2018 A Big Year for Shale Crescent USA
Last year at this time, Shale Crescent USA had one lead and one prospect looking to expand somewhere in the United States.
Based in Marietta, Ohio, the organization encourages business growth in the Ohio Valley based on low natural gas prices that allow manufacturers to operate more efficiently while producing products more economically with access to water and half the population of the United States and Canada. Shale Crescent USA is made up of business leaders, regional economic development partners, nonprofit and non-governmental agencies, area chambers of commerce, utilities, financial and educational organizations throughout Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The goal is to provide information and resources for companies and entrepreneurs looking to relocate, expand or start up.
A year ago, Shale Crescent USA’s efforts were just getting started. Expansion was discussed with some tri-state area companies, but there wasn’t much hard data to give them.
In January of 2018 Shale Crescent USA was preparing for a trip to Japan to speak to the Japanese Petrochemical Association. The Shale Crescent USA story of plentiful, economical natural gas, abundant water, an experienced workforce and proximity to markets was told to the JPCA and individual Japanese companies. The meetings were set up by AEP and the West Virginia Development Office, who were part of the team representing the Shale Crescent USA region.
The Japanese petrochemical industry was quick to grasp the message and what it could mean to them. Key points for them included statements such as: “Over 30 percent of the USA’s natural gas is coming from the Shale Crescent USA region.” The comment heard after every meeting was, “We had no idea. We thought all of the gas was in Texas.”
International awareness of the Shale Crescent USA region had begun.
In March, the IHSMarkit study that the Shale Crescent USA organization commissioned was released to the world at the World Petrochemical Conference in Houston, Texas. The study results told the world Shale Crescent USA is the most profitable place on Earth to build a petrochemical plant. For the first time in many years, this region was featured on the main stage at WPC in front of 1,400 executives from around the globe. The entire week was spent talking to executive-level decision-makers.
Yahoo Finance picked up a Shale Crescent USA article, added to it and called this region “A 2nd Petrochemical Hub.” It went global.
Wally Kandel, Shale Crescent USA Executive Committee member and senior vice president of Solvay, was interviewed by Bloomberg TV’s Commodities Edge. The interview went global.
Wally also was interviewed by Chemical Week Magazine, read by executives around the world in the petrochemical industry. Shale Crescent USA was in print, one the radio and and in TV interviews including a TV interview on Comcast’s Newsmakers with exposure to 22 million households in December. SCUSA has done presentations at numerous meetings and conferences including the West Virginia Governor’s Energy Summit, Global Plastics Summit in Chicago and the Marcellus- Utica Conference in Houston, Texas in November.
In December, the U.S. Department of Energy released a report to Congress on ethane storage and distribution, reinforcing the benefits of expanding America’s petrochemical asset base beyond the Gulf Coast to the Shale Crescent USA. The report referred specifically to the Shale Crescent USA brand and the IHS-Shale Crescent USA study.
Today, Shale Crescent USA has more than 30 leads, expansions and prospects. Shale Crescent USA is now in sales mode, directly working with prospects to come here or expand. Two prospects have committed to the region and are determining which site in West Virginia or Ohio works best for them. One company met through the Governor’s Energy Summit came for a visit in December. Those officials looked at sites in West Virginia and Ohio and were introduced to JobsOhio and the West Virginia Development Office. They liked what they saw.
The company vice president said, “The whole trip was awesome! There wasn’t a bad meeting. We need to make the most out of it now.”
The process is moving forward.
Plans for 2019 include a presentation at this year’s WPC in San Antonio in March. SCUSA is planning an event in conjunction with the Select USA Conference in Washington, D.C., in June and plans to continue marketing the region through conferences and exhibitions. Most important is working with current and future prospects to sell them on the region and have them commit to come here. Once a company has committed to the region, the Shale Crescent USA organization works to support the West Virginia Development Office, JobsOhio and other organizations to help close the deal.
According to Greg Kozera, marketing and sales director for Shale Crescent USA, “The vision of Shale Crescent USA is to enhance the quality of life and standard of living for the people of the Shale Crescent USA region by bringing in high-wage manufacturing jobs.
“The process has started,” Kozera said. “Good things are happening. Companies are hiring. Wages are increasing. Success and the achievement of a big dream doesn’t happen in a day. It happens by what we all do day by day.”