Posted August 5, 2013
NJ.com has an interesting article highlighting yet another example of the way benefits from the U.S. shale energy revolution are rippling through the economy – focusing on the changing fortunes of Linde, the world’s largest industrial gases company, with the emergence of U.S. shale:
The picture for Linde and its competitors was bleak in the 1990s, when the supply of oil and natural gas in the United States was drawing low, with the petrochemical industry and manufacturers starting to shift operations overseas for the cheaper labor and energy costs. That all began to change when shale deposits filled with natural gas were extensively tapped after the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling was perfected.
The piece details how Linde supplies carbon dioxide and nitrogen to companies that are developing shale through waterless fracturing. The company, which employs more than 1,000 in New Jersey, also has benefited from steel mills that are using more natural gas, supplying the oxygen used in steel production. Last year Linde’s North American sales totaled $3.4 billion. More from NJ.com, quoting Linde VP Earl Lawson:
“We’ve absolutely seen a resurgence,” Lawson said. “Honestly, five years ago, we were like everyone else, incredibly concerned.” Lower energy prices helped consumers and businesses, he added, and spurred thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment while preventing companies from moving abroad.
Jobs, economic stimulus, a reinvigorated U.S. petrochemicals sector – the makings of a true good-news story … unless your goal is no fracking, no matter how carefully and safely it’s used.
That appears to be the posture of at least one New Jersey group, whose director told NJ.com that “there is no reason we should be doing fracking in New Jersey or anywhere else” – which would dramatically alter U.S. energy prospects since about 90 percent of the onshore oil and natural gas wells in the U.S. are fractured, accounting for 34 percent of our oil and 58 percent of our natural gas production. We’re also talking about 1.7 million jobs supported by unconventional oil and natural gas, which is to say jobs supported by hydraulic fracturing – jobs at Linde and other companies that might not exist otherwise.
Here are a couple of things to think about during the national conversation about the game-changing nature of U.S. shale energy and hydraulic fracturing. First, one is made possible by the other. There’s no shale “revolution” without fracking. Second, while industry, state regulators, communities and individuals work toward making a safe industrial activity safer, some flatly oppose it. It’s an extreme view that dismisses the golden opportunity for our country to develop vast energy wealth to the betterment of all its citizens.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.