Energy Sector in Eastern Kentucky

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East Kentucky: Energy Leader

The Appalachian Region of East Kentucky has long been a provider of energy resources for the United States.  

Our history of coal is a proud tradition of excellence in delivering low-cost energy sources for consumption by industry.  However, coal is not the only resource available in the One East Kentucky region.  

Natural Gas and Oil have proven to be another abundant natural resource within the mountains.  

Many national and international companies have locations, processing facilities and pipelines to tap into the energy market we offer. Read on to find out why the One East Kentucky region is a prime location for energy extraction, as well as energy dependent, projects.

Energy Cluster

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  • AEP Kentucky Power – Power Generation and Service Corporation
  • EQT – Natural Gas Extraction and Transportation
  • MarkWest Energy Partners – Natural Gas Processing and Hydrocarbon Extracting
  • East Kentucky Power – Power Generation and Service Co-Op
  • Kentucky Oil & Refining Company – Bulk Oil Plant
  • Marathon Oil (Ashland) – Oil Refining Facility
  • Booth Energy – Coal Producer
  • Chesapeake Energy – Oil & Gas Development
  • Vinland Energy – Natural Gas Exploration, Development and Production
  • Clean Gas, Inc. – Natural Gas Production & Delivery
  • Jetta Operating Company – Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Kinzer Family Group – Oil, Natural Gas and Drilling/Development Company

Electricity, Oil & Gas


Eastern Kentucky has been an energy leader for over 100 years, since the first commercial coal operation in 1900 in Floyd County, Kentucky.  Eastern Kentucky Coal provided a higher carbon density, allowing for fewer tons to be burned to produce electricity.  This led to low electricity rates across the United States and abundant electric power infrastructure throughout the area.

In addition to coal, our region has also been a long producer of Natural Gas and Oil.  From 2002-2012, four One East Kentucky counties (Pike, Floyd, Knott and Letcher) produced over 100 Billion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas.  In 2013, Kentucky reported over 2.8 Million barrels of oil production.  Add to that the discovery of the Rogersville Shale play, a Cambrian-age formation, and speculation on the additional amount of Oil & Natural Gas available within the One East Kentucky region increases dramatically.

Companies like EQT are headquartered here to extract, process and transport energy resources such as natural gas.  There is no doubt that our region will continue to provide energy solutions for the United States. Discover how you can join Eastern Kentucky's energy industry.

East Kentucky Has Skilled Energy Labor

The One East Kentucky region is home to an impressive number of skilled workers in the energy sector.  Below are a few examples of how our workforce outnumbers the United States average.

  • 7 times US average in Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas Extraction
  • 6 times US average in Drilling Oil & Natural Gas Wells
  • 2 times US average in Support Activities for Oil and Gas Operation
  • 2 times US average in Electric Power Distribution
  • 2 times US average in Oil & Gas Pipeline Construction
  • 2 times US average in Power Line Construction

Growth in Labor

Since 2011, the number of people employed in the following energy sectors have grown:

  • 37% Growth since 2011 in Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas Extraction
  • 10% Growth since 2011 in Natural Gas Distribution
  • 6% Growth since 2011 in Support Activities for Oil and Gas Operations

Transferable Labor

The following are examples of workers transitioning from the coal industry into new opportunities that are easily transferable to the energy sector:

  • 354 Roof Bolters, Mining
  • 353 Wellhead Pumpers
  • 289 – Continuous Mining Machine Operators
  • 250 – Loading Machine Operators
  • 241  Excavating, Loading & Dragline Operators
  • 143 Mine Cutting and Channeling Machine Operators
  • 143  Mine Shuttle Car Operators
  • 100 Pump Operators

Contact us to learn how East Kentucky's energy labor can be put to work for your company.

Electric Power Provider

We are served by AEP Kentucky Power, a publicly traded investor-owned electric utility. AEP owns more of the nation’s electricity transmission system than all the other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP consistently ranks as a top-10 utility company for economic development by Site Selection Magazine.

Natural Gas

Spectra EnergyNatural Gas pipeline infrastructure is abundant in our region giving metalworking companies cheap access to natural gas.  Spectra Energy’s Big Sandy Pipeline has a capacity of 0.2 Trillion British thermal units per day.

Columbia Gas Transmission is a natural gas pipeline that gathers gas in the Gulf of Mexico and transports it north through our region owned by NiSource. Columbia handles more than 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute


The Haas Technical Education Center Network is an industry & education led initiative that enables manufacturing technology educators and their schools to acquire the latest CNC machine tools and related CNC ancillary equipment, software and educational materials.  The East Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute is the latest HTEC program and will provide students with a relevant high tech and hands-on educational experience.  The first students will be former coal industry workers transitioning to new industry.  The program will graduate work-ready CNC machinists, programmers & engineers for today’s industrial employers as well the manufacturing challenges of the future.  HTEC Members can tap into a network of over 1700 institutes as well as nearly 100 CNC Technology Partners, who are pledged to support CNC Education.

The HTEC program is certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).  NIMS operates under rigorous and highly disciplined processes as the only developer of American National Standards for the nations metalworking industry.

University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research

University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy ResearchThe University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy (CAER) investigates energy technologies to improve the environment. Researchers contribute to technically-sound policies related to fossil and renewable energy. CAER is one of UK’s multidisciplinary research centers. Research efforts are directed to:

  • Coal beneficiation, utilization and conversion process technologies
  • Fuel use
  • Coal combustion by-products
  • Engineered Fuels
  • Derivation of high added-value materials and chemicals
  • Renewable energy such as biofuels and bioenergy, elctrochemistry, solar energy and environmental remediation

Community & Technical College Programs

Community & Technical College Programs

More than 14,000 students are currently enrolled in technical and community college programs at three colleges in our region.  The following programs are offered to support the Metalworking Sector:

Computer and Information Technology

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Certifications Available:

  • A+
  • CISCO Networking Associate
  • CIT Fundamentals
  • Computer Support Technician
  • Computer Tech
  • Database Administration
  • Game Programming
  • Information Security Specialist
  • Microsoft Enterprise Administrator
  • Microsoft Network Administrator
  • Net +
  • Network Technologies Specialist
  • Productivity Software Specialist
  • Programming
  • Security +
  • Web Programming
  • Web Administration

Business Administration

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Certifications Available:

  • Information Systems Management
  • Office Systems
  • Payroll Accounting Specialist
  • Sales
  • Telecommunications Systems Management

Medical Information Technology

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Certifications Available:

  • Medical Insurance Coder
  • Medical Transcriptionist
  • Medical Records Clerk

Visual Communications: Multimedia

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Certifications Available:

  • Multimedia
  • Video Productions
  • Web Design

Transportation Access from East Kentucky

North – South:  U.S. Highway 23 provides 4-Lane access North and South throughout Eastern Kentucky.

East -West: The Mountain Parkway, Hal Rogers Parkway and U.S. Highway 119 provide 4-Lane access East and West throughout Eastern Kentucky.

Regional Roadmap

Rail Access

We have access to 2 Class I Railroads: CSX and Norfolk Southern.

rail access

Port Access

The Port of Huntington Tri-State is the largest inland port in the United States and is part of our region.  The port averages an annual cargo tonnage of over 60 million tons per year and is the 15th largest port of any kind, inland or deep water, in the U.S.A.

port access