In a Tuesday morning headline, Bloomberg News asked the question: “Can the U.S. Become an Energy Superpower in 2017?

Well, it already is, thanks to American shale development. Now families, manufacturers, our environment, and national security are stronger because of the United States’ position as a global energy leader.

blogimages_113016

Much of the credit for this milestone in America’s resurgence as a global energy powerhouse goes to the mighty Marcellus. As Bloomberg reports, we’re “pulling 18 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the Marcellus shale formation in the eastern U.S., more than any other domestic shale deposit.”

That record- production continues to translate into local, national and international benefits. In fact, “the U.S. has become a net exporter of natural gas,” the Wall Street Journal recently reported, “further evidence of the how the domestic oil and gas boom is reshaping the global energy business.” That shift, driven by the shale revolution, benefits our allies overseas and strengthens America’s national security, as the “abundance of natural gas from domestic shale basins [helps] break the Russian grip on the European economy,” according to a UPI report.

But what about consumers, manufacturers, and our environment at home? For one, thanks to the shale revolution, the United States has made “real progress on reducing carbon in the atmosphere,” the environmental think tank Breakthrough Institute recently stated. In fact, as reported by the New York Times, the organization argues that America should “stay out of the way of the shale energy revolution” to continue to realize natural gas’ environmental benefits.blogimages_1130163

For manufacturers, the Beaver County ethane cracker facility that will process locally produced natural gas liquids into the building blocks for plastics is a “once in a lifetime opportunity that has already begun to breathe new life into Beaver County,” a Western Pa. real estate agent told the Business Times. “Area businesses [are] looking to get in on the ground floor of an economic upswing,” the Post-Gazette reports, adding that officials believe Shell’s investment in this world-class facility will “inspire other chemical manufacturing companies to move here or expand.

The vital link, however, in realizing these clean-air, manufacturing, and consumer benefits is a renewed focus on infrastructure. It’s why Pa. PUC Commissioner Robert Powelson told the Post-Gazette that we need to “double down on energy infrastructure.” It’s why the Charleston Gazette-Mail editorial board was absolutely right this week when they wrote: “[For] Americans to continue to live a comfortable life and afford to travel, heat their homes and have jobs, they need additional infrastructure like pipelines and highways and the fuel to allow that to happen.”

blogimages_1130162What’s clear is that it’s mission critical and a “plus for Pennsylvania,” as IUOE Local 66 Jim Kunz wrote in a Tribune-Review letter, to continue the safe modernization and expansion of our natural gas infrastructure network and end-uses.

With a historic election in the books, and as federal and state lawmakers prepare for a new session, there is no more critical time for elected officials at all levels to focus on commonsense policies that encourage greater production and use of our abundant natural gas resources.

Support for energy development and infrastructure growth is “nearly universal” among Pennsylvania voters, according to a new survey released by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Pa. Manufacturers’ Association. Specifically, the poll found “84 percent of Pa. voters support increasing energy development in the U.S.

Support for much-needed energy infrastructure development crosses party lines, as more than 92 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats in the Commonwealth support greater investment in expanding and modernizing Pa.’s energy infrastructure network, the survey found.

capture

Key Findings:

  • Overall, 87% of Pa. voters believe if government and private industry were to invest in infrastructure, it would have a positive impact.
  • The consensus view of voters in Pa. (85%) is to support increasing investment in our energy infrastructure, and 57% strongly support increasing our investment.
  • The overwhelming view of Pa. voters (84%) is to support increasing energy development in the U.S.

MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer echoed these points regarding much-needed energy infrastructure development in a recent Indiana Gazette op-ed, writing that “investing in America’s future will pay dividends, especially as the game-changing potential of domestic energy is unleashed.”

