What They’re Saying: The United States “Shale Overcome”

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Through the safe, tightly-regulated development of America’s abundant natural gas resources, major shifts – both nationally and internationally – are taking place. These positive changes – ranging from strengthened American energy security, economic competitiveness and significant consumer savings – cannot be denied. Most importantly, this critical progress is taking place all while protecting our environment. Here’s what they’re saying about the “historic transformation happening before our eyes”:

  • GOOD-PAYING AMERICAN JOBS. Of all the places that America’s new jobs are, the emerging energy business, directly or indirectly, might be responsible for more of them than almost anything else. Since 2002, the exploration of natural gas deposits embedded in shale…has created more than 1 million jobs, says Moody’s Analytics economist Chris Lafakis. That’s out of 2.7 million the whole country created. “It’s really huge,” Lafakis says. “And the jobs pay very well.” Jobs directly in the oil and gas extraction business pay an average of just under $150,000 a year, Lafakis says — almost exactly three times the national average. … While oil and gas deposits are concentrated in a handful of places, more than 30 states saw oil and gas support employment, including suppliers and service companies that work with energy companies, rise at least 50% in the past decade, Moody’s says. … Rising U.S. energy production also is creating manufacturing jobs for everything from steel for piping to rail cars. Among the biggest: a $650 million, 350-job plant by French tubing manufacturer Vallourec to make products for shale drilling in Youngstown, Ohio, and a planned natural gas cracking plant outside Pittsburgh that could add 10,000 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent positions at Shell, if it goes forward. … “These are good, decent, honorable jobs,” [Joey] Hall said. “People can and do leave satisfied and provide for their families.” (USA Today, 10/1/12)
  • AN AMERICAN MANUFACTURING RENEWAL. They have a new motto these days down in Marcus Hook. We Shale Overcome. … The site will be reborn as a facility to process material from the state’s booming Marcellus Shale business. Specifically, ethane and propane will be piped into the site. In the short term, it means 450 construction jobs. In the long run, it will mean full-time jobs at the facility to be operated by Sunoco Logistics. … Marcus Hook will call it something else: The future. Marcellus Shale is going to be a part of this state’s economy for a long time. One of the things Gov. Tom Corbett has said many times is his hope that the economic benefits of Marcellus Shale could be spread throughout the state. This project will go a long way toward that goal. Sunoco Logistics plans to reverse the flow from Sunoco’s pipeline to Delmont, Pa., and receive 70,000 barrels of natural gas a day at Macus Hook. The company will build facilities at the Marcus Hook site to process, store, chill and distribute propane to U.S. and international markets. Sunoco already has a partner, Range Resources Corp., that has a partner for the ethane that will be loaded onto ships at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook docks. … We Shale Overcome, indeed. (Delaware Co. Times editorial, 9/29/12)
  • MUCH-NEEDED CONSUMER SAVINGS. Falling natural gas prices cut the average monthly home heating bill by $60 to $100 in the Pittsburgh area during the past three years, and experts predict more savings this year. The state Public Utility Commission said average bills from the region’s four biggest utilities dropped by 30 to 41 percent in that period. Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc. reported the lowest bills: $141.66 a month for average consumption, estimated at 15,000 cubic feet. … Nearly all the savings came from declines in the price of gas, which dropped by more than half on U.S. markets after 2008 as shale-gas drilling took off, federal data show. … Columbia, Equitable Gas Co., Peoples Natural Gas Co. and Peoples TWP LLC submit rates on Friday for PUC approval. They’ll likely charge even less this year, because the price they pay for gas dropped 66 cents, to $3.17 per unit since 2011. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/28/12). Customers of the region’s three natural gas utilities will all see lower rates for the next three months. The utilities — Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania Inc., Peoples Natural Gas Co. and Equitable Gas Co. — all posted fourth-quarter rates below 2011 levels that will lead to a lower monthly bill for the average customer. Natural gas costs have dropped in the region over the past year due to unseasonably warm weather and a market flush with gas extracted from formations like the Marcellus Shale that underlies most of Western Pennsylvania. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/29/12)
  • BOLSTERING AMERICAN SECURITY, COMPETITIVENESS. The Kremlin is watching, European nations are rebelling, and some suspect Moscow is secretly bankrolling a campaign to derail the West’s strategic plans. It’s not some Cold War movie; it’s about the U.S. boom in natural gas drilling, and the political implications are enormous. Like falling dominoes, the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is shaking up world energy markets from Washington to Moscow to Beijing. Some predict what was once unthinkable: that the U.S. won’t need to import natural gas in the near future, and that Russia could be the big loser. … The story began to unfold a few years ago, as advances in drilling opened up vast reserves of gas buried in deep shale rock, such as the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania and the Barnett, in Texas. Experts had been predicting that the U.S. was running out of natural gas, but then shale gas began to flood the market, and prices plunged. (Associated Press, 9/30/12)

Have questions about responsible, job-creating American natural gas development? Please visit LearnAboutShale.org. We hope to hear from you.

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