Ohio the next boom state?

Ohio has had a difficult few decades, as a manufacturing state devastated by the migration of jobs to China and elsewhere. But a renaissance of prosperity and revival of manufacturing may be at hand, thanks to a happy combination of technology and natural resources. Writing in Forbes, Mark P. Mills extols the bright future ahead for the Buckeye State thanks to fracking, and the Marcellus Shale formation, laden with enormous reserves of clean-burning natural gas.

A prediction.  The Ohio Valley is on track to become a hotbed of innovation.  And one which will almost certainly focus on 21stcentury manufacturing.  The catalyst for this seemingly counter-intuitive claim?  Money.  Black gold.   Ohio is about to be awash in both.

Early evidence of this bright future is already blossoming on the shores of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio, where global steelmaker Vallourec & Mannesmann isbuilding a steel mill.  Yes, in America.  In Ohio.  Some 400 jobs are in play building the ten-story building, and almost as many will be permanently employed.  The $650 million project is injecting real jobs, real opportunity, and real hope - and a window on the future.

Mills explains some of the technological developments underlying the newfound ability to extract the resources, and outlines the huge economic impact on Ohio -- and other states, including New York and Pennsylvania which share in the gas formations.

The technological magic in fracking resides in the maturation of directional and steerable drilling.  Today, you don't just punch a vertical hole in the ground with a dumb mechanical drill - petroleum engineers now have rotary-steerable drilling technology that permits precision snaking through the meandering underground seams.  The technology is a kissin' cousin to what doctors use, on a much smaller scale, for things like laparoscopic surgery.

Precision steerable drilling hugely benefits from yet more technology - real-time data from a technique called logging-while-drilling using technologies like gamma ray and neutron sensors that continuously analyze and report what precisely is in the ground at that point.  And then this is all enabled in particular by a new class of IT-centric real-time imaging called microseismic monitoring.  Again, in medical terms, think of the latter as the equivalent of continuous x-ray imaging - but done without the x-ray machine.

Amidst all the despair about our economy, and the pessimism about the future of America, it is important to understand that America has available energy resources that could not only trigger a boom, but also weaken our overseas geopolitical rivals, who benefit from scarce energy and high prices.

Shale-based energy resources, including oil (in the Bakken formation in North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana) and gas (in the Marcellus and Utica formations) can produce much cheaper energy, which would put trillions of dollars in the pockets of Americans through reducing imports and cutting expenditures, revive energy-intensive manufacturing employment in America, and weaken the economies of Islamic oil-exporting states and Russia.

The only fly in the ointment is the militant environmental movement, which opposes development of these resources based on fear, not evidence, and which insists on pushing uneconomical green energy schemes that would hobble our economy with high costs, as Spain's horrendous experience with green energy proves.

I find it highly providential that these new resources are located in states which have faced serious economic decline the past few decades. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York once were the powerhouses of the American economy, leading the world with their manufacturing and commercial innovations.

Hast tip: Jim Netolick

Ohio has had a difficult few decades, as a manufacturing state devastated by the migration of jobs to China and elsewhere. But a renaissance of prosperity and revival of manufacturing may be at hand, thanks to a happy combination of technology and natural resources. Writing in Forbes, Mark P. Mills extols the bright future ahead for the Buckeye State thanks to fracking, and the Marcellus Shale formation, laden with enormous reserves of clean-burning natural gas.

A prediction.  The Ohio Valley is on track to become a hotbed of innovation.  And one which will almost certainly focus on 21stcentury manufacturing.  The catalyst for this seemingly counter-intuitive claim?  Money.  Black gold.   Ohio is about to be awash in both.

Early evidence of this bright future is already blossoming on the shores of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio, where global steelmaker Vallourec & Mannesmann isbuilding a steel mill.  Yes, in America.  In Ohio.  Some 400 jobs are in play building the ten-story building, and almost as many will be permanently employed.  The $650 million project is injecting real jobs, real opportunity, and real hope - and a window on the future.

Mills explains some of the technological developments underlying the newfound ability to extract the resources, and outlines the huge economic impact on Ohio -- and other states, including New York and Pennsylvania which share in the gas formations.

The technological magic in fracking resides in the maturation of directional and steerable drilling.  Today, you don't just punch a vertical hole in the ground with a dumb mechanical drill - petroleum engineers now have rotary-steerable drilling technology that permits precision snaking through the meandering underground seams.  The technology is a kissin' cousin to what doctors use, on a much smaller scale, for things like laparoscopic surgery.

Precision steerable drilling hugely benefits from yet more technology - real-time data from a technique called logging-while-drilling using technologies like gamma ray and neutron sensors that continuously analyze and report what precisely is in the ground at that point.  And then this is all enabled in particular by a new class of IT-centric real-time imaging called microseismic monitoring.  Again, in medical terms, think of the latter as the equivalent of continuous x-ray imaging - but done without the x-ray machine.

Amidst all the despair about our economy, and the pessimism about the future of America, it is important to understand that America has available energy resources that could not only trigger a boom, but also weaken our overseas geopolitical rivals, who benefit from scarce energy and high prices.

Shale-based energy resources, including oil (in the Bakken formation in North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana) and gas (in the Marcellus and Utica formations) can produce much cheaper energy, which would put trillions of dollars in the pockets of Americans through reducing imports and cutting expenditures, revive energy-intensive manufacturing employment in America, and weaken the economies of Islamic oil-exporting states and Russia.

The only fly in the ointment is the militant environmental movement, which opposes development of these resources based on fear, not evidence, and which insists on pushing uneconomical green energy schemes that would hobble our economy with high costs, as Spain's horrendous experience with green energy proves.

I find it highly providential that these new resources are located in states which have faced serious economic decline the past few decades. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York once were the powerhouses of the American economy, leading the world with their manufacturing and commercial innovations.

Hast tip: Jim Netolick

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