Monday, January 10, 2022

Can One Be Too Exuberant? January 10, 2022

A reader who writes me regularly about the Utica and the Marcellus, sent me a note earlier today. My reply:

Great to hear from you. Coincidentally, I received your note after reading about the announcement that EPD was buying a natural gas midstream company as an entry into the Permian.

Your note on top of that reinforced my thoughts earlier this morning that the "US" is going to be absolutely dominant in energy -- as we've discussed on the blog the last few days.

But what I find most interesting is that when they say "the US" when it comes to energy, "they're" really only talking about Ohio, Pennsylvania, maybe West Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, and hopefully to some extent North Dakota.

North Dakota is huge by North Dakota's standards but in the big scheme of things, it's all about the Utica/Marcellus and the Permian.

It just blows me away (no pun intended with regard to renewable energy). Industry knows that the US will have this accessible, affordable, dispatchable energy for decades to come.

I'm already inappropriately exuberant about all this; your notes are not helping. LOL. It just makes me more exuberant.

What did the Utica / Marcellus reader write me that was so "inspiring"?

The soon-to-be-completed cracker from Shell is located 'just' upriver (75 miles, Ohio river) from Dilles Bottom, Ohio (southeastern most Belmont county). 
The Shell cracker - in Monaca, PA, is just north of Pittsburgh and is the largest privately funded construction project in the history of Pennsylvania (~$6 billion).

It is anticipated that this Shell facility could be the most profitable unit in the entirety of Shell's assets as the feedstock - ethane - is both readily available locally and is about the cheapest ethane on the planet. 
(This is the stuff regularly 'rejected' into the pipelines and burned off along with methane). 
In addition to advantaged sourcing, the market for the produced polyethylene is vast as the northeast/midwest and - increasingly - southeast manufacturers are, by far, the biggest consumers of polyethylene which is a component of SO many products in our daily lives.

Now, Dilles Bottom, Ohio, is the proposed site of a second cracker by the owners PTT (big Thai petrochemical outfit). 
Despite years of delays, there is high hope for the construction of this second cracker to take place. 
If/when it does, that part of the country will experience an economic boom of lasting consequence that will rival Williston's.

Re-reading this reminded me of the note about Ohio from "Focus on Fracking," posted earlier: 

Utica Shale Saves Eastern Ohio Counties from COVID Recession | Marcellus Drilling News -

Economists are still analyzing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic from 2020, let alone assessing impacts from 2021.

Cleveland State University researchers have run the numbers and have discovered something interesting.

Of Ohio’s 88 counties, only 18 grew their economies in 2020. Of those 18, two counties stood head and shoulders above the rest for increases in economic activity. Both counties have something in common: Utica Shale drilling.The two counties that soared in 2020 due to Utica drilling were Monroe and Harrison. Other Utica-drilling counties were also on the list of 18 counties improving in 2020, including Belmont and Jefferson. Beginning to see a trend here?

We laugh at anti-fossil fuel fools who yammer on that “there is no increase in jobs or economic activity from shale oil and gas drilling.” What planet do they live on?!

The Utica pulled Ohio eastern counties’ bacon out of the fire in 2020, and (we suspect) in 2021 as well.

Hydraulic fracturing has buoyed the economy in eastern Ohio.Two small eastern Ohio counties in the heart of Ohio’s natural gas country posted the biggest economic gains among the state’s counties in 2020.The big gains in Harrison and Monroe counties came even as COVID-19 plunged most of Ohio’s 88 counties and its biggest metro areas into a brief, but steep, recession.

Only 18 counties had growth last year.Harrison and Monroe counties each posted a 20.5% increase in their economy in 2020, according to federal data released this month.

Both counties are small so even a minimal increase in the economy can produce big change.Monroe County’s economic activity was measured at $1.9 billion in 2020, while Harrison’s was measured at $1.6 billion.

Both counties have benefited from the surge in natural gas and oil drilling in Appalachia over the past decade that has helped offset the decline in coal use.

Total investment in the region has hit $93 billion from 2011 through 2020, according to Cleveland State University researchers who track oil and gas spending in the region. Monroe County also has benefited from the redevelopment of the old Ormet aluminum smelter site in recent years that includes the new natural gas power plant at the Long Ridge Energy Terminal, which one day could run on hydrogen as well as gas.Harrison County also is developing a power plant.Monroe County’s gain follows a 23.7% increase in 2019 and 7.7% in 2018.Other counties in Appalachia also were among the 2020 winners.The county in between Monroe and Harrison, Belmont, had the fifth-highest growth rate in 2020, 5.4%. That county also has benefited from the natural gas boom.The economy of Jefferson County, north of Belmont County and also a benefactor of the energy investments, grew by 5.6% in 2020.In the northwest part of the state, Paulding County posted a 7.7% growth rate, the third highest in Ohio.

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