Haynesville Shale to bring jobs back to Northwest Louisiana

Updated: Oct. 19, 2017 at 8:54 AM CDT
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DESOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Natural Gas production in Northwest Louisiana can see an uptick in jobs due to a familiar source — the Haynesville Shale.

An economic and policy research group with LSU predicts over 2,800 jobs will be created in the Shreveport region over the next two years.

Loren C. Scott is the Professor Emeritus of Economics and says a big contributor for those jobs for that will be because of the shale.

"That created an environment up here that was like a gold mining town like in the gold rush days. You couldn't screw up in Shreveport during that period of time. The problem is that due to the decline in the price of oil, that rig count has dropped from 142 down to at one point it was 16. You had very little activity," Scott said.

The shale was a major natural gas production in the earlier part of the decade, with the number of operating rigs saw a massive reduction around 2013.Scott says that number has now risen back up to the mid 40's, a sign that more high paying jobs may be on the way.

"You're starting to see a significant reversal and because these are very high paying jobs in the oil and gas extraction industry. Plus you're starting to see job multiplier effect in other sectors of the economy. We think it's going to be a very good source of jobs going forward."

When the production went down, one main factor was that the price of oil and gas also went down, making it harder on companies to make money.

Places like DeSoto Parish were hit hard when natural gas jobs disappeared, but Scott says the northwestern part of the state is now no longer in the red.

"We have you about 4th there. You're tied with Baton Rouge in terms of percentage growth," Scott said.

One reason for the turnaround has to do with location.

The Haynesville Shale sits close by to export facilities in Louisiana as well as pipelines that run into Mexico which makes the natural gas easier to sell.

"You're percentage growth rates are just a little under one percent a year. One percent is considered good, so you're coming out of it. Like I said, it's not negative numbers anymore."

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