Manufacturing is without question an energy-intensive industry. And as more natural gas is safely produced and brought to market, manufacturers – along with consumers – are seeing enormous benefits. Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, recently told The Oklahoman that energy independence could also make the U.S. more competitive globally by lowering manufacturing costs. “By pursuing even more domestic energy production, we can be increasing that cost advantage and making the U.S. the best place in the world to manufacture,” Eisenberg said. From steel and plastics to fertilizers, and especially the chemical industry, affordable, clean-burning natural gas is spurring a manufacturing renaissance in the United States.
Recently, Governor Tom Corbett’s manufacturing council issued a set of recommendations aimed bolstering Pennsylvania’s manufacturing base. Here are its key recommendations specific to natural gas:
Domestic energy production poses a unique multi-faceted opportunity for many Pennsylvania manufacturers. In particular, the shale gas plays have created a unique series of new market opportunities that may provide more growth potential than just a stable low-cost energy. Local sources of raw materials for plastics and petrochemical related industries, and a growing new customer base of energy related industries provide opportunities for manufacturers from nearly all industries. Manufacturers are also the largest consumers of energy, which accounts for one of, and in some cases the, largest operating expenses. The energy used in manufacturing processes is used to produce products that fuel economic growth and job creation.
Here is some additional information about the positive impact responsible American natural gas development is having on manufacturing:
PricewaterhouseCoopers Study: “Shale gas Reshaping the US chemicals industry” (10/12)
PricewaterhouseCoopers Study: “Shale Gas: A renaissance in US manufacturing” (12/11)
The Economist: The impact of American shale gas development is “so dramatic that it could boost a manufacturing renaissance” (7/14/12)
Release: Economists: The Shale Gas Revolution is Revitalizing America’s Manufacturing Economy (6/1/12)