Posts Tagged ‘Westmorland Club’

Banker: Marcellus Shale to boost region

Economist from M&T Bank predicts gas drilling will give area “a huge shot in the arm” in next decade.

By Ron
Business & Consumer / City Editor

WILKES-BARRE – The Marcellus Shale gas play will be “a game changer” for Northeastern Pennsylvania, bringing a “huge economic injection” and making life here very different a decade from now, an economist said Wednesday.

James Thorne , Ph.D., a chief investment officer for the M&T Bank, right, chats with Chris Borton during lunch at the Westmorland Club Wednesday.

James E. Thorne, Ph.D., chief investment officer of equities for M&T Bank, told members of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry during a luncheon talk at the Westmoreland Club that the region will get “a huge shot in the arm” from natural gas drilling. “The economic forecast is very bright.”

Gas drilling has boomed in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania since horizontal drilling technologies using pressurized liquids have made it financially feasible for companies to drill into the Marcellus Shale, a layer of gas-laden rock that runs about a mile underground from New York into Virginia.

Many landowners in Luzerne County have entered into leases with drillers, but no wells are yet operating in the county.

Thorne said the future direction of the national economy is less clear while emphasizing that the United States has a history of adapting to changing times. He cited the push into science and technology in the late 1950s after the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite as an example.

As at that time, “there’s got to be a new industry created” that the U.S. can lead the world in, Thorne said, suggesting “green” technology may be the logical successor to space exploration and the Internet. The current economic problems, he said, were made worse by a diversion of resources to consumption and housing, which do not increase productivity.

Export-led, resources and infrastructure industries need to be the immediate focus, Thorne said, adding that additional government spending to rebuild and repair aging domestic

The present weakness of the dollar is necessary, Thorne said, to give American exporters the opportunity to expand their markets. But in the long run “the solution is to create inflation.

“The dollar is a reflection of economic growth; we benefit from a weak dollar.”

“We’re going to enter an adjustment period,” Thorne said, that could be several years long. But he said there’s reason to be optimistic about the outcome.

“We’ve done this before. I’m hugely bullish on the American economy,” he said.

Copyright: Times Leader