Here’s what they’re saying about the broad, overwhelming support for infrastructure development shown in surveys from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia:

INFRASTRUCTURE EXPANSION

  • “Survey Shows Nearly Universal Support for More Energy Infrastructure in Pa.”: Republicans and Democrats in Pa. might not agree on presidential candidates or policy issues, but a new survey has shown almost universal support for additional investment into energy infrastructure. The survey, conducted recently by the National Association of Manufacturers, found that 87 percent of Pa. voters believe public and private investments into energy infrastructure would have a positive effect on the economy. … Overall, more than 80 percent of those surveyed in the three states combined agreed that additional energy infrastructure would have a positive effect on the economy. Additionally, even 86 percent of self-identified environmentalists support the concept. … David Taylor, the president of the Pa. Manufacturers’ Association, said in a news release that residents across the state “understand that to be able to produce energy in Pa. and get it to customers, we need reliable infrastructure.” “They also understand that our families and communities will be better off when we invest in that infrastructure — from pipelines, ports and power lines to airports, bridges, roads and waterways,” Taylor said. “We have a unique, generational opportunity to move the Commonwealth and our nation forward by leveraging our energy resources into much-needed job creation.” (Beaver County Times, 12/7/16)
  • Pennsylvanians “Strongly Support Building of Pipelines”: A survey of Pa. residents released Wednesday by the Pa. Manufacturers Association finds broad-based support for investment in infrastructure to help build out the state’s natural gas industry and manufacturing. The PMA and the National Association of Manufacturers survey of 500 registered voters between Nov. 28 and Dec. 3 found 87 percent believe government and private industry investment in energy infrastructure will have a positive impact on the state’s economy. … “There is overwhelming support for broad-based infrastructure development,” said David Taylor, president of the Harrisburg-based Pa. Manufacturers Association. “This is an area that has broad-based support among Republicans and Democrats, city folks, suburban folks, rural folks.” Taylor said that energy infrastructure was critical for Pa. to make the most of the bounty of natural gas coming out of the ground in the Marcellus and Utica shales to make it to the critical Northeast markets. “We especially need new energy infrastructure to successfully deploy Pa. energy,” Taylor said. Taylor said that new energy infrastructure is critical for Pa. manufacturers, including the billions of dollars of investment by Royal Dutch Shell in the Beaver County petrochemical plant. He said there has to be a way for manufacturers to get the product from the Potter Township cracker to their plants for production. (Business Times, 12/7/16)
  • “Survey: Cross Section of Commonwealth Wants More Infrastructure, Energy Infrastructure Investment”: A survey released Wednesday indicates that Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly want more investment when it comes to infrastructure across the commonwealth and the U.S., including energy infrastructure. … Among the perceived benefits from investments in infrastructure, good-paying jobs topped the list with 61 percent while 59 percent believed it would boost the economy, 43 percent believe it would increase safety, 40 percent believed it would make the U.S. more competitive globally, and 37 percent believed it would ensure a secure and reliable supply of energy, among findings. … “The message in all three of these states remains abundantly clear — creating jobs and invigorating the economy remains the number one issue in these polls, more than double of any other issue,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy for NAM. “And investing in energy infrastructure — pipelines, transmission lines, power plants and railroads — is a sure-fire way to create those jobs and boost the economy.” … “Pa. is blessed with tremendous energy resources, but lacks adequate infrastructure to get these resources to market,” said Eisenberg. “Earlier this year, the NAM estimated that the demand for natural gas will increase over 40 percent over the next decade. …Manufacturers need this infrastructure put in place quickly to remain competitive. We use natural gas as a fuel, and we use it as a feedstock to make other things.” “Business and Logistics are an important part of our competitiveness,” said David Taylor, president of the Pa. Manufacturers Association. “As was noted, we especially need new energy infrastructure to successfully deploy domestic energy, Pa. energy, to reach Pa. industrial, commercial and residential consumers, and also to build export markets.” (Towanda Daily Review, 12/8/16)
