Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Center for Economic Development, Energy Policy Center


To date, much of the work evaluating economic development opportunity resulting from shale has focused primarily on the upstream (exploration and production) side of the oil gas business. However, it has been apparent for some time that regional industries that transmit, process and consume natural gas would benefit greatly from a local source of cheap and abundant natural gas. Moreover, it has also become apparent that certain locations within the Marcellus and Utica shale formations produce gas rich in natural gas liquids (“NGLs”). The result has been the rapid development of a midstream infrastructure in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Further, NGLs, especially ethane, have applications as a feedstock for petrochemical companies. This in turn has led economic development experts to consider the possibility of regional growth in the downstream petrochemical industry.