Contact: Warren Robinson (202) 249-6516
CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO (October 18, 2012) – Ohio can leverage its abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas from shale to spark a manufacturing renaissance in the Buckeye State and across the country, American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Cal Dooley said today at a 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force hearing at a local DuPont facility.
“Ohio can serve as a model for states planning to reduce energy costs and create a competitive advantage for local manufacturers by expanding natural gas production,” Dooley said. “Ohio is uniquely positioned to capitalize on shale gas development that will kick start its economy, rejuvenate the industrial base and create thousands of jobs,” Dooley testified.
The Ohio House of Representatives established the task force this summer and announced five hearings to encourage discussion among policy makers and business leaders about strategies to improve Ohio’s manufacturing competitiveness. Taskforce Chairman Kurt Schuring (R-Canton) spoke at today’s hearing, along with a number of representatives from leading industries in Ohio, including Tom Shepherd, Chairman and CEO of The Shepherd Chemical Company.
Access to untapped supplies of natural gas is one of the most important domestic energy developments in 50 years. One-third of U.S natural gas reserves are comprised of shale gas, including 15 trillion cubic feet of Utica shale gas.
Given its enormous shale gas resources, Ohio, with 43,000 people employed in the chemical industry, is attracting strong interest from ACC member companies looking to expand and build new manufacturing facilities. An ACC study found that a new petrochemical plant in Ohio would generate $7.5 billion in chemical industry output in the state, $1 billion in Ohio wages, $169 million in state tax revenue and 17,000 Ohio jobs in chemistry and supplier industries. Tens of thousands of other manufacturing jobs are supported by the chemical industry.
Low-cost ethane has given the chemical industry an enormous advantage over foreign competitors who use a different manufacturing process based on oil. “With global oil prices hovering around $100 a barrel, and U.S. prices natural gas prices under $4 per million BTU, America’s chemical industry is now in its strongest competitive position for the first time in years,” Dooley said. “Most people do not realize that chemistry is the foundation of America’s manufacturing sector. Many industries, including auto manufacturing, agriculture, health care and technology rely on chemistry and plastics,” he added.
Public policy decisions could determine how long the U.S. manufacturing sector prospers with the natural gas boom. Earlier this year, ACC launched an energy advocacy and awareness campaign, “From Chemistry to Energy,” to support key policies and regulations that will enable the chemical industry and U.S. manufacturers to capitalize fully on America’s diverse supply of energy resources. “America’s chemical manufacturers and 94 percent of voters understand that we need an “all of the above” energy policy that relies on natural gas but also energy efficiency and energy recovery to rebuild our economy,” Dooley said. “A comprehensive energy strategy would transform our industry.”
The full potential of shale gas will only be realized with state regulatory policies that support infrastructure development and robust production in an environmentally responsible manner. “We believe states like Ohio, not the federal government, are best equipped to decide how to oversee energy production in their communities. That is why we support state, not federal, oversight of hydraulic fracturing and chemical disclosure,” Dooley said. “We are seeing the first glimmer of the bright future that lies ahead if we get these energy policies right.”
Learn more about shale gas.