States Vie for New Chemical Factories—and Jobs—Powered by Lower Energy Costs
By JAMES R. HAGERTY, Wall Street Journal
The boom in low-cost natural gas obtained from shale is driving investment in plants that use gas for fuel or as a raw material, setting off a race by states to attract such factories and the jobs they create.
Shale-gas production is spurring construction of plants that make chemicals, plastics, fertilizer, steel and other products. A report issued earlier this month by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC estimated that such investments could create a million U.S. manufacturing jobs over the next 15 years.
West Virginia is vying with Pennsylvania and Ohio to attract an ethylene plant that Royal Dutch Shell PLC said it plans to build in the Appalachian region to take advantage of the plentiful new gas supplies.
Shell is due to announce a site early in 2012. Ethylene, produced from ethane in natural gas, is used to make plastics and other materials that go into an array of products, including pipes, paint and antifreeze.