  • “Pennsylvanians Strongly Support Additional Infrastructure Development”: Pennsylvanians of all stripes – Republicans and Democrats, union members and non-union workers – overwhelmingly support the need for updated and modern infrastructure of all types, according to a recent post-election survey. … The need for infrastructure improvements in the United States was addressed by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump while on the campaign trail. … According to Ross Eisenberg, the NAM’s vice president of energy and resources policy, the survey found that 87 percent of voters believe that if government and private industry were to invest in infrastructure it would have a positive impact, with 61 percent agreeing that the increase would create good-paying jobs and 59 percent saying it would boost the economy. … Eighty-six percent of union members and 85 percent of non-union voters also gave a thumbs-up to such an initiative, as did 86 percent of those who identified themselves as environmentalists. … Respondents also gave favorable support to all forms of energy, including solar (88 percent); wind (81); natural gas (76); oil (61); coal (52); and nuclear (45). … Where natural gas infrastructure is concerned, he said, “all that the private sector is looking for is permission to build” additional pipelines, adding that the financial side is accounted for. … Pa.’s cheap and abundant natural gas from the Marcellus Shale would be able to supply manufacturers of all types for both their operations and their feedstock needs, but more infrastructure work will need to be done if the industry is to remain competitive and flourish, Taylor said. (Observer-Reporter, 12/7/16)
  • Natural Gas “Pipeline Project Deserves Support”: urgently needs pipelines to move clean-burning natural gas from the shale basins to market. We are home to one of the most substantial shale gas plays in the world, but existing, dated infrastructure is so limited that gas producers in Western Pa. are getting less than half of the free-market price available on the eastern side of the state. Over the last five years, more than $1 billion in tax dollars have returned to the communities in which operators have produced gas through impact fees to ensure that tax revenue benefits the communities that are providing the resource. But our operators can afford to go elsewhere, pay less taxes and get more for their product. Many have heard over the last few years about the Mighty Marcellus, but in nearby Ohio, it’s the Utica formation that is driving growth and activity. And with such activity happening just over the border, it’s important for Pa. to stay competitive and business friendly. Pipelines, like Sunoco’s Mariner East 2, need people. … Without infrastructure projects like Sunoco’s Mariner East 2, the future of the industry may shift to nearby states and take the jobs with them. The safest way to transfer gas from our mineral-rich land to the homes they heat, the power plants they supply, the lights they keep on – is in a pipeline. … Local energy costs are kept low because of the industry and our proximity to the gas shale beneath us. (Observer-Reporter letter, 12/5/16)
  • “Official: Gas Industry Will Thrive Again”: The leader of a natural gas drilling trade group predicted a resurgence of the gas industry in Indiana Co., in part because of the change of administration in Washington, but also due to the ongoing construction of a major cross-state gas transmission line through the region. … The Sunoco Logistics Partners’ Mariner East 2 pipeline construction project through Burrell, West Wheatfield and East Wheatfield Townships is an example. “It’s important not just to gather the gas but to get it into interstate pipelines, and to modernize that infrastructure so we can get to markets here and elsewhere,” [MSC’s Dave] Spigelmyer said. … Indiana Co. understands it, Spigelmyer said. “They know we can operate pipelines safely and with minimal disruption,” Spigelmyer said. “Once they’re in the ground, to maintain those lines and operate them safely — it’s been tried and tested and it’s been done. “I think Indiana Co. has a comfort level with energy development because we’ve been at the central hub of the wheel for many decades.” … “If you have outlets for ethane in the western part of Pa., that creates opportunities for development,” Spigelmyer said. “If we have the ability to move ethane to the east, where it’s created opportunities at Marcus Hook with revitalization of a petrochemical facility, the pipeline Sunoco is planning to build is absolutely critical for that facility to be successful long term. And it continues the upstream jobs here in the western part of the state because they’re not mutually exclusive. You need one to have the other.” … “We have approximately a dozen major shale plays here in the U.S. competing for capital and competing for the jobs that this capital produces. So, we need to be a location where investors want to place their dollars. “That means creating an environment that welcomes investment and doesn’t stand in its way. “And you have skin in the game,” Spigelmyer said. “Today we have the opportunity to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs here in Pa. through affordable energy, to keep our kids at home with family wage sustaining jobs and making products once again.” … “The next five to 10 years is a critical time for maturing our industry and securing our competitive advantage, especially here in Indiana Co.. This region may not be directly in the bull’s-eye of production, but there will be wells drilled here and this region will continue to feed the industry with equipment and skilled workers to help make this play an unparalleled success.” (Indiana Gazette, 12/3/16)

