Drilling in the Marcellus Shale is not likely to happen any time soon, according to a Three Rivers Development Foundation official.

Tom Wilber, the director of Three Rivers’ Energy Services said one key reason for a delay in drilling is the cost of natural gas is at a 10-year low.

“It’s now around $2.50 (per BTU),” Wilber told the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency board Thursday. “Now, it’s predicted that will provide a $100 billion uplift to the economy, so that’s the good part.”

With the price of natural gas so low, drillers are pulling their rigs and heading toward areas where the more lucrative “wet” gases such as ethane and butane may be extracted, Wilber said.

Drilling for natural gas in Pennsylania now benefits some areas of Steuben, bringing in lodging, food and retail revenues, and competitive jobs, he said. Chemung County is now tops the state in sales tax growth, he said.

Wilber’s report to SCIDA is part of Three Rivers plan to develop long range plans based on drilling for natural gas in the shale located in the Southern Tier.

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