The Marcellus Shale industry, which arrived in this northern Pennsylvania city five years ago and turned Williamsport into the seventh-fastest-growing area in the nation, appears to have lost some momentum.
Economic activity in this city affectionately known as \”Billtown\” has subsided noticeably in the last year as the pace of drilling natural gas wells slowed in response to low gas prices.
Statewide, exploration companies drilled 30 percent fewer wells in 2012 and are on course to drill even fewer this year. About half as many drilling rigs are operating in Pennsylvania now as in early 2012, when the rigs began moving to more lucrative oil-producing regions.
In Lycoming County, motels and restaurants are not so crowded these days – hotel-tax revenue was off last year by 13 percent after doubling the previous three years. Fewer out-of-state pickup trucks swarm the fuel pumps at the Sheetz stations.