil theorists like Art Berman who says we’re going to run out of gas in the next 10 years (see Peak Oil Theorist Art Berman Says Shale Gas is Peaking Too), and discredited “reporter” from the New York Times Ian Urbina who tries to make the case that shale drilling is nothing but a house of cards, a Ponzi scheme, ready to collapse at any time (see Unnamed Source in New York Times Anti-Gas Articles was…an Intern?!). On the pro-drilling side, we’ve personally heard Marcellus drillers state that they expect to still be drilling at least 40 years into the future, and possibly longer. Three economic professors from Indiana University of Pennsylvania recently published a research paper (copy below) in which they model employment in the coal industry to determine “peak employment” for coal and when it started to decrease–and they then applied the same model (with tweaks) to the Marcellus natural gas industry to predict when the industry will start to decline. What did they find?…

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