Ohio shale gas can help bring pace of U.S. manufacturing to a full gallop

Ohio can serve as a model for the nation by leveraging its abundant and affordable supplies of shale gas to reduce energy costs and create a competitive advantage for the state’s manufacturers, ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley told members of the Ohio House of Representatives during a 21st Century Manufacturing Task Force hearing on Thursday.

Following a tour of a DuPont facility in Circleville, Ohio, alongside Tom Shepherd, chairman and CEO of Shepherd Chemical Company, Dooley explained to Task Force Chairman Kurt Schuring (R-Canton) that Ohio is well-positioned to help spur a manufacturing renaissance in the Buckeye State and across America, thanks to the state’s abundant shale gas supply:

Here in Ohio, you have access to approximately 15.7 trillion cubic feet of Utica shale gas – more than enough to jump start economic growth in your state, invigorate Ohio’s industrial base and create thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs for local residents.

Why Ohio?

Low-cost ethane from natural gas gives U.S. chemical manufacturers an immense cost advantage over foreign competitors that rely on much more expensive oil-based feedstock to create their everyday products. A strong chemical industry boosts the entire economy because it is the foundation of America’s manufacturing sector. And that includes chemical manufacturing in Ohio.

Located in the heart of industrial America, Ohio sits on roughly 15 trillion cubic feet of Utica Shale gas. It is already the seventh-largest chemical-producing state in the nation, with more than 40,000 chemistry industry employees helping to generate up $32 billion in state revenue. But there’s much more untapped potential.

An ACC study found that a new petrochemical plant in Ohio would generate $7.5 billion in chemical industry output in the state, $1 billion in Ohio wages, $169 million in state tax revenue and 17,000 Ohio jobs in chemistry and supplier industries. The ripple effect from such an investment could create tens of thousands of other manufacturing jobs that are supported by the chemical industry.

Figures like this herald an economic revival in Ohio — and the nation. But we have to work together to ensure we get the policies right, Dooley noted:

A U.S. manufacturing renaissance has only just begun … A comprehensive energy strategy that maximizes the benefits of this immense natural gas supply, while keeping natural gas markets stable and protecting the environment, would be transformative for our industry. We’re already seeing the first signs of the bright future that lies ahead if our country can get these policies right.

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