Manufacturers love natural gas and are continuing to relocate to Appalachia for that reason, according to April 14 reports from the 8th annual Marcellus to Manufacturing Development Conference.
The conference heard from leaders at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, which is leading a number of manufacturing initiatives in the region. Ethane, a strain of natural gas needed for manufacturing things like plastic, is expected to increase in production in Appalachia more than anywhere else in the world. A regional ethane storage hub may be built to provide the petrochemical industry with an even better supply. This could lead to the construction of as many as five “crackers” that break down gas into ethane and that could create 100,000 long-term jobs.
Coal is the elephant in the room any time you talk about energy in West Virginia, as the coal industry has been a staple of the economy for generations. The Department of Energy is spending some money to try and make coal competitive with natural gas in electricity, because natural gas has been stealing market share in the last few years. Natural gas plants are much cleaner and more flexible. They can ramp up and down quickly in response to demand, and carbon capture technology is more feasible with gas because gas plants have far less emissions to capture.
One thing that everyone at the conference seemed to agree on is that natural gas will drive the economy in West Virginia and the surrounding region for the coming decades. The world is craving cleaner electricity, but there is simply no realistic way to get to 100% renewables. Gas provides a far more reliable alternative that can also be extremely clean. Producing all this gas to come from Appalachia requires companies like Cimmaron Land to help producers acquire rights to drill. If you are in need of such services, call us at (412) 212-7517.