Another in a series of posts about some of the good things coming from our industry, which benefit society and our world as a whole.
Clean, affordable natural gas from hydraulic fracturing is playing a key role in the resurgence of American manufacturing. Many factors contribute to this renewal; we commented on them in our post in March on why Geoforce chose to build the GT-1 tracking device in the USA. One of the biggest factors is the fact that natural gas prices here are one-quarter what they are in Asia. That makes running a factory considerably less expensive domestically – which in turn, is creating a boom in manufacturing, and delivering sizable gains of high paying jobs.
BHP Billiton, the Australian Conglomerate which has substantial energy operations – is on record with Bloomberg News saying, “The shale boom in the U.S. will spur an industrial revival and transform the world’s largest economy.” One industry reflecting this trend is steel, where a number of new facilities are being constructed, which are “Direct Reduced Iron Plants” – a process that is very different than conventional blast furnace steel facilities powered by coal. It’s not just steel companies who are benefiting from clean, affordable natural gas. Along the Gulf of Mexico, chemical manufacturers are adding to industrial capacity using natural gas fired plants. One success story is LyondellBasell Industries NV; its shares have doubled since emerging from a bankruptcy in 2010. A number of Fertilizer companies also are planning to build natural gas-powered facilities. Finally, on the subject of “eating your own dog food” (that’s software jargon for companies who use their own products in their day-to-day operations), Shell Oil Company is taking the lead in converting its own operational facilities and vehicles to natural gas. That includes nautical vessels and rigs, which are now powered by LNG. The net of all this activity is that it’s not just the jobs directly in oil and gas that are resulting from the shale revolution. Our industry is helping drive good paying jobs in many other sectors as well.