It wasn't long ago that the Haynesville Shale was bringing hundreds of good paying jobs to the ArkLaTex. But as the price of natural gas has fallen and supply exceeded demand, the region's oil and gas industry has slowed down production significantly. Thursday, BHP Billiton Pretoleum bucked that trend, with the opening of offices in the City of Shreveport. BHP CEO Mike Yeager says the Haynesville has a lot to offer the company.
"For companies like ours that are trying to do this for the long term...the Haynesville is a wonderful place to be."
Yeager cites Louisiana's "business friendly" atmposphere, and supply of skilled workers. The company is currently operating four drill sites. If and when the price of natural gas rebounds, Yeager says, the company will look to expand operations, and hire the necessary labor.
"I don't know that exact number, but it's large, and the jobs are significant, and it's the kind of jobs that this nation should be very very much in favor of having."
Most of the jobs will go to truck drivers and part suppliers, but other sectors can benefit as well. A active gas rig employing dozens of workers can help local restaurants and retail. BHP's plan is to remain in the ArkLaTex long term. The industry is currently at the bottom of a natural cycle; Yeager says BHP hopes to be ready when business picks back up.
"...You've got the greatest economy in the world here. So not a bad place to own long term, good hydrocarbons. And that's what we're in it for. The long term."