The White House is promoting President Obama’s visit to the Youngstown, Ohio, manufacturer of steel tubing, V & M Ohio, as demonstrating the value of last year’s stimulus legislation. Fair enough, but V & M’s expansion would not be happening without the development of the Marcellus Shale’s natural gas, one of the great energy stories happening today.
Thanks to technological advances in hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling, and private-sector investment, the Marcellus Shale is producing wealth and jobs.
As The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports, “President Obama’s destination: A Youngstown-area steel plant expanding with stimulus help“:
V&M is a subsidiary of Vallourec SA, a large European steel maker. The Plain Dealer described the expansion in February, saying the company plans to enter the growing market for small diameter steel tubes used to extract natural gas from shale deposits across the United States. To do that, the company is building a new factory next door to its existing facility in Youngstown that already employs about 500.
The new facility, which will be more than 1 million square-feet, will be above what used to be a mining operation.
Vallourec chose Youngtown, in part, because its in the middle of one of the largest shale formations in the world, called the Marcellus basin, and puts the company in close proximity to its potential customers. The deposit of brittle sedimentary rock, which contains a huge source of untapped natural gas, follows the path of the Appalachian mountains across New York, western Pennylvania, eastern Ohio, down to Maryland and West Virginia
The Marcellus Shale Coalition has a website with background, news and commentary on the development of this natural resources, including a report explaining hydraulic fracturing — the injection of high-pressure fluids into the shale formation to release the gas. On Wednesday, the coalition is holding a news conference in Duquesne, Pa.:
[Local] natural gas, steel manufacturing and transportation industry leaders will join elected officials to discuss to the positive and growing impact that responsible Marcellus Shale gas development is having on the region. Jointly hosted by the United States Steel Corporation (USS) and the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), the event will focus on the extensive supply-chain network involved in producing this abundant, homegrown, clean-burning energy resource and its economic benefits throughout the region.
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