As drivers travel down Route 6 through Mansfield, Pa., they quickly realize something has changed about the rural town. Trailers for energy companies are popping up like mushrooms, and traffic has become increasingly snarled as trucks carrying material to and from natural-gas drilling sites share the road with local cars. It's not quite a boomtown, but it is certainly changing, and the transformative agent over the past two years has been the discovery of an estimated 500 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas locked in the Marcellus Shale Formation some 5,000 to 8,000 feet below the earth's surface. The
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.