Shell Cracker to the Rescue – Saving the Erie, PA Plastics Industry

The benefits of the mighty Shell ethane cracker now under construction in Beaver County, PA just keep multiplying. In April MDN brought you news that Penn State Behrend (in Erie County) had been tapped by the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to be the “lead partner” with a $250,000 grant for developing business and market opportunities for the state related to the cracker (see Penn State to Help Create New Biz Opportunities from Shell Cracker). Erie County, where Behrend is located, is certainly not next door to the cracker. It’s two hours away! There are several other Penn State campuses closer to the cracker. So why was Behrend selected? In a word, plastics. “The strength of Erie’s plastics industry and the success of Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering, which offers one of only six accredited U.S. plastics undergraduate programs, makes Erie of particular interest to DCED.” A new article says that the cracker will not only preserve the 4,300 plastics-related jobs in and around Erie, there’s reason to believe the plastics industry in Erie will “grow larger and stronger” because of the two-hours-away cracker. Again we ask the question, Why? Answer: Because buying plastics pellets from the Shell cracker two hours away is a whole lot cheaper (due to shipping costs) than buying plastics pellets from the Gulf Coast, as happens now. One would be justified in saying, Shell cracker to the rescue!…
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Want a Great Job in the M-U Industry? Take a FREE Pipeline Class

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) continues to offer its popular 100% free training program for those interested in a career building pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region. Starting salaries often exceed $40,000 per year, and a six-figure income is attainable for employees with time and experience. Hey, where do we sign up! Get this: Companies supporting the GTI program have told GTI they anticipate hiring 1,100+ workers over the next two years. And that comes from an informal survey of just 11 (of the many) companies working and hiring in the region. There’s no excuse. If you want a high-paying job, get the 4-week training and get yourself to work. Because of ongoing construction programs within the utility and pipeline industry, and because of aging workforce retirements, the M-U pipeline industry has an acute need for reliable gas pipeline workers. Below are details of how to enroll for FREE in this valuable training course–a course worth $3,500…
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Oil & Gas Workers Make Highest Average Paychecks in U.S.

Oil and gas is back, and back in a big way. During the downturn in 2015-2016, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs in the shale industry when companies like Chesapeake Energy, Halliburton and others laid off thousands at a time. Our industry is a boom and bust industry, there’s no denying it. The work is there, until it isn’t. Last year our industry began to turn around once again. These days, workers are once again in high demand. If you’re a truck driver in Texas making under six figures, you’re not working in the shale industry (see WSJ story: Hot commodity in the shale boom: truckers). Researchers at Bloomberg (yes, left-leaning Bloomberg) are reporting that of all the industries in the U.S., those working in “energy” (including oil and gas) now make the highest average salaries of any industry. The median pay for energy workers last year was $123,000! If you’re looking for work, or looking to change careers, now is the time to check out the shale industry…
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Shell Cracker Advertises First 40 Permanent Production Jobs

Although Shell has hired a few permanent workers for its mighty $6 billion ethane cracker complex currently under construction in Monaca (Beaver County), PA, the company has just (for the first time) posted a job notification for bulk hiring of permanent positions. The job notice, posted on the BrassRing HR website, provides a detailed job description for “Shell Production Operators” in Monaca–40 of them. The job includes, “monitoring, controlling, starting and stopping equipment (such as furnaces, pumps, compressors, etc.), conducting activities that pertain to unit operation, and taking corrective action when necessary to ensure that all unit conditions and operations are in compliance with safety, environmental, and operating policies and procedures.” In order to qualify, prospects must jump through a several hoops (mechanical aptitude tests). If selected, candidates will go through extensive training from now until the plant opens some 2-3 years from now. Here’s the deets, including the full job description…
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PA Agency Seeks to Force Drillers to Hire from State-Approved List

