U.S. Energy Secretary Tours Ethane Cracker Facility, “The Future of the American Economy”

U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette called the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex under construction in Beaver County the “future of the American economy” following a meeting and location tour yesterday.

The nation’s top energy policy leader discussed how the manufacturing facility – which employs more than 7,000 in the union construction trades – is critical to turning abundant natural gas liquids into the building blocks for everyday goods, essential products, and life-saving materials.

“This is where it all starts,” Brouillette said. “With facilities and infrastructure just like this one. It is so critical, not only to western Pennsylvania or the state of Pennsylvania, but the country and the world.”

The secretary’s first visit to the facility came a few days after a DC-based round-table summit featuring industry leaders and top White House policy to discuss the importance of natural gas to America’s economic progress, environmental gains, and national security.

Here are three key takeaways from the Department of Energy’s Natural Gas Summit:

Expanding Energy Infrastructure and Pipeline Capacity

The United States has enough resources to reliably supply the country with clean, affordable energy using domestically-produced natural gas, yet some politicians backed by activist groups are pushing extreme climate policies and encouraging regulators to deny key permits to build critical intrastate pipelines.

“I think what is challenging the industry, is an infrastructure problem. We need more pipelines,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette. “We have to improve our permitting processes so that we can allow this infrastructure to be build more quickly, more efficiently.”

Pipelines – predominately built by local skilled union tradesmen and women – are the safest, most efficient means of transporting energy.

Opposition to pipelines and similar types of “energy blockades” not only pose a threat to American energy security, as a lack of infrastructure forces states to rely on foreign imports, but consumers overwhelmingly bear the burden of higher electricity bills and supply shortages.

“We have the largest shale basin in the world in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. We have to be able to move our product across the country and world,” PennEnergy Resources’ Chairman and CEO, Richard Weber, said at the summit. “If you really cared about the environment, you would embrace natural gas,” Weber concluded.

A Global Demand for Natural Gas

Market analysts project long-term demand growth for natural gas at a global scale as more countries view the fuel as an affordable, reliable climate solution.

That means for the United States, the world’s largest natural gas producer, we can tap our domestic resources – creating more jobs and boosting tax revenue – to reduce worldwide energy poverty and wean our allies off Russia-produced energy.

 “The demand for natural gas continues to increase at a rate that is simply astounding,” Secretary Brouillette detailed:

Our exports out of the United States will supply roughly 1/5th of the world’s global demand. This year – 2020 – will be the all-time high for natural gas exports from the United States.”… When the United States exports energy, it exports freedom. We stand for the right of all nations to chart their own energy, economic, and geopolitical course.”

MSC’s Spigelmyer joined the natural gas summit last week, sharing insights about the opportunities and challenges facing producers in the Appalachian basin.

“U.S. shale development has helped our country progress from a dangerous reliance on other nations for our energy supply to become a world leader in energy development and a net energy exporter. As a result, Americans and our allies abroad have access to more affordable, reliable power sources and a reduced dependence on foreign energy suppliers while making our nation stronger and more secure.”

Natural Gas Driving America’s Post Pandemic-Recovery

Natural gas has made the United States an energy leader in the world today, and Secretary Brouillette has a positive outlook for the future

“I just must say it’s a very exciting time to be in the natural gas business. We are looking at natural gas usage exploding all around the world as we move past the pandemic. And the United States is going to be a major player.”

Thanks to safe, responsible natural gas development, communities across Pennsylvania are realizing the shared economic lift.

“Natural gas is bringing dignity back to the American worker as they find meaningful work that allows them to support their families and give their children a better way of life,” Brouillette wrote on Twitter. “All this success means America is now energy independent. Which means that, for the first time perhaps ever, we can help our allies become energy independent as well.”