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Domestic Chemical and Manufacturing Growth

Natural gas is driving regional and national growth in manufacturing, including chemicals, steel, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and plastics. Manufacturing uses account for approximately 80% of total industrial demand for natural gas, either as a fuel or a feedstock for production.

Pennsylvania and the Appalachian Basin stand ready to benefit greatly from dramatic growth anticipated in chemical processing and production, starting with Royal Dutch Shell’s investment of more than $6 billion to construct an ethane cracker near Monaca, Beaver County. This facility is anticipated to spur the growth of a petrochemical manufacturing cluster to produce hundreds of consumer, medical and commercial goods derived from polyethylene.

On a national scale, according to the American Chemistry Council, plentiful and affordable natural gas supplies have transformed America’s chemical industry from the world’s highest-cost producer five years ago to among the lowest-cost producers today. The United States now enjoys a decisive competitive advantage in the making of basic petrochemicals. Companies from around the world are investing in new U.S. production capacity, leading to an industrial revival and new jobs.

A 2018 analysis by the American Chemistry Council found that 333 new chemical facility projects were in development and construction in the U.S., constituting a total investment of $202 billion. Those projects are estimated to support 431,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2025, along with a total economic output of $292 billion.