Washington County has an economy that can only be described as a Phoenix and it all results from natural gas development driving multiple economic sectors.

The evidence of what natural gas development does for an economy continues to mount. There's no better place to see it graphically than Washington County, Pennsylvania where the Commonwealth's shale gas success began. Washington County is the southwestern corner of the Keystone State, near Pittsburgh, on the Ohio County border. It has a history of coal mining and natural gas development, but the mining industry was on the wane before shale gas arrived roughly a decade ago.

Range Resources drilled a Marcellus Shale well in Washington County in 2003. The results encouraged the company to explore further using a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods similar to those employed in the Barnett Shale (Texas). Their first Marcellus Shale gas production from the well began in 2005, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. What's happened since then is a Phoenix-like economic rebirth that's nothing less than startling when you look at the numbers.


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