Responsible natural gas development continues to Move America Forward as Pennsylvania, once again, safely produced record amounts of clean-burning natural gas that’s boosting our economy, strengthening our air quality, driving a manufacturing renaissance, and enhancing America’s energy security.

Here are the year’s top shale-related headlines:


Natural Gas Strengthens America’s Air Quality
Thanks to clean-burning natural gas, the U.S. has “cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.”

 


Shell Moves Ahead with Ethane Cracker in Beaver County
“The company cited as reasons for its decision the site’s proximity both to plentiful ethane produced by many Marcellus shale gas wells here and to potential customers for the ethylene it will produce — a building block of plastics.”

 


Revitalizing American Manufacturing
“The surge in American natural gas production has lowered energy costs for manufacturers and driven job growth.”

 


U.S. Shale Revolution Has Made U.S. Manufacturing More Competitive
“The shale gas boom provided energy intensive industries with a cost advantage over their international competitors. Our results suggest that the cost advantage due to the shale gas boom may have helped the US economy recover significantly faster than it would otherwise have done after the financial crisis of 2007/08.”

 


IUOE Local 66 Column: Gas Pipelines Represent Prosperity
“Natural gas pipelines — which Pa.’s hardworking and highly skilled building trade union members safely construct — are the cornerstone to realizing shale’s economic and environmental benefits.”

 


Natural Gas Infrastructure Drives “Another Manufacturing Renaissance”
 “We can not only export the energy, but we can use that gas to have another manufacturing renaissance, making the plastics that are coming out of the cracker plant,” said Allegheny Co. Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

 


New Milestone: The U.S. Is Now a Net Exporter of Natural Gas
“The U.S. has become a net exporter of natural gas, further evidence of the how the domestic oil and gas boom is reshaping the global energy business.”

 


Top U.S. Official Touts American Natural Gas on Capitol Hill
“The U.S. is also now the number one producer of natural gas in the world,” confirmed U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz during a congressional hearing today.

 


U.S. Residential Electricity Prices Decline for the First Time in Many Years
“Residential customers in most areas of the country are seeing lower retail electricity prices this year compared with the same time last year. Declining costs of fuel, especially natural gas, have been a key driver of recent reductions in retail electricity prices.”

 


Pennsylvania Shows Record Output of Natural Gas
“The volume of natural gas produced in Pa. last year increased to a record level despite a drastic downturn nationwide in the drilling industry. Pa. remained as the second-largest supplier of natural gas in the nation, producing enough natural gas to power 62 million households annually.”

American natural gas development is strengthening the U.S. economy and making domestic manufacturing more competitive, two recently released economic reports conclude. Researchers at the prestigious London School of Economics, in one report, find that natural gas development “has made U.S. manufacturing more competitive” and helped advance American manufacturing exports to the world.

The economic experts conclude “that the cost advantage due to the shale gas boom may have helped the US economy recover significantly faster than it would otherwise have done after the financial crisis of 2007/08.”

Key Takeaways from the London School of Economics report:

  • Boost to manufacturing competitiveness: “Firms that manufacture energy-intensive products experienced a much more substantial cut in production costs and, hence, a boost to their competitiveness.”
  • Affordable, domestic natural gas: “For every dollar increase in the price gap of natural gas between the United States and Europe, output in chemical manufacturing increased by 1.6%. In the face of nearly a $10 gap by the end of our sample period, this baseline result is large. … The shale gas boom provided energy intensive industries with a cost advantage over their international competitors.”
  • Manufacturing job-creator: “Total manufacturing sector employment increased by around 356,000 jobs up to 2012. A comparison with previous research suggests that, for every two jobs created in direct relation to fracking, this indirect effect adds more than one additional job elsewhere in the economy.”
  • Increases American manufacturing exports: “Given that the price gap widened to $10 by 2012, we find that average manufacturing exports have expanded by roughly 10% due to the shale gas boom. This amounts to roughly 4.4% of the overall value of exports of goods and services from the United States in 2012.”

In another study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, experts with the University of Pennsylvania conclude that natural gas development has led to a net 4.6 million new American jobs.

Key Takeaways from the study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research:

  • Job-creator: “In the aggregate, we estimate that during the shale oil period 4,600,000 (net) new jobs are linked with the development of shale oil technology. This represents a 4.2% increase in the number of jobs across the industries in our study, compared to the aggregate number of jobs at the beginning of the shale oil period.” (p. 4)
  • Long-term economic driver: “We find that…shale oil is an important contributor to the future U.S. economic growth.” (p. 48)

Both economic reports further underscore the key message that MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer told Fox News late last week: The continued growth of natural gas development – and the safe modernization of infrastructure to move gas to market – presents tremendous opportunity for the Commonwealth’s economy and environment.

NOTE: Click HERE to watch the FoxNews segment online.

