The White House celebration this week of American energy dominance provides an opportunity to take stock in the many ways Pennsylvania’s abundant and growing supply of clean-burning natural gas is delivering benefits at home and abroad.
Here are five examples of how the economic and environmental benefits of American natural gas are driving our revived energy dominance:
- Manufacturing Revival As the Wall Street Journal reports, increased production of plastics represents a “staggering impact” of America’s shale revolution. Access to abundant, low-cost natural gas liquids – a critical feedstock, and expense, in the plastics manufacturing process – is prompting billions of dollars in investments by U.S. petrochemical manufacturers. According to the American Chemistry Council, $185 billion in petrochemical projects are in construction or planning throughout the country. Considering that the ethane cracker facility in Beaver County will support 6,000 construction and 600 permanent jobs, Appalachian workforce opportunities tied to energy – including for many union members – remain bright.
- “Natural Gas Industry a Boon For Jobs” Pennsylvania energy production supports 178,000 good-paying, family supporting jobs throughout the Commonwealth, according to an ICF economic analysis released this week. In fact, the authors conclude that safe, responsible natural gas development has contributed $24.5 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy.
- American Energy Security The United States, the world’s largest producer of petroleum and natural gas – according to federal Energy Department data – is on a path to becoming a net exporter of natural gas by next year. As three of President Trump’s Cabinet members noted in a Washington Times column this week, “An energy-dominant America means a self-reliant and secure nation, free from the geopolitical turmoil of other nations that seek to use energy as an economic weapon.”
- Geopolitical Strength The United States can increasingly use its growing production to spread its global leadership and influence, particularly through exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to our allies around the world. Such exports “will help integrate markets, diversify supplies, and enhance US and global energy security by adding to the flexibility and connectivity of global gas markets,” according to a recent report from the Atlantic Council. The recent arrival of the first U.S. tanker carrying LNG to Poland marked “a historic moment that improves the region’s energy security,” according to The Associated Press, and an agreement struck this week for U.S. shipments to Korea should be “just the beginning of a long and productive relationship,” UPI reported.
- Environmental Progress Our growing domestic production of natural gas “enabled the United States to achieve the largest drop in carbon emissions of all countries in 2016,” the Department of Energy said this month. American energy dominance translates to world leadership in improving air quality. What’s more, as natural gas production increases, methane emissions decrease. In Pennsylvania alone, natural gas production has risen 380 percent while methane emissions have fell 13 percent between 2011 and 2016.