Gas and oil prices shift fracking focus in La., rest of U.S.
While northwestern Louisiana, Pennsylvania and other gas-rich shale plays across the United States are losing jobs and revenue as the fracking industry shrinks following a price collapse, oil-rich North Dakota and Texas are in the midst of a boom, Reuters reports. Other emerging winners in the rapidly changing fracking industry include central and south Louisiana—where companies along the Tuscaloosa Shale are reporting promising returns on early oil exploration—as well as Mississippi, Ohio and Wyoming. While oil prices are expected to stay around $100 a barrel for at least a couple of years, natural gas prices reached 10-year lows three weeks ago—signaling there could be more pain ahead for gas-rich communities and states where fracking was until recently a growth industry. Parts of northwestern Louisiana, where the Haynesville Shale is located, already have been hit as gas rigs left. Bossier Parish reports tax revenue fell 25% to $2.5 million from January to April. In neighboring Caddo Parish, sales tax revenue fell 18% in 2011 and continues to slide. Economists warn that this type of reduction in local revenues could spread throughout Louisiana as natural gas output falls and jobs are cut. The number of rigs in Louisiana's Haynesville Shale dropped to about 40 from more than 140 over the past 18 months, says Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Don Briggs. "These rigs are moving to Texas or other places to drill wells … for oil instead of natural gas," he says. Nationwide, the number of gas rigs fell last week to 598—the lowest in a decade—as oil rigs rose to 1,372, a 25-year high. Get the full story here.
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