SPIGELMYER: “This is a multi-generational play. It’s no flash in the pan. I’d say we’re in the first inning of a nine inning game.”

FOX NEWS REPORTER: “The industry says it needs infrastructure to move an oversupply of gas to more markets. That investment could create lasting jobs.”

Natural gas development boosts local economies and benefits communities across the Commonwealth, a new study from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago confirms. Communities that welcome shale development, the study’s authors conclude, have stronger economies, more jobs, higher home values and experience an increase in government revenues, with areas across Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale witnessing some of the “largest benefits.”

According to the authors, the study “makes clear that on net there are benefits to local economies – which we believe is useful information for leaders in the U.S. and abroad who are deciding whether to allow fracing in their communities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shale development generates significant revenue in communities: “Counties with a high level of hydraulic fracturing activity produce an additional $400 million worth of oil and natural gas each year. To put this into context, the most productive counties saw a per capita increase in production of about $19,000.”
  • Shale development improves the local economy: “Counties with a high level of hydraulic fracturing experience marked increases in economic activity. Specifically, the study found up to a 7 percent increase in average income.”
  • Housing prices increased: “The study found that housing prices increased on average by about 6 percent after shale development began.”
  • Each shale region fares differently, with the Bakken and Marcellus regions seeing the greatest benefits: “North Dakota’s Bakken shale and Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale saw the largest benefits, with house price increases of 23 percent and 9 percent, respectively.”

This latest independent economic report comes on the heels of two recent studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research and the London School of Economics that conclude shale development is a key U.S. job-creator and has boosted America’s manufacturing competitiveness.

Here’s what they’re saying.

  • “Overall, Fracking Benefits Nearby Communities, Study Finds”: The energy boom unleashed by hydraulic fracturing provided significant economic benefits to nearby communities, boosting employment, incomes and home values, according to a study by the University of Chicago. … The study, aimed to quantify the costs and benefits of the so-called shale revolution, studying communities near shale formations such as the Eagle Ford in Texas, Bakken in North Dakota and Marcellus in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2013. So far, the study concluded, the economic benefits of the oil and gas production outweigh costs. … The study found that the shale boom produced benefits valued at as much as $1,900 a year for the average household in nearby communities. (Houston Chronicle, 12/22/16) 
  • “Report Finds Shale Development Improves Local Economies”: Through development of a “willingness-to-pay” (WTP) metric, University of Chicago researchers found that shale development adds an average welfare gain of $1,300-1,900 per household per year, totaling approximately $64 billion for all of the aforementioned shale areas studied combined. The increase takes into account increased income and local activity. … “The average community that has allowed fracking has enjoyed substantial net benefits.” The report found that counties with a high level of fracking activity saw a 4.4-6.9% increase in total income, driven primarily by increases in wages and other factors such as royalty payments to local land owners. Employment also increased 3.6-5.4% and salaries went up 7.6-13%. Additionally, local governments saw an average increase in revenues (15.5%) that more than offset an average increase in expenditures (12.9%). EPIC also found that housing prices increased 5.7% and housing rental rates went up 2.7% in local communities after shale development began. … Janet Currie, economics professor at Princeton University and another co-author, added that local communities that banned fracking may, on average, see fewer economic benefits. (Natural Gas Intelligence, 12/23/16)

Thanks to natural gas development, the United States has reemerged as a global energy powerhouse and is on track to soon become a net energy exporter. This positive shift, which hasn’t been achieved since the Eisenhower administration, further strengthens America’s national security as well as our global competitiveness.

While the shale revolution is making America more energy secure, Pennsylvania, a leader in responsible natural gas production, continues to realize the local benefits. In fact, the U.S. energy department reported today that abundant, low-cost natural gas drove down electricity costs in 2016, delivering even more energy savings to American families. According to the report, electricity prices in the northeast region were 64 percent lower than the same period last year as natural gas became the primary source of U.S. power generation.

The federal government’s latest report comes on the heels of a recent study by University of Chicago economic experts concluding that natural gas development benefits communities – especially throughout Pennsylvania – by driving increases in housing values, wages, tax revenues, and employment.

This important economic, consumer savings and environmental progress was captured in an editorial today from the Washington Post, which makes the case that a ban on hydraulic fracturing is “senseless” and that lawmakers shouldn’t “indulge unfounded anti-fracking absolutism.”

