SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It was only a year ago that we were beginning to get an idea of what the Haynesville Shale was, and what it meant to us. Today, that picture is a lot clearer, thanks to an economic impact study just released by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. "The Economic Impact of the Haynesville Shale on the Louisiana Economy in 2008" was prepared by C. Scott & Associates, an economic consulting firm in Baton Rouge.
The study tallies $2.8 billion in new business sales in Louisiana last year as a result of all the shale activity and nearly $3.9 billion dollars in new household earnings, $3.2 billion of it from lease and royalty payments to private landowners.
It also estimates at least $153 million dollars in additional state and local sales tax revenues.
The study also found that in addition the 431 jobs directly created by Haynesville Shale activity, there was an increase of 32,472 new jobs last year.
Offering a reference point, the study's authors say this is slightly larger than total employment in all of Louisiana's banks and credit unions.
The study also points out that the study was not comprehensive, "we have data from only seven of the seventeen companies involved with extractioon activity in the Haynesville Shale. Obviously, our impact estimates understate the total infusion of new money in the state's economy and in turn, understate the true impacts on business sales, household earnings and employment in the state."
Kevin McCotter, Chesapeake's local Director of Corporate Development says the 40 page report confirms what his company has touted all along: that the Haynesville Shale is a multi-billion dollar boon to the local economy. "I think that sends a strong message of what this industry is doing for our area."
Still, some say they've only seen the downside. Members of a Keithville-based group called United Neighbors for Oil & Gas Rights protested outside Regions Tower in downtown Shreveport Thursday, where Chesapeake's offices are located. "It's just a lot of bad things," says protestor Nancy Howard, "They came in and they really lied to us."
Howard suspects her recent health issues with her kidneys is related to chemicals used in the well drilling and completion process. She lives near the Chesapeake well where a herd of cattle collapsed and died a few weeks ago. Howard says she is also in the process of filing suit against the company over a mineral lease she believes was unfairly obtained. Howard says her three-year lease was signed in 2005 with a per acre bonus of $125, and 3/8ths royalties, and that a broker for the company came back in 2008 and told her they "owned her." Howard says she is legally blind, that the lease broker guided her hand in signing the document, which she claims did not contain the language they allegedly read out loud to her before she signed.
"I'm sorry that some people are unhappy," McCotter says, "but you know here is real documentation about what this industry is doing for our area."
There is going to be some inconvenience and Chesapeake will do it's very very best to mitigate any of those inconveniences and we're constantly striving to make this a beneficial experience for all of our stakeholders. I'm sorry that not everyone can be satisfied, but we're trying our very best to make sure that everyone is."