Since 2004, the Marcellus Shale natural gas exploration south of Pittsburgh has not only set off a big land rush, but also has created job opportunities and a need for Class A CDL drivers. Graduates from Class A CDL programs, such as those at All-State Career School, have the qualifications for entry-level positions driving the many vehicles involved in the extraction work associated with this exploration, called fracking.

WHAT IS FRACKING?

Fracking is a relatively recent process used to extract natural gas and oil from underground reservoirs formed from organic matter in the rocks that has been trapped for millions of years. The process of fracking is used to remove natural gas and oil for economic purposes. Also called hydraulic fracking, this process makes fractures in rock layers using pressurized fluids. When water, sand and additives are pumped at high pressure through the wellbore, it fractures the rocks to allow the release of petroleum, natural gas or other substances for extraction. The mixture pumped underground to create these small cracks is close to 98% water and sand. The fractures are propped open by the sand, which allows the natural gas and oil to flow freely to the surface to be collected.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, hydraulic fracking has been used in more than one million U.S. wells and has safely produced more than seven billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Fracking has helped increase domestic energy supplies and boost local economies, especially in the Marcellus and Barnett Shale areas. Opponents of fracking say that the process has environmental consequences. However, the process has a positive environmental track record and is constantly under strict supervision by local, state and federal regulators. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ground Water Protection Council have released studies that confirm no direct link between hydraulic fracking and groundwater contamination.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR JOB GROWTH?

The fracking process can take up to a few days and on average uses 400 trucks to transport water during the excavation. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, hiring for the Marcellus drilling, production and transportation efforts has a little more than doubled since 2009. The University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research states that “oil and gas companies are rapidly leasing up properties … for future drilling.”

Because of the skills the excavating job requires, drivers need to have a Class A CDL license. For those interested in receiving their Class A CDL license, consider a place like All-State Career School. All-State not only offers the program, but is located close to the shale near Pittsburgh in West Mifflin. If you already have your Class A CDL license, now is a great time to be thinking about capitalizing on this job opportunity.

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