edcUTAH
April 20, 2012

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  Economic Review  
Jeff Edwards President's Message
Golf for Grants; 4th Annual Milford Renewable Energy Fair

EDCUtah's annual Golf for Grants Tournament is coming up fast. We hope you are planning to tee up with us for a fun day of golf, prizes and camaraderie. Best of all, it supports a worthy cause -- helping further economic development efforts across the state through our Community Match Grant program. We are still signing up sponsors for the event. If your organization would like to be a sponsor please contact Art Franks, our director of membership development, via email (afranks@edcutah.org) or phone (801) 323-4242. Golf for Grants

Unrelated to the tournament, but important, next Thursday, April 26, the 4th Annual Milford Renewable Energy Fair takes place in Milford. Approximately 900 people are expected to attend the fair, which the Southwest Utah Renewable Center (SUTREC) sponsors with support from First Wind, Rocky Mountain Power, the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Salt Lake Community College, the Utah Office of Energy Development, Cyrq Energy, Beaver County, enXco, UAMPS, Milford Chamber of Commerce, USTAR and SUTREC. The U.S. Department of Labor also provides funding support for the both the fair and SUTREC Energy Education Trailer.

The fair has grown into a significant renewable energy event, which is fitting since Beaver County is the home to First Wind's Milford Wind Project, the Blundell Geothermal plant, the Cyrq Energy Geothermal plant and one of Utah's first hydroelectric power plants.

The event is free and begins at 9 a.m. at Milford High School in Milford, 62 North 300 West. Read more about the energy fair here, or visit the SUTREC site here for details.

Today's Economic Review also includes links to many of the ED-related news stories from the past week. As always, if you have comments, suggestions or topics you'd like to see in the Economic Review, please contact us by clicking the "Comments" link on the bottom of this page. Enjoy!

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards
President and CEO

Feature Story
Hot Energy Sector Fires Economy, Grows Jobs in Duchesne, Uintah Counties

Don't try to turn left, across traffic, onto State Highway 40 in Vernal. It's difficult.

A year ago, Uintah County Economic Development Executive Director Tammie Lucero thought increased traffic on Highway 40 was a possible sign the economy was picking up there. She was right.

More Jobs than Workers
Today, Highway 40 is one busy road -- a true reflection that the economies in Uintah and Duchesne Counties are exploding. Unemployment is virtually non-existent. In fact, in these two Utah counties, businesses are struggling to fill available jobs. Retail and commercial developments are growing and the housing sector is starting to feel the pressure.

According to the latest employment estimates from the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Duchesne County leads the state in year over year non-farm employment growth at 9.7 percent. Uintah County is close behind at 6.6 percent, followed by Wasatch County at 6.3 percent. By comparison, Utah County experienced a 4.8 percent increase, followed by Davis County at 3.3 percent, Salt Lake County at 2.9 percent and Weber County at 1.2 percent.

Other rural counties enjoying increased employment growth include Grand (2.7 percent), Morgan (2.4 percent), Rich (2.1 percent), Washington (2.1 percent), Emery (1.7 percent), Kane (1.2 percent), Iron (1.1 percent), Garfield (.7 percent) and Sevier (.3 percent).

Economic Conflagration
One might call what's taking place in Uintah and Duchesne Counties an economic conflagration and it is largely due to a hot energy industry. There are currently about 6,000 operating wells in the Uintah Basin, but based on projected energy development in the region, that number could mushroom to more than 20,000 wells in the next three to four years, says Lucero. She adds that this activity does not reflect energy development on tribal lands, where some 5,000 – 6,000 wells operate and additional expansion is expected.

In one highly anticipated development, the Greater Natural Buttes infill project may be close to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval. Proposed by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation for an existing developed gas field in Uintah County, the project would add up to 3,675 new natural gas wells from 1,484 well pads over 10 years under the BLM's preferred alternative identified in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

Lucero says Anadarko worked closely with conservation groups to develop a conservation agreement that would provide protections for the remarkable White River area while allowing the company to access energy resources. In this conservation agreement with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Anadarko agrees to limit the number of wells in and around the wilderness-quality lands of the White River and would lead to the creation of conservation easements along lands surrounding segments of the river.

Major Oil and Gas Projects
Other major oil and gas projects in the Uintah Basin include the following:

Project NameProposed WellsProposed Well PadsApproval
Gasco Uinta Basin EIS1,298575Spring 2012
Riverbend EA~378~169Fall 2012
Greater Chapita Wells EIS~6,637~1,1882014
Greater Monument Butte EIS5,750~1,7002014
XTO Field Development EIS~7502~45022015
Source: Uintah County

Furthermore, Lucero says three companies -- one from Canada, one from Estonia and one from the U.S. -- are working feverishly to obtain approval for the development of the Basin's rich supply of oil shale and oil sands. According to an estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey Oil Shale Assessment Team, the total in-place oil shale resource for the Uintah Basin is 1.32 trillion barrels. However, a movement is underfoot by the BLM to pull back hundreds of thousands of acres from potential oil shale leasing first approved by the Bush Administration.

Resolution
Lucero notes that Uintah and Duchesne Counties have banded together with counties in Wyoming and Colorado and signed a resolution demanding that the Obama administration reverse course on the leasing pullback.

The energy industry is an enormous contributor to the Uintah Basin economy via the direct and indirect jobs that it creates, but also in other ways. This week Newfield Exploration Company donated $250,000 to the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College (ATC) to help build additional classroom and lab space for the school's Petroleum Technology Certificate Program. The donation is timely, as Lucero says both the ATC and the Utah State University satellite campus in Vernal are bursting at their seams.

While the development of oil and gas resources continues to shape the Uintah and Duchesne County economies, Lucero says leaders in government, business and recreation, along with Ute Indian Tribal enterprises, are working hard to diversify the local economies by making the Basin more appealing to other commercial and industrial sectors as well.

Calendar

April 21-25
Industrial Asset Management Council (Austin, TX)

April 26
Milford Renewable Energy Fair (Milford, UT)

May 20-23
ICSC RECon Tradeshow (Las Vegas, NV)

May 21-24
SAMPE Tradeshow (Baltimore, MD)

June 1
Cyber Defense Challenge
Utah Cyber Defense Challenge & Symposium Inaugural Event (Little America Hotel)

June 6
EDCUtah Golf for Grants Tournament (Eaglewood Golf Course)

Sept. 5
Save the Date! Uintah County Energy Summit (Vernal)

Oct. 16-19
Technology Venture Development Executive Education Seminar (University of Utah)

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The EDCUtah Economic Review is a weekly publication of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. It is distributed to EDCUtah partners and selected other government and civic organizations interested in Utah's economic development.

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