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STATEWIDE Triangle Region

Here's the drill on fracking
 
On June 4, Gov. Pat McCrory signed the Energy Modernization Act, which allows the state to begin issuing permits for hydraulic fracturing 60 days after the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission develops rules for it. The commission, asked to develop programs for oil and gas exploration in 2012, is expected to submit rules to the legislature in January, meaning permits could be issued as soon as next spring. Hydraulic fracturing — fracking — involves horizontal drilling into shale to extract natural gas trapped in the rock. North Carolina’s shale-gas potential remains uncertain, but the Deep River Basin, a 150-mile stretch of central North Carolina where shale formations are 2,100 to 6,000 feet underground, is the most promising site. In the heart of the basin, Lee County has drawn the most attention from potential drillers. A 2013 study by N.C. State University economist Michael Walden estimates that seven years of infrastructure development for drilling would create 496 jobs and generate $80 million in annual spending in the state. Once production begins, 1,406 jobs could be created with an annual economic impact of $158 million over 20 years. Opponents worry about environmental damage, such as groundwater contamination and air pollution, and the study cautions that property near drilling sites might lose value. But in mostly rural Lee County, where the April unemployment rate was 8%, significantly higher than the state’s 6.2%, the industry could provide a much-needed economic boost.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Briefs

RALEIGH — Fort Worth, Texas-based Trademark Property will spend $90 million to build Carolina Row at Crabtree Valley, a mixed-use development with 700 residential units, a hotel and up to 150,000 square feet of retail space. Construction will begin next spring and is scheduled for completion by late 2016.

SANFORDGKN Driveline will invest more than $18 million at its plants here and in Mebane. The division of U.K.-based GKN makes automotive components such as all-wheel-drive systems and employs about 2,000 in North Carolina. It will add 105 jobs here at an average annual wage of $39,048, slightly higher than Lee County’s $37,066. If it meets job-creation benchmarks, GKN Driveline is eligible for a state grant of $1.1 million over 12 years.

RALEIGHWakeMed Health & Hospitals named retired Rear Adm. Donald Gintzig president and CEO. He has been interim chief executive of the 678-bed hospital since October 2013, when Bill Atkinson stepped down after 10 years in the job.

DURHAMQuintiles will acquire Houston-based Encore Health Resources, which helps companies compile and use electronic medical records, for an undisclosed amount. It employs 300 people in North America. The deal was expected to close in the second quarter. Quintiles, a contract-research organization that employs 2,600 in the state, had revenue of $1 billion for the first quarter of 2014 after reaching that milestone for the first time the previous three months.

RALEIGH — David Zaas became president of 186-bed Duke Raleigh Hospital July 1. Zaas, chief medical officer of Duke University’s Department of Medicine since 2011, replaces Richard Gannotta, who left to be president of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago in February.

CHAPEL HILLRho will add 25 jobs at its headquarters here and expects to hire more workers by year-end. The contract-research organization, which employs 371 across the U.S., is expanding because of growth of its commercial business.

DURHAMCisco Systems is adding 550 jobs at its Research Triangle Park campus over the next four years and will receive up to $12.9 million in state incentives over 12 years. Average annual wage is $72,700, compared with Wake County’s $49,410 average. San Jose Calif.-based Cisco hired its first employee in North Carolina in 1993 and now employs 4,600 workers here plus 1,400 contractors. Texas and Georgia competed for Cisco’s expansion.