We’re a few days behind on this post, but the Post-Gazette’s Erich Schwartzel took a trip earlier this month to one of the country’s first drilling boom-towns, Drumright, Oklahoma. As he reports, back then it was Pennsylvanians were flooding into Oklahoma to cash in on the energy boom:
One of the earliest and loudest objections to the rise of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry was to the arrival of out-of-state experts imported from Texas and Oklahoma to do Pennsylvania work. For some of that, you can thank the chain-smoking, 20th-century wildcatter with the perfect name.
The Pennsylvania native and his contemporaries helped turn Oklahoma into one of the nation’s energy hotbeds. In a testament to the cyclical, boom-bust world of energy production, that state now has expertise to send back to Pennsylvania, as drillers tap the new Marcellus Shale natural gas play.
It’s impossible to say if Drumright is a future version of today’s shale towns, though it does offer an extreme example of what it’s like to live not just above a fossil fuel but also to depend on it for a living — from the difficulty of being a dissenting voice to the annual parade floats dictated by worldwide oil prices.
These days, of course, it’s the Oklahoma energy experts who are staying in Pennsylvania hotels.