Contact: Jennifer Scott (202) 249-6512
ROANOKE, W.VA. (December 6, 2011) – Natural gas from the Marcellus Shale could help revitalize American manufacturing in West Virginia and bring new, high-paying jobs to the state, American Chemistry Council President and CEO Cal Dooley said today at Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s summit, “West Virginia: Energy Powering Economic Development.”
“While many experts have focused on the jobs and revenues that could come from exploration and production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, the manufacturing story is just beginning to be told,” Dooley said. “Shale gas could generate thousands of new jobs in the chemical industry and its supply chain. It’s one of the most promising developments for new manufacturing jobs in at least a decade.”
Affordable, abundant shale gas is creating a global competitive advantage for the domestic petrochemical industry. After years of high, volatile natural gas prices that helped lead to the loss of 140,000 chemical jobs, the industry is expanding once again. Chemical manufacturers make a key product, ethylene, from the ethane found in shale gas, giving U.S. companies a significant edge over Western European competitors using a more expensive, oil-based feedstock.
“New chemical business can spur growth in supplier sectors, help produce more materials for export, and create jobs,” Dooley noted. A recent ACC study found that the $3.2 billion investment in a major ethylene production complex in West Virginia would generate 12,000 jobs in chemical and supplier industries, $729 million in wages and $95 million in state tax revenue. Nationally, a 25 percent increase in ethane production would result in nearly 400,000 new jobs. “Shale gas is a game changer.”
However, the full potential from shale gas will only be realized with sound state regulatory policies that allow for aggressive production in an environmentally responsible way. “America’s chemistry industry supports efforts to continually improve production processes, including the use of best practices. We make many of these advanced production technologies possible,” Dooley pointed out.
Dooley emphasized that the United States can be one of the most energy-rich countries, if we fully develop our whole portfolio of energy sources—from natural gas, oil and coal to alternatives and renewables. “By committing to developing a bipartisan, comprehensive energy policy, we can lay the foundation for a renaissance in American manufacturing in the United States,” Dooley said. “Remember: A bright economic future is lying just beneath our feet.”
Learn more about shale gas.