Three decades after being devastated by the closing of steel mills, this gritty river valley is hoping its revival will come from cheap natural gas. The hope doesn't rest on drilling rigs, but on a multibillion-dollar chemical plant that Royal Dutch Shell PLC is considering building here because of a flood of domestically produced natural gas. Community leaders are touting the plant as the first step toward reviving a manufacturing industry many thought was gone for good.
“I never would have expected, that as a region, we'd have a second chance to be a real leader in American manufacturing,” Bill Flanagan, of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a regional business group, told a crowd of locals who came to hear about the chemical plant. "Suddenly we're back in the game." It isn't just Beaver County reaping the benefits of cheap gas. Plunging prices have turned the U.S. into one of the most profitable places in the world to make chemicals and fertilizer, industries that use gas as both a feedstock and an energy source. And they have slashed costs for makers of energy-intensive products such as aluminum, steel and glass. “The U.S. is now going to be the low-cost industrialized country for energy," the energy economist Philip Verleger said growth in the United States than the rest of the industrialized world says. "This creates a base for stronger economic."
Natural gas is only part of the story. The same hydraulic-fracturing revolution that is freeing gas from shale formations is being used to extract oil. U.S. oil production is up 20% since 2008, and the U.S. government expects it to rise another 12.6% in the next five years. Economists at Citigroup Inc. earlier this year estimated that increased domestic oil and gas production, and the activity that flows from it, would create up to 3.6 million new jobs by 2020 and boost annual economic output by between 2% and 3.3%. RBOB historic drop, along with falling margins, could mean we are primed for a rebound! Bloomberg News reported that gasoline rebounded in New York on speculation that the longest losing streak in 25 years was exaggerated. Futures climbed as much as 0.6 percent after sinking to a four-month low yesterday. The fuel is down 22 percent this month after Exxon Mobil Corp., Valero Energy Corp. and Citgo Petroleum Corp. started refinery units following outages. Inventories rose in the week ended Oct. 19, while demand fell 5 percent, the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday.
“Refineries are starting units after repairs, indicating supplies will increase and prices may drop more as the U.S. approaches the Nov. 6 presidential election, where incumbent President Barack Obama faces Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Obama supports increasing fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles, while Romney accuses him of impeding oil producers. The International Energy Agency, adviser to 28 advanced economies, said oil prices are too high and threaten to derail the global economic recovery. Gasoline for November delivery advanced as much as 1.42 cents to $2.6192 a gallon in electronic trading today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled yesterday at $2.605, the lowest settlement since June 22. The decline was the ninth straight day of losses, representing the longest down streak since August 1987.