Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Fracking vital to manufacturing
President Donald John Trump's visit to Beaver County, Pennsylvania, put the spotlight on an often overlooked benefit of hydraulic fracturing: the boost to America's chemical industry that fracking provides.
He spoke at Royal Dutch Shell’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant, which when opened will turn natural gas into feedstock for plastics.
Cheap feedstock may prove to be a better benefit than the energy independence that fracking provides.
This cracker is in the heart of the Marcellus shale formation in Appalachia that fracking has tapped into. This has revived the oil and gas industry along the Ohio River, West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Those states competed to land the cracker in the hopes of attracting chemical plants.
Charleston, West Virginia, was once a chemical industry giant. It provided more jobs than the coal industry did. We had hundreds of PhDs living here. But Bhopal killed Union Carbide (which began in the Charleston area) and with it, Charleston's chemical industry.
I doubt we will get that back but certainly the Wheeling area will because of its proximity to Pittsburgh. Beaver County actually is closer to Wheeling than Pittsburgh is.
The Tribune-Review reported, "President Donald Trump recounted his administration’s efforts to improve American manufacturing and the economy during his speech inside Royal Dutch Shell’s multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant in Beaver County.
"He said when the cracker plant is completed, it will transform natural gas from Pennsylvania into plastic 'stamped with the very beautiful phrase, Made in the USA.'
"The crowd inside the plant responded with a thunderous chant of USA. USA. USA.
"'Your future has never looked brighter or better,' Trump said to people in Western Pennsylvania and Appalachia. 'When this plant opens, 600 American workers will get full time jobs with great pay to support a family.'
"The Shell plant will produce small, plastic pellets that make up many popular consumer goods.
"Trump spoke for nearly an hour. He said that on his first day in office, he ended the war on American energy. Trump said that if Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, projects like the cracker plant would not be advancing and the natural gas, coal and steel industries would be far worse off."
The mediocre media reported President Trump took credit for the cracker. He did not. Let's go to what he said.
President Trump said, "On my first day in office, I ended the war on American energy. And that’s common sense, I think. You know, that’s common sense."
And he said, "They wanted to take away our wealth.
"That’s what the Paris Accord would have done. It would have taken away our wealth. It wasn’t for us; it was good for others. It wasn’t for us. We had to pay money to other countries that are very substantial countries. They wanted to take away your wealth. They didn’t want you to drill. They didn’t want you to frack. They didn’t want you to do steel. They wanted to take away your wealth."
The attacks on carbon-based fuels would have ended fracking and swept the Pennsylvania Shell ethylene cracker plant into the dustbin of history. Shell would have abandoned the project.
Electing President Trump stopped that nonsense.
Don Surber at 8/14/2019 02:00:00 PM