News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture

Lehmans

Meaden & Moore


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


EU need for U.S. natural gas may boost OH shale boom
Production from Ohio wells has increased dramatically in the past year, but is still short of what was once predicted
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Liquefied Natural Gas tanker - courtesy of Wikipedia
Courtesy of Wikipedia
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The Germans want our natural gas.  As do the Italians; and half a dozen other European nations hoping to reduce their dependence on Russia for energy.  That could mean billions in Stark, Columbiana, and Carroll Counties, along with the rest of Ohio' Utica shale country.  But, WKSU' Tim Rudell says U.S. law makes it hard to export natural gas -- although, some in Washington are trying to change that.

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:27)


Many of the federal rules about exporting natural gas were World War II and Cold War safeguards for what was thought to be a limited U.S. gas supply. But, in more recent times huge deposits of gas-bearing shale have been identified in the northeast and other parts of the country. Congressman Bill JohnsonSixth District Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson says that makes the regulations not only obsolete, but detrimental. “Development of the resource has not taken off because we are not allowed by law to export. And we are sitting on what many experts believe is the largest reservoir of oil and natural gas in the world…in the Utica and Marcellus shale.”

Prices stifled
Johnson says the domestic natural gas market has long been saturated. So, unless energy companies can sell their product production overseas they can’t afford to bring new shale gas sources on line.  And Ohio’s Utica Shale boom…won’t. At least not like it was expected to. He supported a bill that would overhaul federal natural gas export rules. The House passed it last month. But the measure will have a harder time in the Senate where 21 members, including Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, have already written President Obama asking him to take no executive action to loosen regulations. Higher gas demand may be good for drillers and their potential part in the economic recovery in states like Ohio, the lawmakers say. But they worry it will also drive up prices for things like home heating, hurt consumer, and harm business development in other ways.

Industry is concerned
about price increases too. Keven Kolevar is V.P. of Government Affairs for Dow Chemical. “Some studies have said Kevin Kolevar, VP Dow Chemcialthat over the last couple of years Americans have saved an average, a household average, of $1,000 to $2,000 a year because of the lower energy costs. Well, that savings is also true for America’s manufacturing sector.” 

Another perspective on economic recovery
Kolevar says low-price natural gas will help economic recovery in places like Ohio more than a boom for oil and gas drillers can. Cheap energy gives domestic manufactures an off-set for the cheap-labor advantage many foreign companies have enjoyed for decades. That can mean a halt, even a reversal, of the flow of American jobs off shore. And, he says, Dow and other chemical companies, and the makers of synthetic products can gain competitively too—and have more secure work forces in place like Ohio--because natural gas is feed-stock, a major source of raw material, and a big ticket item in those industries.  “There are few states where this is more important. Ohio is ranked, I think, number five overall in manufacturing. And Ohio is the biggest manufacturer of plastics in the country.” 

Kolevar says Dow is not opposed to expanding natural gas exports. On the contrary, the company wants to get market prices to rise enough to give energy companies incentive to develop resources like Ohio’s Utica Shale. But Dow wants that done in a controlled way, in which prices don’t go up so much that American businesses lose their current competitive advantage in energy costs.

Threat questioned
Rice University economist Kenneth Medlock, however, says fears about U.S. exports leading to huge price hikes or great price volatility are unfounded.  “The fact of the matter is, it will work exactly the opposite.Dr. Kenneth Medlock, Rice University” An analyst and nationally quoted expert on energy pricing, he says domestic gas supplies and prices tend to fluctuate directly with demand. A bitter winter day spikes demand…prices spike. Export supplies on the other hand tend to be processed more evenly, due to long-term contracts. So, when gas is being produced to supply both domestic and export markets if there is a surge in immediate demand on the domestic side, gas in the export system can be used short-term to meet it without greatly pressuring the export inventor in its normal time frame. “It’s sort of like adding a certain amount of volume back into a market that needs it. If anything that’ll help keep a lid on price and price volatility.” 

Meanwhile, as lawmakers and economists debate the issue, European countries continue to pressure the U.S. to…provide an alternative to Russian natural gas. Movement of some sort on the issue on Capitol Hill could come by the summer’s end.

Related WKSU Stories

Midstream growth fuels fracking boom
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Utica shale gas processors boost capacity
Monday, May 12, 2014

Joint venture is putting $200 million more into eastern Ohio gas plant
Monday, May 12, 2014

BP pulls out of Ohio's Utica shale
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's Supreme Court narrowly upholds Ashford Thompson's death sentence
"Justices" William O’Neill, Paul Pfeifer and Judith Lanzinger should all be immediately removed from the court. If they could actually believe that this murde...

Ohio's Sen. Brown is pushing for more assistance for homeless vets
That would be a great program to have for the homeless vets. Many of them are still suffering from PTSD even from the Vietnam war.

Lordstown GM plant plans to install 8,500 solar panels
How much will this solar array cost? How is it being funded, and who is really paying for it? How much real useful electricity will it actually produce in MEh p...

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University