Natural Gas Continues to Strengthen America

Last week marked a significant milestone in America’s ongoing march toward enhanced energy security: domestically produced shale gas is “now available to the world.” This historic achievement is strengthening America’s geopolitical standing abroad and all while benefitting consumers, manufacturers, and our environment. In fact, Delaware Co.’s Marcus Hook industrial complex is “bustling” and “a vibrant place once again” as locally produced shale gas revives the greater Philadelphia-region.

That said, even higher energy taxes and costly regulations jeopardize these clear consumer and energy security benefits. As WGAL-TV recently reported, there couldn’t be a worse time for a massive energy tax increase that’ll exacerbate the market downturn, threatening even more local jobs.

Here’s what they’re saying:

American Energy Security

  • Thanks to Shale, Marcus Hook is “a Vibrant Place Once Again”: The Marcus Hook refinery was shuttered in 2011 after over a century of operation. … Thousands of jobs were at stake on both sides of the Atlantic. Leaders stepped forward with a plan that involved shale gas. In late 2012, INEOS signed a 15-year deal with Range Resources to supply ethane from Sunoco’s Marcus Hook complex. The ethane would be produced in western Pa. and piped to Marcus Hook. … Sunoco’s complex also supplies propane for Pa. and many other mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. … In all, Sunoco is in the midst of a $3 billion construction project. There are approximately 300 permanent jobs supporting the Marcus Hook complex. There is an additional 1,000 contractors shuffling in and out each day; and by this summer it is expected to increases to about 1,700 contractors per day. (Maritime Professional Magazine, 2/29/16)
  • With Shale, the “U.S. is on a Path Toward Energy Independence”: Cheniere Energy is loading liquefied natural gas into a tanker at its Louisiana export terminal and may be ready to ship the first shale gas from the U.S. within days, the Coast Guard said. … Cheniere is loading the first vessel that will make cheap shale gas available to the global market. Thanks to a boom in drilling in shale formations, the S. is on a path toward energy independence, an about-face from a decade earlier when Cheniere and others were investing in terminals to import gas. (Bloomberg, 2/23/16)
  • “Natural Gas: A Promising U.S. Export”: The U.S. natural gas industry achieved a new milestone last week as a ship sailed from La. with the first export of gas from America’s abundant shale fields. The tanker Asia Vision set off for Brazil with LNG from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal, marking a stunning reversal in LNG trade. … Just 10 years ago, Cheniere and other U.S. companies were pushing ahead with plans to import LNG, given what was then seen as a looming shortage of gas in this country. The event attracted widespread attention, especially in the Gulf Coast region, where several LNG export facilities are under construction, promising outlets for the burgeoning supplies of shale gas in the U.S. and new jobs at a time when the oil and gas industry is otherwise struggling from low prices for the commodities. (USA Today column, 2/28/16)
  • Appalachian Natural Gas Benefits Regional, Global Consumers: “It’s official: The natural gas flowing out of America’s shale formations is now available to the world,” Bloomberg News reported last week. … While it is unclear whether the tanker that left a newly refurbished export terminal near the Texas-Louisiana border carried natural gas from Appalachia, it is clear that Appalachian natural gas can find markets not just in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, but around the world. The Sabine Pass terminal is a testament to the dramatic shift in the U.S. gas market over the past decade. (Gazette-Mail editorial, 2/29/16)

Consumer, Small Business Energy Savings

  • Small Businesses Benefit from Affordable, Local Natural Gas Production: It costs less to turn on the ovens at 5 Generation Bakers, allowing owner Scott Baker to do more with them. The McKees Rocks company, which makes frozen breads under the Jenny Lee brand name, saw its natural gas costs decline 4.5% to $21,400 in 2015 from the previous year. “That decline is pretty significant given that production is up 10%,” said Baker, who added another shift to the 38-employee company last year. As natural gas costs hit multi-year lows nationwide because of increased production, businesses and other large users stand to reap the biggest benefits. Commercial customers in the Pittsburgh region expect their long-term savings to be more significant than what they’re seeing now, especially for small businesses, offsetting other rising business costs. … The 14 universities that are part of Pa.’s State System of Higher Education paid $11.2 million for 1.8 million in thousand cubic feet of natural gas in 2015, compared to $12.9 million spent for 1.4 million in thousand cubic feet in 2010. … Priory Hospitality Group’s natural gas costs for its banquet facility and adjacent hotel in 2015 were $24,779, which is 15.5% less than in 2014. At its bakery, natural gas costs dropped 30%from the year before, to $5,100 in 2015. (Tribune-Review, 2/27/16)
  • Abundant Natural Gas Delivers Consumer Savings: Natural gas users in Northeast Pa. will continue to see gas bills decline. UGI announced that the continued drop of energy prices will result in an average bill dropping 5.3%, to $72.67 per month, for the household using 8.5 thousand cubic feet of gas. The company announced customers’ purchased gas cost rate starting today fell 13%to $2.72 per thousand cubic feet of gas, the lowest level for UGI and its predecessor in at least 16 years. The abundance of locally obtained shale gas, which now accounts for 90%of gas used by UGI customers, helped keep prices down, the company said. (Times-Tribune, 3/1/16)
  • Locally Produced Natural Gas Key to Pa. Ski Resort’s Expansion: An outdoor water park proposed for Blue Mountain Ski Resort would result in $30 million in local construction, 22 full-time and 692 part-time jobs, but it all depends on the PennEast pipeline, says a letter resort officials submitted in favor of the natural gas project. “The PennEast Pipeline is vital to our expansion,” Blue Mountain officials wrote in their letter submitted to FERC on Tuesday. … Summit Splash water park would rely on a natural gas powered plant installed at the top of Blue Mountain. The plant is projected to reduce Blue Mountain’s electric bill by an estimated 25%. … Barbara Green, president of Blue Mountain, said on Tuesday evening that she sees the pipeline, not only as a way to improve her business, but also as a “catalyst to create jobs” and improve the local economy. (Morning Call, 2/24/16)
  • “Pa. Natural Gas Providing Lower Fuel Prices for All”: Lower prices make everyone’s life easier in the checkbook, but what not everyone realizes is that this good news relates back to natural gas drilling in Pa. and the pipelines it takes to get the gas to all of us. The better we are at producing natural gas, the more energy-independent we are as a nation and the lower energy prices will go. … Maybe as gas prices fall and heating gets more affordable, community leaders and elected officials will better understand why supporting things like safe pipelines and a less tax-and-regulatory environment makes sense. These days, even people who don’t have wells or leases on their land have more money in their pockets. That’s good news for all of us. (Times-Leader letter, 2/27/16)

The safe, well-regulated development of natural gas continues to create economic opportunities and environmental benefits. That’s why we need common sense policies that encourage more local job creation and investment. For more facts and information, visit our blog and connect with the MSC on Facebook and Twitter.