Energy and Manufacturing Crucial to W.Va.’s Future
For many, the natural gas and oil industry consists of rigs drilling new wells and crews working to bring production online.
But the availability of our energy abundance and the individuals behind the natural gas and oil industry are the building blocks of everyday necessities, which is the key driver of West Virginia’s manufacturing revival.
This direct link can be seen right in Mason County, where Nucor Steel picked West Virginia to invest $2.7 billion in a new sheet steel mill, in part, because of locally-sourced and affordable energy. Not only is this investment Nucor’s largest to date, it’s also the largest investment in the history of West Virginia.
A catalyst to enhancing chemical processes, natural gas and gas liquids provide a reliable fuel source and feedstock to create the products and synthetic materials that make up everything from cell phones and car parts to medical devices.
In fact, the country’s chemical industry investments linked to shale gas exceeded $200 billion, researchers at the American Chemistry Council announced this month.
“Thanks to this versatile resource, American chemistry has experienced more than a decade of growth,” said ACC President and CEO Chris Jahn. These investments “boost employment, payrolls, and tax revenue in local communities and nationwide,” Jahn said.
Job-creating energy opportunities are facilitated by the state’s natural gas and oil industry working in tandem with local skilled laborers to attract more businesses to West Virginia.
West Virginia’s manufacturing sector alone accounted for more than 10 percent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
Combined with the energy industry, these two sectors account for nearly a quarter our state’s total GDP.
State Department of Economic Development director Mitch Carmichael said it best that West Virginia’s biggest strength was our retention of energy-fueled manufacturing jobs.
Together, the energy industry and manufacturing are the backbone of our great state — putting hardworking people back on the job with high wages that keep our communities prosperous and residents excited to live here.
And we’re doing it under the highest environmental and safety protocols in the world, with members committed to advancing environmental solutions that enable us to have both a strong, prosperous economy and healthy environment.
In fact, their actions have led to the Appalachian Basin being a best-in-class US basin in 2020 related to CO2 emissions intensity, according to Rystad Energy. Additionally, its low-CO2 emissions mean it is in the top quarter of all oil and natural gas basins in the world. With more of our members implementing new technologies and launching ESG initiatives and emissions goals, the Appalachia basin is set to proposer.
From the Mountain State’s ideal geographic location and our abundant supply of energy to our top-tier talent, West Virginia is best positioned to lead in creating critical goods for not only our state and nation, but also the world.
Charlie Burd is executive director of the Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia.