More and more people are recognizing the potential Marcellus and Utica Shale natural gas could have if the gas and associated natural gas liquids were used in Pennsylvania, rather than being exported to other areas of the U.S. — and internationally.

PIOGA, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, a 100-year-old trade group originally founded to represent conventional drillers, recognizes its members must expand their outlook past drilling and producing.

Last Friday, PIOGA hosted "Marcellus to Manufacturing," a day-long program in Pittsburgh which brought current and potential natural gas-related companies together to hear how firms are and can capitalize on gas, and how Pennsylvania’s state government can help make investment a reality.

Lovin' in-ground gas

Mike Storms, a member of a panel discussing downstream opportunities and managing risk in the energy market, expressed the attitude of the day-long program in just seven words:

“We love that the gas is here,” said the director of Operations, Engineered Products, at the Elliott Group, a 100-plus-year-old company that designs, manufactures and services turbomachinery.

Elliott certainly is a beneficiary of abundant Marcellus Shale gas. Among the oil and gas-related projects it’s involved with is Shell’s now-under-construction ethane cracker in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

The Jeannette, Pennsylvania-based company sold millions of dollars of equipment for the cracker, including monstrous compressors and steam turbines, Kallanish Energy finds.

Turnaround in where plants built

One of the primary reasons Shell selected the western Pennsylvania site for the first cracker built in the Appalachian Basin in decades was abundant, inexpensive gas.

“We’re seeing facilities being built now, that if they had been built 10 years ago, would never have been built here,” according to Andy Huenefeld, price risk manager, for Kinect Energy Group. “They would have built elsewhere for low labor costs. Now, they are building here for low energy prices.”

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