Pennsylvania is “Blessed with Marcellus Shale”

The safe development of clean-burning American natural gas continues to create environmental and economic benefits for the Commonwealth, our nation and our allies abroad. Pennsylvania is absolutely “blessed with Marcellus Shale” natural gas, which is creating small business opportunities, consumer savings and impact tax revenues that benefit families and communities alike.

Here’s what they’re saying:

Revitalizing Greater Philadelphia’s Energy Hub

  • Sunoco Sends First Marcellus Ethane from Marcus Hook to Europe: The JS Ineos Intrepid left Marcus Hook with a load of ethane headed for Norway. … “The loading of the first ethane tanker is another signal that the Mariner East project has begun to fulfill its promise — to link the natural gas industry in western Pa. to the infrastructure that made the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex a cornerstone of the state’s economy, to the benefit of the entire commonwealth,” [Sunoco Logistics spokesman Jeff] Shields said. … “Mariner East 1 is only the start. … The initial expansion of this service with Mariner East 2 will provide nearly four times the capacity, establishing a new petrochemical market in Southeast Pa. that will offer new manufacturing opportunities in and around Marcus Hook, while extending the availability of propane beyond the Delaware Valley to Central Pa. and the Reading area.” The Marcus Hook site employs 150 permanent workers and more than 500 construction workers are on-site every day building four storage tanks to hold butane, propane and ethane. (Del. Co. Daily Times, 3/9/16)
  • “Mariner East Project Has Begun to Fulfill Its Promise”: The first export shipment of Marcellus Shale ethane set sail Wednesday from Sunoco’s Marcus Hook terminal to a petrochemical plant in Norway. … State business and political leaders have promoted the export of ethane as critical to boosting shale-gas development. … Sunoco has committed $2.5 billion to the 300-mile Mariner East pipeline network to transport ethane and other liquid fuels to the Marcus Hook terminal, erected on the site of a former oil refinery. Ineos has spent $1 billion to complete the link between Marcus Hook and Europe by creating a “virtual pipeline” of tankers to ferry ethane across the Atlantic to petrochemical plants in Norway and Scotland. (Phila. Inq. 3/10/16)
  • First ethane shipment from Marcellus heads to Europe: The first international-bound ethane shipment from the Marcellus Shale is headed to Europe. … Part of the ethane came from Range Resources Corp. shale gas and was transported to Marcus Hook via the Sunoco Logistics Mariner East pipeline. … Ethane is the feedstock of petrochemical plants, known as crackers. … “This is an important day for Ineos and Europe. We know that shale gas economics revitalized U.S. manufacturing and for the first time Europe can access this important energy and raw material source too,” said Ineos Chairman and Founder Jim Ratcliffe in a statement. (Pittsburgh Business Times, 3/10/16)
  • National Grange President: Develop Pa.’s Energy Infrastructure: As more gas is produced, more pipelines are necessary to ensure these resources are transported safely to processing facilities and markets. … As the recently elected president of the National Grange and a Pa. resident, I can tell you that pipelines also benefit the agricultural community. … We support projects that strike the right balance between respecting the land and putting it to proper use for the benefit of Pennsylvanians. … Grange delegates adopted a resolution “supporting the construction, renovation, and upgrading of pipelines across Pa. to take advantage of the economic development possibilities, well-paying jobs, and freedom from dependence on foreign oil that Pa.-produced natural gas will bring to our community.” … Pa. must make the necessary investments in pipeline infrastructure to ensure the safe delivery of these resources from Western Pa. to facilities in Southeast Pa., like the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. … These projects will inject an estimated $4.2 billion into the Pa. economy, adding 30,000 jobs during construction and 300 to 400 permanent jobs once operational. (Phila. Inq. column, 3/7/16)
  • American Shale “Breathes New Life into Plastics Industry”: Shale production has breathed new life into the U.S. plastics industry as lower energy costs and increased natural gas liquids have made the U.S. one of the lowest-cost producers globally. … “The shift in competitiveness from shale gas and a renewal of manufacturing in the U.S. offers tremendous opportunities for businesses across the country,” states [American Chemistry Council’s Martha Gilchrist Moore]. “New investment in plastics capacity is expected to generate more than 100,000 jobs in the plastics industry alone over the next decade.” (Penn State, 3/7/16)

Strengthening America’s Geopolitical Might

  • AEI Scholar: Best Days Still Ahead for American Shale Revolution: Revolutionary drilling technologies sparked the great American shale revolution, and the abundance of domestic shale quickly reversed the 36-year decline in U.S. output in only seven years. … After natural gas prices collapsed in 2008 by more than 75%, shale-gas drillers adopted more efficient methods of drilling and extracting shale gas. Since then, natural gas production has increased and drilling rig productivity has grown by leaps and bounds. New gas wells in the Marcellus shale are a case in point. A newly drilled well in February 2014 produced, on average, 3 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. In February of this year, productivity for newly drilled gas wells rose to more than 9 million cubic feet of gas per day. Gas drillers have learned how to produce more with less. … Make no mistake, the shale revolution is here to stay. (IBD column, 3/8/16)
  • S. Energy Revolution Benefits Consumers, Low-Income Families: The average price of natural gas plummeted some 60% between 2008 and 2012 thanks to the fracking boom, and families saved $32 billion in 2012 through lower energy bills, according to Mercator Energy. The poor benefit most, as low-income families must spend more of their earnings on energy bills. (WSJ editorial, 3/7/16)

