President Trump's visit on Tuesday to the Shell “cracker” plant in Beaver County outside the great city of Pittsburgh really got my wheels turning.
It’s a giant of a project: a $6 billion, 7,400 permanent jobs-creating, industrial facility that will convert ethane from flowing shale gas from the region into ethylene, the basic building blocks for plastic manufacturing. It’s the first U.S. cracker outside the Gulf Coast region in over two decades. And it shows how quickly the U.S. shale revolution since 2008 has transformed domestic and global energy markets, with always improving technologies and operational efficiencies surpassing all expectations.
Today, thanks to the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, Appalachia (PA, OH, WV) produces a whopping 33 Bcf/d or 37% of total U.S. gas supply. In fact, the triad now produces nearly 10% of the world’s gas, more than any other nation except the U.S. as a whole and Russia. Explaining Trump’s visit: “Pennsylvania As The New Natural Gas Giant.”
Appalachia of course is partnering with the mighty Permian basin in West Texas to make the U.S. the largest natural gas producer ever, with output today a quarter above second place Russia. Appalachia and the Permian together comprise 55% of total U.S. gas supply. They are the reasons why proven U.S. gas reserves have ballooned ~85% since 2008 to 420 trillion cubic feet. Even more amazingly, the two giant shale plays have accounted for over 70% of all new global gas supply, vital for a world increasingly turning to natural gas to lower emissions, support human development, and backup intermittent wind and solar power.
From water recycling to lower methane emissions, shale’s improving environmental performance has been constant and greatly underreported on as well. Per rig, for instance, Appalachia now yields 18.2 million cubic feet per day, over a six-fold increase from less than 3 million cubic feet back in 2012. This continues to lower the environmental footprint of the U.S. shale revolution: the industry’s non-stop paradigm of “doing more with less.” Other key environmental goals entail using more renewables and less diesel fuel usage in operations.
This must never be allowed to be forgotten: Appalachia and the Permian are the main reasons why U.S. C02 emissi...
Excellent article that people here should forward to all their friends...and enemies. People need to know just how critical the nat gas boom has been. Few realize that without fracking, they would be paying double for gasoline, triple for heating and electric bills, at least 20% higher for food and most items due to higher shipping costs and production costs. Unemployment would be much higher as would deficits and import imbalances. Foreign enemies like Russia and Iran would be much wealthier and stronger.
The one thing I would add is that to keep the Appalachian fields booming, we need to support the underground storage field that has been proposed for W Va. Without it, the Permian will overtake us as it is nearer to the main petro industrial sites and major shipping ports. And since they get much more oil there it is more economical to drill there. As soon as the get all the new pipelines in place....three years or so.... that area will dominate.
I suggest people follow the link, post it on your social media, and forward it to all.