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Natural Gas Drilling Could Pick Up If Marcellus Shale Export Plans Are Approved

By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A Virginia based utility has announced plans to ship liquefied natural gas from the Marcellus Shale field in Pennsylvania overseas.

Dominion Resources has filed paperwork to convert a plant on the Chesapeake Bay that now imports gas into an export facility. They're just one of several companies seeking federal permission to deal with non-free trade countries like India and Japan.

Dominion spokesman Dan Donovan says the plan would jump-start drilling in parts of the Keystone state.

"They had a kind of a boom. Drillers were in there. They were staying at the motels. They were eating at restaurants. They were hiring local people to do things to help. And now they've kind of gone to other places."

The move is also expected to improve America's trade imbalance with the rest of the world. But the new plant's not likely to be up and running much before 2017.

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