How do you prove you aren’t biased, racist, chauvinist, etc.? That is, how can you prove a negative? You can’t. But that doesn’t stop the radical left from trying to make you do it. Here’s another question: Where do you think The Almighty State forces companies to hire people from a state-approved list? In Russia? China? Perhaps Cuba? Nope. How about Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) wants to force down the throats of shale companies working in the state a requirement that they hire people who DGS, a dunderheaded government agency, says they should hire–or else. Or else what? Or else those companies get “audited” and found in violation and fined out the wazoo. DGS continues to beg state lawmakers to allow it to audit natural gas companies’ efforts to hire businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans. This is nothing new. DGS, and the antis who are stoking this effort, have been agitating for a Communist crackdown on shale hiring since 2012…
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More Workers Needed for Shell Cracker Plant, Unions Gear Up Training

Last Thursday Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV hosted an event called “Eye on Beaver County” in Beaver, PA–a celebration of Beaver and a discussion about the county’s future. An 11-member panel discussed the past, present and future of the county. The discussion, as you might imagine, quickly turned to Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker, going up in Monaca even as you read this. A Shell rep and several reps from labor unions were on hand to discuss the manpower issue. The short version is this: Unions for carpenters, ironworkers, steamfitters, and heavy equipment operators need more members, more people to help build the facility. Like, now. The unions offer free training. No, the jobs are not permanent, but such jobs never are. They’re good, high-paying jobs and the jobs will last at least a few years. Plus you get bragging rights–“I helped build the Shell cracker plant.” Here’s how the discussion about the need for more cracker plant workers went at last week’s event…
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Atlantic Coast Pipe Wants 150 NC Workers, $25/Hr + Free Training

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the $6.5 billion Dominion Energy/Duke Energy pipeline from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina has had a few setbacks, but that isn’t stopping construction on the pipeline–in all three states where it runs. On Monday we reported on the latest setback–news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is refusing to extend tree cutting season for the pipeline (see FERC Won’t Extend Atlantic Coast Pipeline Tree Cutting Deadline). According to Dominion, FERC’s decision will not delay the late 2019 start date for the project. In the meantime, there’s work to be done! One of the places where work needs to get done is North Carolina. We spotted a story from NC that says Dominion and Duke are offering to train “more than 150 people” at Nash Community College, and then put them to work building the pipeline, for $19/hour plus $45/day, which we calculate to be a total compensation package of $24.63 per hour. Details below on how to apply for the jobs and get in on the free college training…
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Free Pipeline Training Course in April in SWPA & Eastern OH

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has previously offered a 100% free training program for those interested in a career building pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region (see 4-Wk FREE Training Program Helps Unemployed Get M-U Pipeline Jobs and Still a Few Openings for Free Training for M-U Pipeline Jobs in SWPA). GTI is offering the same training program once again in April, at two locations: Armstrong County Industrial Development Council in Freeport, PA, and Belmont College in St. Clairsville, OH. Each location is limited to 20 students. If you are interested and live somewhere within driving distance of either location, what are you waiting for? Sign up before all slots are taken! Starting salaries for graduates “often exceed $50,000” and can lead to careers with salaries in the six-figure range (hey, where do we sign up?!). We have the details of how to enroll for FREE in this valuable training course–a course worth $3,500…
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Is Lycoming County, PA in Midst of “Natural Gas Resurgence”?

Lycoming County, PA

In a recent interview, the CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce said that in Lycoming County the “natural gas industry is enjoying a resurgence.” Which struck us as odd, given our own recent research into the number of wells being drilled (or lack thereof), and the decrease in natural gas production in Lycoming County. We suppose it all depends on what you mean by resurgence. A resurgence in drilling and production? We’d have to answer that with a “no.” However, if you’re talking about a resurgence in jobs related to the natgas industry because of new pipeline projects? Apparently that answer would be a big “yes”…
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2 Different Paths to Pipeline Career: College & Labor Union

