Local leaders in Ohio say the oil and gas industry is turning a new direction and they're gearing up for another productive spike in activity.

"I think the drilling and ... the industry is going to pick in 2018," Larry Merry, Belmont County Port Authority director, told local news station WTOV9.

Unemployment rates are lower as the local population has picked up jobs made available through the economic activity that fracking has created.

While many local opportunities for truck drivers, water delivery, and other positions in the service industry have increased locally, more lucrative, permanent jobs could be on the horizon.

"That's what we're working on every day, trying to get the infrastructure in here for what we hope is a positive announcement with the big project, which will have an impact."

Merry was referring to an upcoming announcement on Thai chemical giant PTT Global Chemical's proposed $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant in Dilles Bottom.

"Oil and gas is being very good to the job market and to the economy of Belmont County and all of eastern Ohio and will continue to do that," Merry said.

src: http://wtov9.com/news/local/oil-and-gas-industry-moving-south-and-picking-up-in-ohio