Our local building trades and laborers – who are critical to the natural gas industry’s ongoing success – recognize these benefits as well. For example, a top International Union of Operating Engineers leader recently wrote in the Tribune-Review that policies like even higher energy taxes and burdensome regulations are “reckless” and would “jeopardize jobs and the livelihoods of those who have worked tirelessly to make our nation a global energy leader.”

Here’s what they’re saying.

COMMUNITY BENEFITS

  • “Editorial: Fracking Shown to Benefit American Families”: Just what has the hydraulic fracturing revolution meant to American families? A new study quantifies the benefits of fracking – and they’re impressive. … “Fracking isn’t just helping to boost the energy security of the United States – it’s also raising wages and home prices for people living in shale-rich parts of the country,” American Interest writes. “Increased oil and gas production in the US is on average worth a net $1,900 per year to households in the areas where activity is highest, according to the first research to break down the impact of the shale boom on individual areas,” the Times reported. … What we do know now, thanks to that study, is how beneficial the fracking revolution has been for American families. (Tyler Morning Telegraph editorial, 1/6/17)
  • “Study Finds Net Benefit for Fracking Communities”: Communities near hydraulic fracturing activity see notable economic benefits according to a recent study published by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. The study found shale development at the community level raised the average household price by roughly $1,300 to $1,900 per year, after factoring in quality-of-life costs, driven by a 10 percent increase in employment and a 7 percent increase in average income. The Marcellus Shale area was one of the largest beneficiaries. Housing prices near the nine shale basins analyzed increased by an average of 6 percent, and the Marcellus Shale region saw the second-largest increase in prices at 9 percent. Shale communities saw job growth in natural resources and mining, construction and trade and transportation services. … The authors concluded that fracking is a net positive for the communities. “This data indicates that the average local benefits from hydraulic fracturing outweigh the costs, though this may change as more information about the environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing is revealed,” the authors wrote. (Gazette-Mail, 1/10/17)
  • “New Power Plant Generates Hope for Jobs” in Pa. Community: A new power plant is coming to Birdsboro, bringing with it hopes of jobs and a recharged economy. “I think, personally, this is one of the greatest things to have ever happened to Birdsboro,” Council President David Blank Sr. said. The biggest draw Blank cited for the borough is new revenue from property taxes and sewer fees. … Several borough residents said they were optimistic about the potential for new jobs, including those required for the construction and operation of the plant and ancillary services. Blank said he expects the project to generate 250 to 300 construction jobs and 25 to 30 full-time positions. [Chuck Marvin], 72, has lived in Birdsboro for 18 years [and] runs a commercial cleaning company. Marvin said it would be good for the business to add the power plant to their clientele. Kristen Rulli, 40, also said she was happy about the jobs. “I think it’s good for our town,” she said. “I think it will help the economy, help out the residents and maybe bring in some new life to this town.” The $500 million natural gas and steam electric power plant will cover about 30 acres on the site of the former Armorcast factory where Sherman and Patton tanks were produced. … A $30 million assessment would generate $206,000 in additional revenue to the borough. (Reading Eagle, 1/6/17)
  • “Wrong Approach” to Hike Energy Taxes Even Higher on Pa. Job-Creators: Governor [Tom Wolf] has hinted strongly at creating more revenues by increasing taxes on Marcellus Shale gas companies. We believe that is the wrong approach given the slippery ground on which the industry is resting. They already are paying a steep freight in Pennsylvania, larger than in most other competitive gas industry states. The industry has slumped in the state in recent years but there are indications drilling and production activity are ready to increase in 2017. That would be great news for Pennsylvania’s employment situation, given the broad range of businesses that benefit from gas industry activity. Employment creates income which creates significant revenue for the state coffers. This is not the time to hit them with another tariff, courtesy of state government. All that does is stunt the economic payoff of a thriving gas industry. (Williamsport Sun-Gazette editorial, 1/5/17)

 

Natural gas development continues to generate more opportunities across Pennsylvania for manufacturing growth and innovation as companies such as Shell, Siemens and Lanxess realize the benefits of doing business here.

