natural gas

Arctic Lease Cancellation a Cruel Blow to Innovation

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Late Friday afternoon, a time particularly convenient for the announcement of unpopular decisions, the Department of the Interior announced it would cancel oil and gas lease sales in the Arctic and not renew existing leases to Shell or Statoil. The move effectively closes the door to oil and gas exploration in these resource-rich areas.

The immediate sting comes from broken promises, as the Administration has done a full 180 on its prior commitment to develop oil and gas on American soil. But the longer-term pain may come from the stifling impact these new barriers will have on innovation.

The Administration made development of Shell’s existing lease as difficult as humanly possible, and Shell stepped up and was able to drill its wells while keeping the environment safe. The new technologies, processes and techniques developed during the Arctic exploration will be used ‎throughout Shell’s operations around the world to make those wells safer.

That’s how innovation happens: you have to do it and learn from it. Yet, today, it became clear that the Administration would prefer oil and gas exploration not be done at all. It’s become an all-too-familiar theme across energy-producing sectors. And it’s the wrong decision every time.

Friday’s announcement spells danger for development promised by the President off the Atlantic coast and for the 2017-22 leasing plan. It could signal trouble for energy export terminals and that still-yet-to-be-approved pipeline from Canada to the United States you may have heard about once or twice.

Manufacturers hope this Administration or a future one wi‎ll come to see the error made today and reverse course. And we continue to call on this Administration to remove barriers to the development of energy, instead of erecting new ones.

Texas Methanol Plant Re-opens Doors Thanks To Shale Boom

By | Economy, Energy | No Comments

LyondellBasell Industries announced recently that it will re-open its methanol plant in Channelview, Texas, just nine years after shutting it down. The company attributes its decision to re-invest in the facility to low natural gas prices spurred by the recent shale boom.

This project is one in a long list of new investments being spurred by widespread domestic development of natural gas.

According to a recent report sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers, this activity will spur economic growth and job creation for years to come, supporting millions of jobs, increasing household incomes, boosting trade and contributing to a new increase in U.S. competitiveness around the world.

Unfortunately, this growth is not a foregone conclusion. Overreach by state and federal lawmakers and regulators could slow this progress and, in the worst case, stop it.

To realize our full energy potential, we need government policies that support the continued development of oil and gas resources, energy infrastructure projects and manufacturing growth so companies like LyondellBasell can continue to make new investments and create jobs here in the US.


Timmons Talks Nat Gas Boom at Shale & Manufacturing Partnership Launch

By | Economy, Energy | No Comments

Today, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons joined other business leaders at an event launching the American Shale & Manufacturing Partnership (ASMP), a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on shale development and its impact on the supply chain for American manufacturing. As users of one-third of the nation’s energy, manufacturers know well that lower energy prices have a positive ripple effect throughout the supply chain and strengthen our competitive advantage.

Timmons at ASPM Launch

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons participates in the launch of the American Shale & Manufacturing Partnership. Photo by David Bohrer/NAM.

During a panel focused on shale’s impact on manufacturing, Timmons highlighted the enormous impact that the shale boom is having on the sector, “regardless of sector or size, the shale boom is working for manufacturers. We are making new investments, thanks in part to lower feedstock costs. Many of these investments could take years before they are fully operational, so we’ll continue to see benefits from them well into the future. A recent study conducted by the global research firm IHS projects that the development of shale oil and gas will boost employment by almost 4 million jobs by 2025.”

While noting that manufacturers are seizing this opportunity, Timmons also raised the question on every industry’s mind: Will Washington get in the way? “Unfortunately, this growth is not a foregone conclusion. Overreach by state and federal lawmakers and regulators could slow this progress and, in the worst case, stop it. To realize our full energy potential, we need government policies that support the continued development of oil and gas resources, energy infrastructure projects and manufacturing growth.”

Shale Report Shows Greatest Benefits to Manufacturers are Still to Come

By | Economy, Energy | No Comments

In their latest report on the economic benefits of the shale revolution, the global research firm IHS makes a number of encouraging findings. IHS estimates that the unconventional oil and gas value chain already supports over two million jobs, is responsible for $1,200 in average additional net income per household and is contributing nearly $300 billion to GDP. The most promising finding for manufacturers is that the best is yet to come. Looking at just one manufacturing sector, the chemical manufacturing sector, capital investments in new plants and expansion at existing plants is expected to more than triple in just four years.

GB Blog

These estimates are not theoretical; they are largely based on real projects that are already under development, some of which are identified in the report. Similar growth is expected in several manufacturing sectors, which collectively will drive more production, create more jobs and further fuel the economy.

US Energy Secretary Cites Benefits of Natural Gas

By | Economy, Energy | No Comments

In a recent interview with the New York Daily News, US Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz praised the economic benefits coming from production of natural gas in the United States. Citing the $100 billion of capital investment in manufacturing that unconventional oil and gas drilling has stimulated, Moniz stated that natural gas development is “a huge economic benefit.”

As consumers of a third of the nation’s energy, manufacturers could not agree with Secretary Moniz more. According to a NAM-sponsored study released today by research company IHS, increased oil and gas production made possible by advances in shale technology will support nearly 515,000 manufacturing jobs and 3.9 million total jobs by 2025.

Ironically, leaders in New York don’t seem to want to acknowledge the game-changing benefits that come from natural gas development, and continue to impose restrictive state regulations that have hampered development of this abundant resource.

Manufacturers agree with Secretary Moniz that the US should embrace hydraulic fracturing and natural gas production, while continuing to pursue policies that encourage responsible and expeditious development of this abundant resource.

Manufacturers Submit Comments on BLM Fracking Regulation

By | Economy, Energy | No Comments

Last week, the National Association of Manufacturers submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the proposed rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on Federal and Indian lands.


As a consumer of a third of the nation’s energy, Manufacturers depend on a consistent supply of natural gas for much of their energy needs. As such, we believe that state and federal governments must continue to pursue policies that encourage responsible and expeditious development of this abundant resource.

Unfortunately, the duplicative regulation proposed in BLM’s rule would harm exploration, development, and production of shale oil and gas, ultimately making it more difficult for manufacturers to remain competitive.

The NAM strongly recommends the BLM withdraw the Proposed Rule and allow the states to regulate hydraulic fracturing in the same safe and secure manner they have done for several decades.

To view the NAM’s Comment on the rule, please click here.


Study Shows Fracking Emissions Lower than EPA Estimates

By | Energy | No Comments

API and ANGA released a study today calling into serious question the methane emissions data EPA has been using for unconventional gas wells.  According to the API/ANGA survey, methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing of unconventional gas wells are, in fact, 50 percent lower than EPA’s estimates.

When is EPA going to correct this flaw?  Today’s study is not even the first time EPA’s hydraulic fracturing emissions data has been contradicted by real-world evidence.  The agency has been sitting on an open Request for Correction under the Information Quality Act (IQA) since December 19, 2011. 

That request (filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, available here) included a survey by URS Corp. of approximately 1200 wells, showing that actual gas emissions from the completion of unconventional shale gas wells were more than 1200% lower than EPA’s gas emission estimate.

A coalition of environmental groups filed a detailed opposition to the IQA correction request, complaining that URS had relied on too small a sample.  Well, today’s API/ANGA survey (also conducted by URS) is of 91,000 wells.  That should be more than enough.

Here’s why this matters: researchers, financial analysts and other governmental bodies are relying on EPA’s flawed estimates of natural gas emissions from unconventional shale gas well completions in a number of research reports and policy consideration. And policymakers are ultimately taking into account these potentially flawed numbers when designing regulations.

Read the API/ANGA study here.

Ross Eisenberg is vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

Shale Gas Resources Bring Jobs to Steubenville, OH

By | Economy, Energy | 6 Comments

Steubenville, Ohio was hit hard by the previous recession.  But, as ABC News reported last night, the town has seen tremendous economic growth because of recent natural gas discoveries in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. Hydraulic fracturing – a technology that has been used commercially for more than 60 years – allows companies to access the abundant natural gas resources located beneath the Steubenville area.

This “natural gas revolution” has already brought 300 jobs to the Steubenville area, and ABC News reports that 10,000 jobs are expected in the next three years. These jobs are high-paying, with some workers earning up to $77,000 per year. Shops, restaurants and hotels are now bustling.

Manufacturers, users of approximately one-third of the energy consumed in the United States, strongly support the use of hydraulic fracturing to access our nation’s abundant supply of natural gas. We use natural gas not only as a source of electricity, but as a feedstock for products such as plastics, fertilizer and pharmaceuticals. Affordable natural gas provides manufacturers with the ability to expand their facilities, increase production and create even more jobs. It is critically important that the states and the federal government not stand in the way of our access to these valuable resources.

Watch the story here:

Ohio Town Sees Jobs Turnaround

USGS Releases New Data on Shale

By | Energy | One Comment

On Tuesday the U.S. Geological Survey released updated data on how much natural gas is contained in the Marcellus Shale. The new estimate finds that the Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids. 

From the USGS release:

The Marcellus Shale contains about 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas and 3.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas liquids according to a new assessment by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).

These gas estimates are significantly more than the last USGS assessment of the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian Basin in 2002, which estimated a mean of about 2 trillion cubic feet of gas (TCF) and 0.01 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

The increase in undiscovered, technically recoverable resource is due to new geologic information and engineering data, as technological developments in producing unconventional resources have been significant in the last decade.  This Marcellus Shale estimate is of unconventional (or continuous-type) gas resources.

This news provides additional evidence of how promising of a source the Marcellus Shale is for our nation’s energy supply. It is absolutely critical to the competitiveness of manufacturers that they have access to affordable sources of energy. Adding burdensome and unnecessary regulations to the shale industry will only drive up the costs and add bureaucratic red tape with little benefit. 

You can find out more about this new estimate from the USGS here.

Manufacturers Call on Interior Department to Expedite Drilling off Alaska’s Coast

By | Energy, Regulations | No Comments

Yesterday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed comments with the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) urging them to expedite the permitting and lease process in the Chukci Sea and other areas of Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for oil and natural gas development.

Estimates show that in Alaska’s OCS, there are roughly 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It is time to put an end to needless red tape, excessive delays and unreasonable regulations preventing domestic exploration and production.  Using these abundant resources will not only generate $193 billion in revenue to the government over the next 50 years, it will also create tens of thousands of jobs, increase our energy security and our domestic supply as well.

While unemployment continues to increase, and energy prices are at record highs, it is time we use the domestic resources readily available to us to solve the problems we face.

Manufacturers support responsible and environmentally sensitive practices that promote safety and conservation, and this can be achieved; all while securing our energy future and rebuilding our shaken economy. It is time to open up Alaska’s OCS.