When Shell announced plans in 2016 to construct a ‘cracker plant’ – used to refine and distribute liquid natural gas – the local economic benefits were obvious. A $6 billion capital investment, some 1,000 immediate jobs and over 6,000 indirect jobs supported by the project though the addition on a storage hub only boosts that reports The Washington Examiner.
With 60% of ethane hub storage located in Houston, Texas natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey can wreak havoc on supply, distribution and costs for businesses throughout the United States. Politicians in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have pushed and secured approval for a storage hub in the Appalachian regions.
The ethane storage hub will help in a variety of ways. Energy security has become increasingly important. The addition of a storage hub will ease worries about potential shortages and distribution issues.
Second, with better storage and transportation available to the east coast countless businesses will be able to save on transportation costs.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, previously a small business owner, says businesses through the mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes region will have tremendous savings and “it won’t be long before you start to see all kinds of manufacturing spread up around things like the cracker plant.”
The project has gained support from both sides of the aisle. West Virginia Senators Manchin (D) and Capito (R) introduced a bill that would facilitate government funds for the project. Senator Manchin is particularly keen on the hub’s impact, offering “The Appalachian storage hub is a vital American energy infrastructure project that will enhance energy and national security while leveraging the region’s unique energy resources for the long-term economic benefit of families, manufacturers, and communities in nearby states and across the nation,”
Energy infrastructure projects like the storage hub are the final piece to pipeline infrastructure projects and make a lasting impact in utilizing all natural gas pipelines have made available to American. Energy security is a top priority and Shell’s plant and storage hub take us one step closer.