“It’s in nearly every single consumer product we touch today,” including steel, glass, plastics, pharmaceutical medications, powdered metals and fertilizers, MSC president Dave Spigelmyer told the Indiana Gazette recently. “Today, 1 in 3 electrons is generated through … natural gas.”

These natural gas building blocks are making our region an increasingly attractive place for job creation and investment. Driven by the competitive advantage that the London School of Economics says natural gas development brings, those investments are driving job-creating opportunities across the Commonwealth.

“We want manufacturers to see Pennsylvania as the smart business decision to invest, hire and expand here in the state … and this is where energy can be the key differential that opens up a century or more of prosperity, growth and job opportunities,” Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association president David Taylor said this week during an event in Lehigh County.

In Beaver County, natural gas development is helping to generate thousands of construction jobs, with the potential for thousands more. Leaders in Potter Township this week approved permitting for Shell’s multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant that will convert ethane into the main ingredients of most household plastic products.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported from a meeting attended by supporters who carried signs reading “Family Supporting Jobs for Beaver County” and “Environmentally Responsible Growth”:

Shell will also build a natural gas power plant, three pipelines — for ethane, natural gas, and nitrogen — a rail yard, and several buildings….

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will employ about 6,000 workers at its peak, Shell has said. When operational, the petrochemical complex will have 600 permanent employees.

In Tioga County, natural gas development is generating innovation. Siemens Power & Gas this week announced it commissioned its first micro-scale system for producing on-site liquefied natural gas (LNG) near Mansfield. The new, modular technology allows for more local distribution of LNG to regional transportation and manufacturing customers.

“This project demonstrates our unique capabilities to deliver innovative solutions for oil and gas applications that help our clients maximize the value of their assets,” said Michael Walhof, sales director for Distributed LNG Solutions at Siemens’ Dresser-Rand business.

And in Philadelphia, natural gas development is generating global investment. In September, German chemical giant Lanxess bought Pennsylvania-based manufacturer Chemtura Corp. Lanxess CEO Matthias Zachert this week told the Wall Street Journal that American resources like natural gas will attract even more job-creating investment here.

“Our goal clearly is expanding in the U.S.,” said Mr. Zachert. U.S. reindustrialization—fueled by cheap raw materials—is the main reason that “not only we, but many other companies, have suddenly become active in America,” he said.

As Dave Spigelmyer told the Indiana Gazette, such investments are likely just the beginning.

“I think we’re at the tipping point of Pennsylvania having extraordinary downstream manufacturing opportunities emerge for our region,” he said. “We’ve written the obituary for manufacturing for four decades in Pennsylvania. I think today we’re at the doorstep of writing a new birth announcement for manufacturing in our region because of the fact we have affordable and abundant natural gas resources that we felt we didn’t have just 10 years ago.”

Pennsylvania is realizing the manufacturing, consumer savings, and clean-air benefits of domestic natural gas, MSC’s David Spigelmyer made clear on this weekend’s Our Region’s Business program. As Spigelmyer discussed, Pa. manufacturers are creating jobs and planning long-term investments in the Commonwealth to benefit from natural gas.

New downstream manufacturing industries are taking hold as a result of our abundant natural gas supply. Dura-Bond is restarting a steel facility in McKeesport to build pipe for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. And a pulp mill facility in central Pennsylvania is saving 438 jobs because thanks to energy savings from locally produced natural gas.

Click HERE to view the interview online.

Expanding our region’s natural gas infrastructure network is critical to generating even more job-creating benefits. Building key pipeline projects creates new manufacturing and power generation opportunities, especially for good-paying union jobs. In fact, labor union members in Virginia rallied yesterday in support of the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that will be built with steel fabricated at Dura-Bond’s Steelton, Pa. facility, creating more than 200 “good-paying union jobs.”

I’m out here today because of one four-letter word, the good kind — JOBS,” said Va. Building & Construction Trades Council president Matt Yonka. Natural gas is “made here. It’s created here. It’s created jobs here for our folks. It’s all about building America. It’s about redoing our infrastructure. It’s about creating jobs and that’s what this project does.

In addition to natural gas driving a regional manufacturing renaissance, Pa. consumers are directly benefitting through significant energy savings. According to recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, electricity prices in our region are now 64% lower than the same period last year as natural gas became our nation’s primary power generation source. EIA also reports that natural gas use in power generation will continue to increase, projecting that “annual net additions in natural gas capacity would be at their highest levels since 2005.”

