COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bountiful supplies of natural gas from shale could jumpstart economic growth in Ohio, invigorate its industrial base and create thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs in the state, American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Cal Dooley said today at the Ohio Governor's 21st Century Energy and Economic Summit. Dooley moderated a panel on the impact of the Marcellus and Utica shales on the Ohio economy and midstream, downstream, and feedstock opportunities.
Access to untapped supplies of natural gas is one of the most important domestic energy developments in 50 years. One-third of U.S. natural gas reserves are comprised of shale gas, including 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas just from Ohio's share of the Utica Shale. These natural gas supplies were almost impossible to extract just five years ago. "Shale gas is a game-changer for the chemistry industry — and Ohio," Dooley said.
Given its enormous shale gas resources, Ohio, with 42,000 people employed in the chemical industry, could emerge as a prime location for new petrochemical facilities that rely on ethane from natural gas as a feedstock for manufacturing. A recent ACC study found that a new petrochemical plant in Ohio would generate $7.5 billion in chemical industry output in the state, 17,000 Ohio jobs in chemistry and supplier industries, $1 billion in Ohio wages and $169 million in state tax revenue, Dooley said.
New and affordable supplies of natural gas could fuel Ohio's and America's job engines. Between 1999 and 2005, U.S. natural gas prices quadrupled, and U.S. manufacturers shed more than 5.5 million jobs. More than 140,000 of those jobs were in the domestic chemical industry, which uses natural gas not only for heat and power but as a raw material for chemistry in thousands of products Americans use every day.
The discovery of shale gas supplies reversed this downward trend and is encouraging U.S. petrochemical investment and growth. As new supplies of shale gas surged, natural gas prices dropped by half from 2005-2009, and manufacturers benefited enormously. "The availability of abundant, low-cost natural gas is helping to revitalize several industries, including petrochemicals, leading to several billions of dollars of new investment in domestic industrial operations that would not have been anticipated half a decade ago," the National Petroleum Council stated in a September 15 report.
Natural gas from shale is transforming the chemical industry's international competitiveness. Despite the dismal economy in 2010, chemistry-industry exports increased 15 percent, turning the balance of trade from a $140 million deficit two years ago into a $4.6 billion surplus.
ACC's national report attests to the benefits of shale gas for domestic chemistry and the broader U.S. manufacturing sector. It found that reasonable increases in shale gas production would result in nearly 400,000 new jobs in the chemical sector and supplier industries, more than $132 billion in U.S. economic output and nearly $4.4 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue annually, Dooley said.
Dooley also emphasized that the full potential of shale gas will only be realized with sound regulatory policies that allow robust production in an environmentally responsible manner.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $720 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is one of the nation's largest exporters, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
SOURCE American Chemistry Council