How to Turn PA’s $60B Shale Energy Future into Reality Today

One year ago Chevron Appalachia and People’s Natural Gas teamed up to release a study called “Forge the Future: Pennsylvania’s Path To An Advanced, Energy-Enabled Economy” (see Chevron & People’s Natural Gas Team Up to Map Out PA’s $60B Future). Rather than wait around for “someone else” to flesh out a plan to leverage what Chevron and People’s call a $60 billion (!) opportunity in PA, they went ahead and did it themselves. Smart people. That was Phase I. Others have joined the effort which has morphed into a loose organization called PA Forge The Future. The group has just launched Phase II, a new study called “Ideas for Action: Actionable Initiatives to Accelerate Energy-Enabled Economic Development in Pennsylvania” (full copy below).
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List of 29 Marcellus/Utica Gas-Fired Elec Plants Planned or Built

Each large (over 475 megawatts) gas-fired electric power plant is an economic bonanza. The plants cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build–over a billion dollars for the largest plants. They provide hundreds of jobs during construction, jobs that last several years. They provide millions in tax revenue to local municipalities and schools. And best of all, each one of these plants uses an enormous amount of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas. There are 29 of these incredible projects already built or in various stages of planning and construction in PA, OH and WV. We have the list below.
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WV Leaders Discuss “Downstream” NatGas Development

Some 200 business and government leaders in West Virginia attended the state’s Economic Outlook Conference in Charleston this past Wednesday. A key focus of the event was a panel discussion on the topic of “downstream” natural gas development–meaning ethane cracker plants and manufacturing plants to take advantage of the coming flood of cheap plastics from cracker plants. The speakers spoke of urgency, to prevent a generational opportunity from slipping away.
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Shell PA Cracker Already Attracting New Factories…to Ohio

Stark County, OH

The Stark County (OH) Economic Development Board has landed what is hopefully the first (of many) tenants from the plastics manufacturing industry. IML Containers was looking for a spot to locate a new plant near one of their big customers, Land O’Lakes (has a facility in Cleveland). Stark County offered a small tax break, and the big advantage of being close to the under-construction Shell ethane cracker in Beaver County, PA. It’s also close to a likely second cracker plant in Belmont County, OH. IML makes plastic shipping containers for Land O’Lakes, and plans to set up “research and development, die cutting, molding, production and warehousing for packaging use with a variety of food products” at their Stark facility. IML is beginning now, at a temporary location (70 new jobs!) and will build a new plant in the next two years. In addition to a cheap source of plastics from the crackers, another advantage is being located within a six-hour drive of most of IML’s North American customers…
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17,000 Atlantic Coast Pipeline Workers Now Back on the Job

Two days ago we reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had finally lifted the stop-work order for Dominion Energy’s huge 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (see Victory! FERC Lifts Stop Work Order for Atlantic Coast Pipeline). In a new article talking about ACP workers resuming work on the project, we learn there are a massive 17,000 workers who work on this project. We also learn something else: Even though there has been no work on the project for over a month, since FERC shut down all work on it in early August (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline), Dominion did not lay off those 17,000 workers! When the same thing happened to EQT Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline, EQT laid off roughly half of their pipeline workers–perhaps as many as 3,000 (see Sierra Club Forces Thousands of Pipeline Workers Out of Work). The fact that Dominion didn’t lay off any workers is truly remarkable. Why did’t they lay them off? And what did those workers do in the meantime? The answers will surprise and impress you…
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Ohio Utica Attracts Amazing $70 Billion Investment…So Far

JobsOhio, a private, nonprofit corporation that works closely with the state (works on behalf of the state) to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio by attracting business, has decided it’s time to once again wave the flag, blow the trumpet, and talk about the shale industry in the Buckeye State. And well they should! According to research quoted by JobsOhio, Ohio, largely due to the Utica Shale, has attracted an amazing $70 billion in new private sector energy investments from 2011 to 2017. This is truly stupendous stuff! That’s PRIVATE (non-tax, non-government) money flowing into Ohio mainly because of the Utica Shale. Not only that, but roughly 12,000 high-paying jobs have been created in Ohio thanks to the Utica. Those are “direct” jobs. When you include indirect jobs–such as welders, fabricators and logistical workers–the number goes to 100,000! God bless the Utica. Here’s another fact: Even though Ohio neighbor Pennsylvania produces far more natural gas than Ohio, Ohio’s production (as a percentage) has grown faster than PA, faster than any other state, for four years in a row…
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Downstream Chemical Investment Linked to Shale Hits $200 Billion

