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IHS Markit Study: Ohio Valley region will supply nearly half of USA's natural gas by 2040

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The Marcellus and Utica shale formations are among the largest sources of natural gas and NGLs in the world, and their production will increase exponentially in the next two decades, according to an IHS Markit study released at the World Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Natural gas from the tri-state region of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will supply 45% of the nation’s production by 2040, up from 31% this year, according to the study. The production of the highly lucrative NGLs ethane, propane, and butane is expected to nearly double in the same period, accounting for 19% of the nation’s total by 2040, up from 14% in 2018, the study shows.

The study, ‘Estimated Logistics Benefits of the Shale Crescent USA Region Versus the U.S. Gulf Coast for Natural Gas and LPG’ examines both production trends and the economics of petrochemical production in the region.

“Research continues to drive home the myriad economic advantages for manufacturers in the Shale Crescent region when compared to other, more traditionally accepted energy and chemical hubs,” said Wally Kandel, spokesperson for Shale Crescent USA. “Investors are catching on that the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations offer unprecedented benefits. There are few other places in the world, if any, where the supply, manufacturing facilities and end users are all in close proximity.”

The IHS study, commissioned by Shale Crescent USA and JobsOhio, quantifies for the first time the anticipated development and production growth emerging from one of the world’s most prolific sources of natural gas and natural gas liquids. In 2018, an IHS study evaluated the prospects for a world-scale ethylene and polyethylene plant based on ethane feedstock in the Shale Crescent region.

The 2019 study says the region “will play a key role in satisfying America’s increasing reliance on natural gas, as well as keeping energy costs moderate. Favourable production economics place the Marcellus and Utica shale plays amongst the most cost competitive in the nation.”

The study found that by 2020, cost advantages for the production of various NGLs in the Midwest vs the Gulf Coast are expected to range from 6% to 26%. The savings are impacting petrochemical company expansion plans.

“The abundance of natural gas and natural gas liquids has impacted our project pipeline,” said Dana Saucier Jr., JobsOhio Vice President & Head of Economic Development. “We are in conversations with companies seeking to expand as well as construct new plants in the region. The IHS study quantifies the economic advantages of investing in the Marcellus and Utica formations.”

“In addition to the significant cost advantages, the Shale Crescent has the benefit of being located in an area of the country rarely impacted by extreme weather,” Saucier said. “Investors are taking notice.”

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