Officials say a new oil technology could bring thousands of new jobs to Southern Illinois.
"Right now, we have over $3 million dollars worth of leases that have been signed in White County alone," Carmi Mayor David Port said.
Even though the new fracking hasn't begun, those land owners are already getting a pay off. Mayor David Port hopes the entire county will reap the benefits as well.
"The expectation is there will be over 5,000 jobs created in southeastern Illinois alone," Mayor Port.
"This oil has bled out of this sand stone," said Joe Wildeman, a consulting geologist.
Joe Wildeman has been a geologist in the area for more than 30 years, and although he says a lot of money has been invested in this area, there really is no way of telling if this new fracking technology will bring up new oil reserves in White County.
"It's a little discouraging when you drill a well and you find what you were looking for. You find most of the oil is already gone because we have some old production here that has been producing for 40 or 50 years," Wilderman said.
Wildeman says as a geologist he will likely be working with some of the new companies that come into town, but says it will be very difficult for local operators to benefit or take the risk of paying for a lease and coming up dry.
"These are numbers that are very difficult for the local operators around here, knowing what kind of oil we are looking for to actually pay and make commercial," Wilderman told 14 News.
The price of a lease has gone up so much. A lease which may have cost $2,500, now goes for about $50,000.
"The large independent oil companies, mainly from outside of this basin are the ones that are driving this play," Wilderman said.
Even so, it's the locals who will soon reap the benefits. New fracking could begin within the next one to three years.
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