Pipeline employment saw growth in West Virginia

CHARLESTON — The number of natural gas pipeline construction jobs grew by 434 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter 2018, said the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association on Monday.

The association said this led total direct industry employment to its highest level in recent years and helped to bolster West Virginia’s economy and its growing state budget surplus.

According to data recently released by Work Force West Virginia:

∫ 22,514 workers were directly employed in the state’s oil and natural gas industry in the second quarter of 2018 (the latest data available), an increase of 27.8 percent over total average 2017 employment of 17,617;

∫ While fluctuating depending on the time of year, pipeline worker employment increased by 434 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and second quarter of 2018 (from 1,559 jobs in Q1 2017 to 8,332 jobs in Q2 2018);

∫ Total direct industry wages rose from just over $1 billion in 2016 to more than $1.5 billion in 2017. For the first two quarters of 2018, wages amounted to $935 million, on track to surpass 2017 results.

“These results showcase the tremendous impact pipeline construction and natural gas industry operations have on West Virginia’s economy,” said Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association.

According to the data, the industry saw employment increases between 2016 and the second quarter of 2018 in the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) categories: Drilling Oil & Gas Wells; Support Activities for Oil & Gas Operations; Oil & Gas Pipeline and Related Structures Construction; and, Environmental Consulting Services.