Earlier this week the American Chemistry Council (ACC) announced that U.S. chemical and plastics industry investment linked to plentiful and affordable domestic supplies of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) from shale formations has surpassed $200 billion. That is a staggering number! Incomprehensible. Since 2010, 333 chemical industry projects cumulatively valued at $202.4 billion have been announced, with 53% of the investment completed or under construction, and 41% in the planning phase. Some 68% of the total is foreign direct investment or includes a foreign partner. Other countries love our shale! As good as all that is, consider this: ACC analysis shows that the $202.4 billion in capital spending could lead to $292 billion per year in new chemical and plastics industry output and support 786,000 jobs across the economy by 2025! Behold the miracle of shale fracking. Here’s the mind-blowing, fantasticly good news…
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Construction to Begin “Immediately” on Columbiana Utica-Fired Plant

In October 2015, Advanced Power Services announced it would build an 1,100 megawatt Utica-fired electric plant in Columbiana County, OH (see New $1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant Coming to Columbiana County). The plant, big enough to power 1 million homes (!), was approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board in September 2016 (see $1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant in Columbiana Gets State Approval). At the time of the approval, construction was supposed to begin in January 2017 and take some 550 workers about three years to build. Construction never began. A few things have changed along the way. The plant will now cost $1.3 billion to build and will take 1,000 people to build it. How do we know? Because global engineering firm Bechtel has just announced it has been selected to build the plant–and to start building it NOW, as in “immediately.” Yes, it will still take three years to build. The new target in-service date is second quarter 2021. In addition to the plant itself, a new 20-inch pipeline will be built to feed the plant, connecting to the nearby Dominion Transmission pipeline. Here’s the great news that Ohio’s latest Utica-fired electric plant is now under construction…
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Free Pipeline Worker Training Program Begins Sept. 24 in OH

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) continues to offer its popular 100% free training program (worth $3,500) 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. Companies supporting the GTI program have told GTI they anticipate hiring 1,100+ workers over the next two years. 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. The next round of free training, limited to 20 students per section, begins on Sept. 24 at Belmont College in St. Clairsville, OH…
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Sen. Pat Toomey Claims Trump Tariffs Will Delay Shell Cracker

US Sen. Pat Toomey

Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senator Pat Toomey is a DC swamp dweller–let’s just be honest about it. He’s a Republican, largely in name only. He’s better than a Democrat–but not by much. Toomey is claiming that President Trump’s attempt to stop the flow of foreign steel dumping in our markets by using tariffs (dumping which hurts our own steel industry and isn’t anywhere close to being fair or free trade), will delay incoming material for the Shell ethane cracker plant in Beaver County and result in the layoff of “hundreds” of workers. A Shell spokesman neither confirms nor denies Toomey’s claims but uses doublespeak to sidestep the issue–meaning Shell likely asked Toomey to be the front guy in shaming the Trump Administration into granting waivers so they can get their cheap, imported steel. Toomey has been an early and repeat critic of Trump. Toomey opposed Trump’s tariffs from the beginning and is currently trying to get a new law passed stripping the President of his constitutional power to impose tariffs…
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Sierra Club Forces Thousands of Pipeline Workers Out of Work

It dawned on us, reading yet another story about how EQT/Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has laid off around half of the MVP workforce, perhaps up to 3,000 people (see FERC Lets MVP Restart Work on 25% of Pipe; MVP Lays off ‘Thousands’), that the headlines/stories have it wrong. We need to view this situation more accurately–for what it is. The Sierra Club and a few other radical Big Green groups who brought the lawsuit against MVP are the ones who bear responsibility for putting ~3,000 pipeline workers out of work. And that’s just for one project! Dads have been forced into the unemployment line. Workers’ children go to bed hungry at night. There is a rise in hopelessness. The Sierra Club is responsible for DESTROYING JOBS. Ever notice that the Sierra Club never actually creates any jobs (except for a handful of high-priced lawyers)? They are a jobs-destroying organization and it’s time for Americans to wake up and understand what’s really going on. Wake up and understand the damage being caused by the Sierra Club–to families, to companies, to entire communities…
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FERC Lets MVP Restart Work on 25% of Pipe; MVP Lays off ‘Thousands’

