WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a recent op-ed in The Hill newspaper, former Representative Cal Dooley (D-CA), President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, emphasized the important role affordable, domestic shale gas plays in creating jobs among chemical manufacturers.
"What's been missing from nearly every recent 'jobs' plan is a specific mention of one of the most promising developments for new American manufacturing jobs in at least a decade – shale gas," Dooley wrote.
Dooley cited an American Chemistry Council study on shale gas released earlier this year which found that a reasonable increase in natural gas supplies of 25 percent would add nearly 400,000 new jobs in the chemical sector and among suppliers. Additional supplies of natural gas would also boost U.S. petrochemical industry capacity by 25 percent and increase total U.S. economic output by approximately $132 billion.
Dooley also cited specific examples of chemical manufacturers who are now adding jobs thanks to affordable energy from shale gas. The evidence goes beyond numbers churned out by economic models. Dow Chemical has announced plans to build three new manufacturing facilities and restart another idled during the recession. Eastman Chemical has restarted a plant that had been shuttered in recent years. Shell Chemical announced it is considering a new facility in Appalachia to process Marcellus shale gas. Executives from Bayer are in talks with companies interested in building new ethane crackers at its two industrial parks in West Virginia. Other companies, including Occidental Chemical, Chevron Phillips Chemical and LyondellBasell have said they are considering expanding operations in the U.S.
The Hill op-ed also described the role of the chemical industry in driving American exports and easing our nation's trade imbalance. As new supplies of shale gas, have surged, average natural gas prices have plummeted 50 percent from 2005-09, giving U.S. chemical manufacturers an enormous global competitive edge. In 2010, chemical industry exports increased 17 percent, reversing a $100 million trade deficit two years ago into a $3.7 billion surplus in 2010. Plastics exports alone climbed 10 percent last year.
According to Dooley, "There is one thing President Obama can do that is already proven to grow manufacturing jobs - he can commit to support shale gas production and work hard to encourage states to do the same. With 14 million Americans out of work, we need real solutions. Shale gas is one of them."
SOURCE American Chemistry Council