Cheap natural gas flowing from the newly developing shale formations [in the USA] could support the growth of a million new jobs in manufacturing by 2025.
“Full-scale and robust shale gas development would likely have a number of knock-on effects for other industries, particularly the manufacturing and chemical sectors,” reads the report “Shale Gas: A Renaissance in U.S. Manufacturing?” released Dec. 14 by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Given a scenario of high gas production and resulting low gas prices, manufacturing and the broader economy could benefit in several ways, the report says.
Shale gas development already is driving demand for products, according to chemical, metal and industrial manufacturers’ annual SEC filings, and that will only grow, the report’s authors wrote.
At the same time, lower feedstock and energy costs could help manufacturers reduce natural gas costs by more than $11 billion a year through 2025, they wrote.
The combination of demand by the growing industry and affordable energy could mean a million new jobs by 2025.
Chemical and metals companies stand to benefit the most over the next several years, according to the study.
With lower feedstock costs, the chemical industry can justify greater capital expenditures in the U.S. — a situation already visible in the discussion of one or more ethane crackers in this region.
Metals companies will experienced increased demand as more drilling equipment is needed.
To achieve gas’s potential for manufacturing, manufacturers will need to become stakeholders in the gas industry.
“Such advocacy means supporting certain tax and regulatory issues promoting growth of the industry, as well as supporting environmentally safe and transparent gas extraction methods and public education and community outreach programs,” the report’s authors conclude.
The report may be downloaded from the Pricewaterhouse Coopers website.