In College Insurrection, I recently covered a story showing that North Dakota universities were about the only higher education institutions in the country expecting increased funding. These revenues are courtesy of the state’s recent oil boom.
This is one example of how oil shale may prove to be more valuable to this country than trillion dollar coins. Both foreign and national firms are poised to invest in developing this natural resource, according to a report in The UK Telegraph:
Royal Dutch Shell is planning an ethane plant in the once-decaying steel valley of Beaver County, near Pittsburg. Dow Chemical is shutting operations in Belgium, Holland, Spain, the UK, and Japan, but pouring money into a propylene venture in Texas where natural gas prices are a fraction of world levels and likely to remain so for the life-cycle of Dow’s investments.
Some fifty new projects have been unveiled in the US petrochemical industry. A $30bn investment blitz in underway in ethelyne and fertilizer plants alone.
A study by the American Chemistry Council said the shale gas bonanza has reversed the fortunes of the chemical, plastics, aluminum, iron and steel, rubber, coated metals, and glass industries. “This was virtually unthinkable five years ago,” said the body’s president, Cal Dooley.
The British publication indicated that projections show America will become the world’s biggest producer in 2014 and approach “energy independence” before the end of the decade. In fact, oil shale development has essentially made the US self-sufficient in gas almost overnight.
As an extra bonus, there will be real numbers in the “jobs created” category in future employment reports. In a Wall Street Journal interview, Chief Executive Peter Voser had this to say:
Natural gas is a cheap, advantaged feedstock, which can be used for the industrialization of the U.S. again. It can bring manufacturing and petrochemical industries back, and that is where the jobs are. I would find it peculiar if the U.S. [does] not grab this opportunity.
But “peculiar” is a word that adeptly describes many Obama Administration policies, especially as they pertain to energy development. Despite the fact that natural gas development is a big reason the U.S. led the world in reducing carbon admissions, the process that extracts it (i.e., “fracking’) is demonized by environmental extremists and the progressive media. And, as Lorraine Yapps Cohen observes in The Examiner:
What are the chances the U.S. will grab this opportunity? Obama’s record on grabbing opportunity in hydrocarbon-based energy is drab indeed. The administration prohibits domestic production wherever it can. Look at the Keystone Pipeline, the disapproval of which prevented transport of oil into America and thereby squashing energy independence.
It is my opinion that instead of getting entirely caught-up in the upcoming debt ceiling drama, we focus on ensuring Congress doesn’t regulate the boom into a bust (or allow Obama to enact a crushing Executive Order). How truly liberating it would be to free ourselves from Middle East oil and green energy self-righteousness.