It seems that all new Marcellus/Utica pipelines run through West Virginia, at one point or another. That means there are (and will be) a lot of jobs available for those trained to work on them. The question is, how do you get trained? According to a recent article, there’s two potential pathways to training, and getting a job, in the midstream industry, in WV. One way is to get an associates (two-year) degree in petroleum or welding technology–like the degrees offered by West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC). The other way is to get training from a labor union, like the International Union of Operating Engineers…
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PA’s Uneven Tax Treatment of Marcellus Industry vs. Amazon HQ2

What if a private company wanted to locate in a state, bringing with it 243,000 direct and spin-off jobs with an average salary of $93,000? And what if that company invested billions of dollars in the state economy? No doubt the state (and local municipalities) would offer up plenty of incentives to ensure they get the business. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (and the State of Pennsylvania) are doing just that–offering up all sorts of incentives to attract Amazon to build its HQ2 project in the Keystone State–a project that promises a huge investment and thousands of employees. However, Amazon’s HQ2 will not employ 243,000 people and inject billions–not anywhere close. But there is an industry that is ALREADY doing exactly what we’ve outlined in the opening sentence. The Marcellus Shale industry has created 243,000 direct and indirect jobs (with an average salary of $93K per year) and has already pumped billions of dollars into the economy. And yet the State of PA and places like Pittsburgh and Philly are, in many ways, fighting against the industry! They don’t offer tax breaks, instead they offer new tax increases! What’s going on here? Why does PA treat Jeff Bezos and Amazon one way, and the Marcellus industry another? Why does PA pick “winners” and “losers” economically? That’s the important topic of a column we recently spotted by Lowman Henry, chairman and CEO of the Lincoln Institute…
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Unions in WV Hiring Workers as Pipeline Construction Begins

Tree clearing for Dominion’s $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) has already begun in West Virginia (see Atlantic Coast Pipeline Begins Cutting Trees in WV & VA (Not NC)). Construction for ACP in WV will begin this spring. Tree clearing for EQT’s $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), along with construction of access roads and construction yards, has not yet begun but soon will in WV (see Mountain Valley Pipe Gets FERC Approval to Begin WV Construction). What it all means is that a lot of workers will be needed in a hurry as construction gets underway. Enter trade unions. Union workers will perform the bulk of construction–everything from driving trucks to delivery of supplies (and people), to operating heavy equipment, to digging trenches, to welding–even cutting down the trees, an activity happening now. Unions in WV are currently recruiting new members who want a good-paying, hard-working jobs in the pipeline industry in the Mountain State…
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Atlantic Sunrise Pipe’s Positive Impact in Lancaster Already Felt

Money–a lot of money–is flowing into Lancaster County because of construction work now being done on Williams’ $3 billion, 198-mile Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. Local media pitches the revenue and jobs created by the project as “temporary.” MDN once heard a union pipeline worker respond to that very argument at a FERC hearing (for the Constitution Pipeline) by saying he’s had an entire career of “temporary” pipeline jobs that last a few months or a year–making enough money to put his kids through college and make a nice living for himself and his family. Lancaster residents should jump for joy at their “temporary” blessing of this pipeline’s construction. Among the beneficiaries of these “temporary benefits” are “dozens of local businesses” and “more than 100 workers” who are employed full-time working on the project. An estimated $75 million (!) is now flooding into the Lancaster County economy, thanks to Atlantic Sunrise…
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The Great Chesapeake Massacre III: Lawler Fires Another 400 People

2/2/18 Update: Have we been unfair in our characterization of Doug Lawler? Perhaps. We don’t know Doug–have never met him. He started firing masses of people at Chessy before the downturn hit. He arguably inherited a troubled company. We intensely dislike Carl Ichan and other corporate raiders, so we attributed Doug’s actions to Carl’s influence. MDN received a very nice note from a subscriber who personally knows Doug Lawler and has a different perspective to offer, which we’re happy to pass along. He said: “Jim, regarding your article on CHK, Doug Lawler probably learned a lot from Carl Icahn, but knowing Doug the way I do, I can assure you it hurt him to release people at his home office or other areas of operations. He was left with a mess and will take him years to clean it up. Hopefully with oil & gas prices stabilizing and going up, CHK will become profitable.” We thank our subscriber for sending that along!

