New Study Shows Fayetteville Shale Worth $18 Billion to State

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new University of Arkansas study on the economic impact of natural gas production in the Fayetteville Shale says the work will be worth nearly $18 billion to the state over the coming five years.

A study two years ago had projected the impact from 2005 through 2008 to be worth $5.5 billion.

Kathy Deck, director of the university's Center for Business and Economic Research, conducted both studies.  She embarked on the second when it became clear the original underestimated the growth in drilling operations.  Production rose sharply and steadily throughout 2007.

The new study says the industry will generate 11,000 jobs and will result in $1.8 billion in state taxes through 2012.  More than $150 million in local sales and property taxes will also be paid due to the exploration, drilling and production.

Companies have been drawn to the Fayetteville Shale underground formation because the high price that natural gas now commands makes it economically feasbile to go to the extra expense it takes to draw the gas.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)