Experts say West Virginia's natural gas economy could see nearly six-fold growth by 2035 and revive the state's struggling manufacturing and chemical sectors.
While the state's natural gas industry has grown in recent years, driven by development in the Marcellus shale region, American Petroleum Institute executive vice president Marty Durbin says the industry has only just begun scratching the surface.
"West Virginia is poised to see a real increase in development in natural gas in the coming years here," Durbin said.
Durbin says recent development of the Marcellus, Utica and Bakken shale regions have changed the national outlook for the oil and natural gas industry.
"There's no question that the outlook today is far different than what anyone thought it was even five years ago," Durbin said. "We're well beyond talking about energy scarcity here, it's all about abundance."
Durbin called oil and natural gas a "foundational element in the economy." He said properly developing the natural gas extraction industry in the state, leaders can see further development in other related industries.