Just like those 80s slasher movies that did so well at the box office that studios kept making more of them (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.), Doug “the ax” Lawler, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, is back with part III of mass firings at the company. In October 2013 when Lawler was newly appointed as CEO (by Chesapeake’s board, which was under the influence of corporate raider Carl Ichan), he swung his ax and fired 800 people in one gory episode, promising that was the last of it (see The Great Chesapeake Massacre: Lawler Fires 800 People in One Day). It worked so well the first time, Lawler came back with a sequel two years later (see The Great Chesapeake Massacre II: Lawler Fires Another 740 People). It’s now a little over two years since the sequel, and Lawler is back for a third time, firing another round of people–400 this time, 13% of the workforce. The latest victims worked at HQ in Oklahoma City. When corporate raiders take control of a company, as Icahn did at Chesapeake, they pressure management to fire people and sell assets–in a bid to make the stock price jump higher so they can sell their shares of stock at a higher price, pocketing the profit. It’s disgusting to ruin people’s lives and pretend it’s “just business.” At any rate, Icahn is long gone from Chessy, but Lawler learned his lessons well by sitting at the feet of the master. This is rich: Lawler said because the company has sold so many of its assets, it no longer needs the people. Kind of a vicious cycle. Fire people, sell assets. Fire more people, sell more assets. Where does it end? Pretty soon Lawler will be able to cater the company’s office Christmas party with a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut…
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Mercer County, PA Gears Up to Benefit from Shell Cracker

“One word: Plastics” (The Graduate) – Mercer County, which is two counties and 50 miles north of Beaver County (located along the border with Ohio) is making plans now for how their county to grab some of the “low hanging fruit” that will appear when the Shell ethane cracker in Beaver County goes online in the early 2020s. You read that right. NOW is the time for counties in the region to make plans and set those plans in motion to attract some of the numerous businesses that will set up shop to be close to the cracker plant. Mercer County officials recently attended a forum where the topic was ancillary development that will happen because of the cracker plant. What is the low hanging fruit that will magically appear with the cracker? Manufacturing–and the jobs that go with it. In particular, manufacturing and jobs in the plastics industry. A regional trade organization–Penn-Northwest Development Corp.–is planning to hit the plastics industry trade shows this year. Penn-Northwest is working with counties like Mercer to help them market themselves to plastics manufacturers…
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New Study Says Mariner East 1 & 2 will Deliver $9B to PA Economy

In February 2015, Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm Econsult Solutions released a study looking the potential economic impact of the Mariner East 1 & 2 projects, concluding the two project together would result in $4.2 billion coming to Pennsylvania (see New Study: Mariner East 1 & 2 Pipelines Mean $4.2B Windfall in PA). However, projects like Mariner East change over time. Econsult revisited and revamped their original study to reflect those changes. Know what they found? ME1 & ME2 together will result in over $9 billion of economic impact in PA! How could it be that much? Just consider, the two projects together will have created 57,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs between 2014 and 2019 (9,500 jobs annually) with earnings of $2.7 billion impacting multiple industries. And that’s just the jobs piece of the puzzle! Although total economic impact will exceed $9 billion, the pipeline will continue to generate revenue for PA state coffers for years into the future, via taxes and by feeding the petrochemical industry in the Philadelphia area. It’s not $9B total–it’s $9B initially. Sadly, the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection last week halted all work on Mariner East 2, delaying the economic benefits of the project in PA (see PA DEP Caves to Big Green Pressure, Stops All Work on ME2 Pipeline). Let’s hope ME2 resumes work quickly. In the meantime, we have a copy of Econsult’s new report below, along with comments by antis who ignore the hard science in front of their faces that the Mariner pipelines are a bonanza for PA…
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