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has had a change of heart–sort of–with respect to their stop-work order issued to Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). We previously told you that on August 3, FERC told MVP to stop all construction prompted by an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacating permits issued for the project as it crosses 3.5 miles of Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and Virginia (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA). In a letter to FERC this past Tuesday, MVP asked FERC to reconsider and allow them to restart construction for at least part of the pipeline. FERC agreed and partially lifted the stop-work order a day later, on Wednesday. The new order allows MVP to work on the project for 77 of its 303 miles–about 25%. However, in a sad announcement, MVP said because so much of the project remains (for now) idled, it is laying off 50% of the workers who had been working on it. It’s estimated that around 6,000 people are employed directly or indirectly on the project, which means “thousands” (perhaps as many as 3,000 people) are now out of work–thanks to the Sierra Club and their lawsuit. Hey, how many jobs has the Sierra Club created? What’s that? NONE?! And how many jobs has the Sierra Club destroyed? We’d estimate it to be in the tens of thousands. MVP also announced that due to the ongoing work stoppage and delays, the project completion and in-service date has now slipped to the end of next year–an additional nine months. It’s a sad day indeed…
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Cuomo Pipe Policies Put Thousands of Union Members Out of Work

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing yesterday to consider the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3303). Two weeks ago we told you about S. 3303, a bill that will “fix” the issue of states like New York using Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states to have a say in where interstate pipeline routes can pass through a state, from abusing that authority to block pipeline projects (see US Senate Bill Fixes States Blocking Pipelines via Water Permits). One of the people testifying at yesterday’s hearing was Brent Booker, the secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions. Brent represents some 3 million (!) union workers. He spoke passionately about the damage that has been done by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo in blocking new pipeline projects. Because of Cuomo’s actions, literally thousands of union workers (Democrat voters) are now out of work–people who could have been working all along but aren’t because Cuomo is abusing the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 401 to politically block new fossil fuel pipelines…
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Which Skills do M-U Employers Most Need in New Employees?

The answer to the question posed in our headline for which skills are most valued (and missing) in new employees looking to work at companies involved in the Marcellus/Utica industry may surprise you. Would the answer be, detailed industry knowledge, like knowing what mud logging, wire lines and Christmas tree (wellheads) are? Nope. Employers can teach those things on the job. How about subject-specific skills, like knowing how to weld (if you work in the field), or the difference between debits and credits (if you work in the accounting department)? Obviously if you apply for a welding job, or an accounting job, you’ll need to know something about those specific areas. But no, we’re talking about what kinds of skills ALL new employees should have, regardless of which area they work (in the field or in the office)–skills that so often are missing in new hires. Would you believe those skills are: writing, speaking and time management? Yep, according to a study done by RAND Corporation looking at how employers and colleges in the Marcellus/Utica region are preparing workers for the shale workforce, they found a skills gap in workers who don’t know how to properly write, speak and manage their time effectively…
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Crude Oil Truck Drivers Needed in Ohio Utica

While the Marcellus Shale play is mostly about natural gas, with some natural gas liquids in the southwestern part of the play, the Utica play in Ohio is a different story. Yes, a lot of natgas and NGLs get produced in the Utica, but the Utica also has a lot of oil coming out of the ground. Crude oil. Straight from the Utica/Point Pleasant rock layer. Something that hadn’t dawned on us (until now) is this question: How do Utica drillers get their crude to refineries? With natgas and even NGLs, it’s done mostly via pipelines. When’s the last time you heard about a “gathering pipeline” running to a well pad for crude oil? Yeah, never. So how do drillers get all that oil to refineries? They truck it. Another interesting factoid: those Pilot Flying J truck stops don’t only sell refined petroleum (diesel) to truckers, some of those operations also truck raw crude to refineries. The Pilot Flying J in Canton, OH is one such operation–and they currently have a shortage of truck drivers to haul Utica crude. It’s a “trucker’s market” right now. If you have a Class A commercial driver’s license with Hazmat (hazardous materials) and tanker endorsements, Flying J wants to talk to you, stat…
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