(EIA, 1/30/17)

Thanks to more natural gas being used to meet our growing electricity demands, America leads the world in carbon emission reductions, a fact that Spigelmyer reinforced during Sunday’s broadcast.

Natural gas has delivered a huge reduction in carbon emissions. We’re at a 27-year low in the U.S. in carbon dioxide emissions. Why? Because we’re burning natural gas in power generation. It’s a huge benefit from a climate perspective.

Natural gas is a generational economic and environmental opportunity. But “policies matter,” Spigelmyer said, and “we’re working hard to make sure Pennsylvania can compete with our neighbors for critical job-creating capital investments.”

As the General Assembly begins a new legislative session, connect with the MSC on Facebook and Twitter for more natural gas facts – and ensure your voice is heard.

so-called “investigation” by activists at a fringe blog called Public Herald has become the latest, of many, examples of the highly coordinated, well-financed attack against safe, responsible, job-creating American natural gas.

According to the activist blog, “Public Herald is nonprofit, fearless investigative journalism. Our independence is guaranteed. We’re publicly funded, which means we work for and are supported by public donations.”

While the blog’s recent propaganda “report” attacking the natural gas industry is woefully short on legitimate, fact-based information, true to form, Public Herald is certainly delivering on its commitment to advance its funders’ out-of-the-mainstream agenda.

So who’s at the blog’s helm and who are its principal funders? Here’s a quick look at the tired playbook aimed at spreading misinformation and fear.

The blog is run by two anti-energy activists, Melissa Troutman and Josh Pribanic. A quick look at their Twitter feeds speaks directly to their deep, anti-energy biases:

As Public Herald discloses, their investigation was “funded by grants from The 11th Hour Project and The Heinz Endowments.”

As the Associated Press and other objective news outlets have reported, the Heinz Endowments funnels millions of dollars to anti-natural gas  organizations and “drilling foes”, like the Clean Air Council, Earthworks, Earthjustice, Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Sustainable and Healthy Energy and Penn Future, to name a few. Similarly, The 11th Hour Project is bankrolled by California billionaire Eric Schmidt, the 100th-richest person in the world according to Forbes. More here on Schmidt’s anti-energy activism support:

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has set up a family fund to rally the public against shale gas, and the Chorus Fund has amassed $40 million for the same purpose. The Heinz Foundation has handed out some $12 million in recent years, mostly to stir opposition in Pennsylvania, where shale-gas extraction has proceeded with bipartisan support. The 11th Hour Project gives about $3 million in annual grants to feed “grassroots” anti-fracking campaigns, targeting California, Maryland, and New York. It also supported the Gasland series.

In an incredibly weak attempt to legitimize and validate Public Herald’s research, the bloggers turn to fellow “researchers” to comment on their “findings” – researchers who also receive handsome amounts of financial support from anti-energy foundations, including the Heinz Endowments. Specifically, Anthony Ingraffea and John Stolz, are both Heinz-funded researchers who continue to peddle “reports” attacking natural gas that have debunked by independent experts, academic peers as well as state and federal regulators.

Since its initial release over a week ago, not a single reputable news organization reported on the blog’s “findings,” which wasn’t necessarily surprising given the activists’ lack of credibility, their clear bias and objectively false claims. However, more than a week after its release, StateImpact PA – a regional NPR affiliate – blogged on the “report.” So let’s follow the money further. StateImpact PA, although not initially, did ultimately disclose their mutual funder: “The Heinz Endowments provided funding to the Public Herald for their investigation, Heinz also provides funding to StateImpact Pennsylvania.”

So there you have it. Yet another clear example of a playbook that we continue to see on display: deep-pocketed anti-natural gas organizations bankroll the “research”, the activists, and the “news.” No wonder, as Gallup found recently, that Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low.

Visit the MSC’s blog for fact-based information about clean-burning, job-creating information. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news about how natural gas is Moving America Forward.

If you’re getting ready to watch the game on Super Sunday, it’s a good time to remember how America’s affordable and abundant natural gas supplies make so many parts of our day more enjoyable. From the materials in that big-screen TV to the fibers in your favorite team’s jersey and the electricity that makes it all possible, natural gas provides the building blocks to better lives, every day.

 

Property Management