Natural gas from shale deposits could be a game changer for the domestic chemistry industry. Not only would an abundant supply of natural gas create an energy and feedstock cost advantage over our global competitors, it would benefit those outside our industry as well.
In a recent report, Shale Gas and New Petrochemicals Investment: Benefits for the Economy, Jobs and US Manufacturing, ACC described a tremendous opportunity for shale gas to strengthen U.S. manufacturing, boost economic output and create jobs.
Below, Robert Bryce with the Wall Street Journal explains just how critical shale gas is to a domestic manufacturing revival.
Photo via Royal Dutch Shell on Flickr
America needs the shale revolution
The drilling boom is the best U.S. energy news in generations and is crucial for reviving domestic manufacturing
The U.S. is on the verge of an industrial renaissance if—and it’s a big if—policy makers don’t foul it up by restricting the ability of drillers to use the technology that’s making a renaissance possible: hydraulic fracturing.
The shale drilling boom now underway in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and other states is already creating jobs, slashing natural-gas prices, and spurring billions of dollars of investment in new production capacity for critical commodities like steel and petrochemicals. Better yet, it’s spurring a huge increase in domestic oil production, which has been falling steadily since the 1970s.
Despite the myriad benefits of the low-cost hydrocarbons that are now being produced thanks to hydraulic fracturing, the media, environmental groups and politicians are hyping the possible dangers of the process, which uses high-pressure pumps to force water, sand and chemicals into shale formations. Doing so fractures the formation and allows the extraction of natural gas or petroleum.
Although hydraulic fracturing has been used more than one million times in the U.S. over the past 60 years, environmental activists are hoping to ban the process or have it regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Opponents claim the process can harm groundwater even though drinking-water aquifers are separated by as much as two miles of impermeable rock from the shales that are being targeted by the fracturing process.