ACC: Manufacturing Investment Linked to Shale Gas Reaches $164 Billion
This week, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) made a remarkable announcement regarding the chemical industry’s investments in natural gas projects across the United States. ACC Senior Director of Energy Policy, Owen Kean, said that investment due to cheap and plentiful shale gas has reached $164 billion, calling it a turnaround for an industry that has struggled in recent memory:
“U.S. chemical manufacturers rely on natural gas for heat and power, and it contains ethane, an NGL that serves as our main feedstock…Dramatic supply growth has had an equally dramatic impact on U.S. natural gas prices. It’s a stunning reversal of fortune from just a few years ago, when the chemical industry was losing market share – and jobs – to competitors abroad.” (emphasis added)
ACC’s analysis into the relationship between the chemical industry and natural gas development found that its $164 billion investment could lead to $105 billion per year in new chemical industry output, which would help create 738,000 new permanent jobs by 2023. Much of the industry’s investment was tailored towards export markets, which could help to restore the trade balance in the United States.
Kean stressed the fact that the potential of the industry would be affected by the buildup of the infrastructure needed for it to continue to grow:
“We need the right regulatory and policy approaches in order to fully realize the potential of shale gas as an engine of manufacturing growth… Policymakers must avoid unreasonable restrictions on oil and gas production on public lands; keep oversight of production on private lands in the hands of the states; and expedite the construction and permitting of infrastructure, such as pipelines, needed to move natural gas and NGLs to market.”
The economic benefits of shale gas continue to stretch beyond the oil and gas industry. The U.S. chemical industry has reached new heights in success thanks to investments in clean natural gas. American consumers are benefitting from lower natural gas prices, and our economy is getting a boost in jobs and economic output.