Student project focuses on oil and gas industry in the regionPublished 11:11pm Saturday, November 30, 2013
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As Innovation Month in Mississippi is celebrated, a group of students enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi are being recognized for their recent capstone project.
The student team included Alex Pickle, Bryan Parker, Daniel Assamah, Faisal Mallum, Golda Sharpe, James Dickens, Josiah Ball, Molly Egloff, Wuyang Wang and overseen by Dr. Chad Miller.
The Southwest Mississippi Partnership (SWMP) commissioned USM to conduct a cluster analysis of the oil and gas industry in the southwestern region of Mississippi and eastern region of Louisiana. USM Master of Science in Economic Development students recently presented their summer capstone project on the Southwest Mississippi Cluster Analysis to the partnership and community leaders.
Chandler Russ, executive director, Natchez Inc. and president of the SWMP 10-county regional economic-development organization, plans to utilize the research and implement an action plan based on the findings.
“We are really excited to partner with USM and The Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship,” said Russ. “The students made a number of marketing and policy recommendations, and we look forward to implementing and continuing this partnership with USM to increase sustainable growth within the region.”
The study area is part of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale region, where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is expected to unlock seven billion barrels of oil and natural gas creating an economic boom for the region.
In addition to attracting the oil and gas industry, other industries (e.g., chemical, polymer and other energy intensive manufacturers) might be expected to locate in the region since the output from fracking is one of their key inputs.
The student team used public and proprietary data along with research methodologies learned in their studies to assess current industries in the region and the clustering effect of the petroleum extraction and petrochemical industries.
An input/output analysis was completed using sophisticated software and identified gaps in the clusters that can be filled through industrial recruitment and/or internal development. The analysis found some excellent potential for economic development in the region.
“This research and collaboration demonstrates an innovative approach to sharing ideas and utilizing the resources that institutions like USM can offer our regional economic development organizations” said Bubba Weir, Innovate Mississippi vice president for innovation resources development.
The Southwest Mississippi Partnership is a regional economic development organization that unites the efforts of 10 counties in Southwest Mississippi. SWMP helps companies and site locators in their expansion projects considering locations in the region.
The Partnership promotes harmony, cooperation and understanding among its members and facilitates the sharing and networking of resources, information and personnel to accomplish economic prosperity.
Member counties include Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson. SWMP also works closely with the Entergy Mississippi, Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Development Authority.
For more information on the Southwest Mississippi Partnership please go to www.southwestmississippi.us.