Pennsylvanians have read and heard about the need to expand natural gas infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth, but what can sometimes be lost in the public hearings and coverage of this debate is an answer to the very central question of why? Why is natural gas infrastructure the key to realizing shale’s full economic and environmental opportunities?
In a joint Post-Gazette column, MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer and IUOE Local 66’s Jim Kunz sought to answer that critical question of why it’s more important than ever to safely expand the Commonwealth’s natural gas infrastructure network:
“Natural gas pipelines — which Pennsylvania’s hardworking and highly skilled building trade union members safely construct — are the cornerstone to realizing shale’s economic and environmental benefits. … Safely developing and modernizing Pennsylvania’s natural gas infrastructure network — made possible by local laborers and an industry that shares the commitment for a more prosperous future — will ensure that our air will continue to improve, that job opportunities will be there for those seeking work and that our nation will further reduce its dependence on unstable and often unfriendly regions of the world to meet our growing energy demands.”
For Pennsylvania’s economy and environment to continue to benefit from shale’s opportunity, we must commit to further responsible development, transportation, and use of our abundant natural gas resources.
Here’s what they’re saying:
- Maintain America’s Energy Lead: U.S. liquefied natural gas exports are reshaping the global energy landscape. As U.S. LNG cargoes make their way to Europe, South America, the Middle East and East Asia, once hard and fast assumptions about the future trade of LNG have been turned upside down. As a result, we are only just beginning to understand the benefits afforded by America’s shale revolution and our emergence as the world’s largest natural gas producer. Not so long ago, the U.S. was expected to rival Japan as the world’s largest importer of LNG. Russia, Iran and Qatar seemed so dominant in the international natural gas marketplace, it was feared they might form an LNG cartel along the lines of OPEC. Those fears have been put soundly to bed by the amazing shale revolution. Instead of being a major LNG importer, the U.S. is on track to become one of the world’s largest exporters. … This development is tremendously important for the U.S. economy and our commitment to global trade as well as the energy security of our allies. … U.S. leadership in the world’s LNG marketplace is clearly in our national interest. We have in our hands the remarkable prospect to help reshape and guide global energy markets for decades to come. Policymakers should recognize the historic opportunity America now has due to an abundance of shale resources that have only recently become recoverable. (U.S. News & World Report column, 9/8/16)
- Clean-Burning Compressed Natural Gas Strengthens Pa. Air Quality: A new compressed natural gas fueling station at CamTran’s 502 Maple Ave. operations center will be the first of 29 CNG stations at transit systems across the state. “It is going to save transit agencies operating funds over time and help to keep their budgets stable over time,” Toby Fauver of PennDOT’s said. “That’s one of the things we are hoping for, as well as stabilizing the environment in the area for air quality.” … Barbin said CamTran and its CNG station represent one of four tools to improve the region. (Tribune-Democrat, 9/8/16)
- CNG “Gives Average Citizens a Chance to be Green”: Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority opened its new CNG fueling station Wednesday in Kenmore, with a site tour and demonstration. … Although the fuel economy is comparable, emissions are significantly lower with natural gas, said Bob Jarvis, service tech for Clean Energy Fuels. … “This gives average citizens a chance to be green if they would like to, ” [said Akron METRO Executive Director Richard Enty]… Of Akron METRO’s 237-vehicle fleet, 38 percent is natural gas-fueled. … Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro said the environmental benefits of natural gas are exciting. “We’re in Kenmore and we’re looking at technology from the future,” she said. “Our METRO is ahead of the curve. That makes us forward thinking and forward moving.” (Plain Dealer, 9/1/16)
STRENGTHENS COMMUNITIES; CREATES JOBS
- Marcellus Shale Coalition donates $1.1M to Junior Achievement: The Marcellus Shale Coalition on Tuesday donated $1.1 million to Junior Achievement’s Careers in Energy program. The program, created in 2011, has impacted more than 5,000 students since its launch. The curriculum explores the workforce and the educational, economic and environmental impacts of the industry within the state. … When presenting the donation MSC’s Dave Spigelmyer addressed a room of 14 Chartiers-Houston Junior/Senior High School freshman about the importance of energy and natural gas in their everyday lives. “We like students just like you to enter our workforce,” Spigelmyer said. “It’s in your town; you’re closer than anyone else.” (Business Times, 9/6/16)
- Natural Gas Pipelines Rely on American Steel: Pennsylvania’s shale boom has produced a great example of collaboration between America’s energy and manufacturing industries, as well as an opportunity to support American manufacturing jobs. Here’s how: All 350 miles of the proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline project’s new 20-inch-plus pipe will be bought from and rolled by American steel plants — all of which are represented by the United Steelworkers. That’s 75,000 tons of steel — and a lot of man hours. In fact, I would call the massive American-made investments in both the Mariner East 1 and 2 projects one of the strongest behind-the-scenes accomplishments of the Pennsylvania Steel Alliance. According to Econsult Solutions, these projects will support 30,000 jobs along their routes during construction. Marcellus shale has positioned Pennsylvania as the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., trailing only Texas. (Tribune-Review letter, 9/1/16)
- Shale Development Provides “Huge” Boost to Manufacturing: Terms like ethane, ethylene, cracker and ammonia don’t make for a sexy headline. But all are keywords linked to a resurgence of domestic chemicals manufacturing might. It is a boom so broad that it is altering the global competitive landscape and luring a large segment of the chemicals trades back to U.S. shores. Companies are spending more than $170 billion on at least 268 manufacturing projects, according to the American Chemistry Council. Some 60% of that spending is direct foreign investment. … The root cause driving this industrial bonanza: natural gas from shale rock. Shale gas and its associated liquids provide basic raw materials for plastics, fertilizers and a host of other chemical products. The biggest piece of that picture is ethane, used to create ethylene — the starting point for most plastics. … Just north of Pittsburgh, Shell Chemical, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, is building a $6 billion ethylene refinery — called a cracker, because it breaks down or “cracks” ethane molecules to create ethylene. Thailand’s PTT Global is in the early engineering phases of a similar, $5 billion project in eastern Ohio. … “It’s huge — at least in western Pennsylvania where there is not a lot of what I would call big chemical industry,” said Andrew Gellman, a professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. … Shell chose its Pennsylvania location partly because it provides immediate access to the liquids-rich natural gas found in the Utica and Marcellus shale fields. But it also places the facility along the Ohio River, a major transport corridor, and precisely in the center of a circle reaching from Tennessee to New England. Shell says the region within that circle generates 70% of North American polyethylene demand. (Investor’s Business Daily, 9/2/16)