 “A Clear Environmental Winner”

  • Shale-Related Methane Emissions Continue to Steeply Drop: Shale-related methane emissions continue to steeply drop, thanks to the industry’s widespread use of operational best practices and continuous investments aimed at protecting and enhancing our environment. … According to DEP’s own data, we’ve seen a 13% drop in methane emissions even as gas production increased 50% year over year. … Natural gas has been a clear environmental winner. According to EPA, we are at a 27-year low in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of natural gas being used more readily in power generation. What’s more, natural gas development in Pa. is a tightly regulated practice. … Thanks to greater natural gas usage and development — and the industry’s commitment to protecting and enhancing our environmentair quality for all Pennsylvanians continues to improve. (Post-Gazette letter, 3/8/16)
  • Clean-Burning Natural Gas Powering Pa.’s Future: Invenergy plans to begin construction later this year on the $500 million, natural-gas-fueled 1,500-megawatt power plant. … The company will pay $1 million a year to Jessup beginning in 2018, nearly half of the current borough budget. According to borough solicitor, the borough will realize about $89 million in host payments and taxes over 45 years. There also are broader benefits to the project. It will create hundreds of good-paying temporary construction jobs as the plant is built and 30 or so good permanent jobs. It will help to stabilize the market for Marcellus Shale natural gas, production of which is now a mainstay of Pa.’s economy. It will continue a trend toward cleaner air. (Times-Tribune editorial, 3/9/16)
  • Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas Are “Substantial”: There is perhaps no neater example of the differences between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders than their disagreement on fracking … Ms. Clinton indicated that she would shut down a lot of the fracking that is going on across the country, which goes beyond what would be politically sustainable or environmentally wise. … It’s important to understand the environmental value of burning carefully fracked natural gas … “If leaks of natural gas can be minimized, the [greenhouse gas] benefits of this transformation would be substantial…” noted an evenhanded 2014 fracking assessment published in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources. There are also serious ambient air pollution benefits, including a reduction in harmful ozone, mercury and particulate pollution. … Despite all this, when it came time for Mr. Sanders to address the issue Sunday, he said, “…No, I do not support fracking” … A draft assessment by the EPA released in 2015 said it found no evidence of ‘widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the U.S. … As is also often the case, Mr. Sanders’s position is utterly unrealistic. (Washington Post Editorial, 3/8/16)

A “Godsend” to Communities

  • Counties Benefit from State’s Natural Gas Impact Tax: Diversification may be the key to economic success for Westmoreland, Fayette and Washington counties, but officials from those counties said they’re not giving up on the Marcellus Shale — a lucrative source of income and jobs that’s taken a hit recently because of declining natural gas prices. Unlike the steel industry that collapsed in the 1980s and 1990s, the Marcellus industry will rebound. … “Natural gas will come back,” Washington Co. commissioner Larry Maggi said. … “We’re seeing companies that want to be in Southwestern Pa. to be close to cheap energy.” Those companies have been a boon to municipalities since the communities began collecting impact fees on drilling operations in 2012. Washington received $6.5 million, Westmoreland $1.5 million and Fayette $1.3 million in impact fees in 2014, according to the latest PUC. (Tribune-Review, 3/8/16)
  • “Higher Energy Tax Will Cost Pa. Jobs”: I’m disappointed that Gov. Wolf has decided once again to pursue plans for even higher energy taxes, when it’s clear that such misguided, dangerous proposals will cost jobs and hurt our economy. Natural gas development has been a godsend for our communities. … As more pipelines are laid — creating more jobs, especially for our region’s unions — more of us will see the energy savings and benefits of switching to clean, affordable, reliable and locally sourced natural gas. While we’ve seen a slowdown in the industry that is having an impact on midsized businesses like mine, it would be a terrible mistake for our leaders to increase Pa.’s energy tax rate. (Lancaster Online letter, 3/3/16)
  • Fracking Critical to Midwest: Fracking has almost single-handedly revived parts of the industrial Midwest that faced economic disaster, and helped the U.S. achieve significant energy independence. It’s also saved American consumers billions of dollars in energy costs. … The fracking revolution has caused natural gas prices to drop 47% compared to what the price would have been prior to the fracking boom in 2013, according to the Brookings Institution. The same report found gas bills have dropped up to $200 per year for households that use natural gas. Michigan and Ohio consumers have enjoyed even higher savings of $259 per person per year. And more broadly, all types of energy consumers—commercial, industrial and electric power consumers—experienced economic gains of $74 billion per year from fracking. (Detroit News editorial, 3/9/16)

With “shale drillers dramatically scaling back operations” and the “U.S. rig count nearing all-time lows”, there couldn’t be a worse time for even higher energy taxes that would cost good-paying local jobs and reduce much-needed investments.