"We've always known the potential of shale; we just didn't have the technology to get to it at a low enough cost. Now new techniques have driven down the price tag—and set the stage for shale gas to become what will be the game-changing resource of the decade (see map above of shale gas areas in the U.S.).
I have been studying the energy markets for 30 years, and I am convinced that shale gas will revolutionize the industry—and change the world—in the coming decades. It will prevent the rise of any new cartels. It will alter geopolitics. And it will slow the transition to renewable energy."
"Demand for steel tubes is being fueled by natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. That has brought life to Youngstown, an Ohio steel town that had lost thousands of jobs over the decades. On the edge of the Mahoning River, where once stood dozens of blast furnaces, more than 400 workers are constructing what long has been considered unthinkable: a new $650 million steel plant. When complete, it will stand 10 stories tall, occupy one million square feet and make a half million tons of seamless steel tubes used in "fracking" or drilling for natural gas in shale basins.
France's Vallourec & Mannesmann Holdings Inc., one of the world's largest makers of steel tubes for the energy market, has decided to build the plant here next to an existing facility for two main reasons. Youngstown has an experienced steelmaking work force and the city is at the door of the Marcellus Shale, a natural-gas basin beneath New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
Shale drilling, with its network of horizontal pipes, consumes huge amounts of steel tubes and pipe. Steel also is needed to build rigs and excavators for extracting gas.
Meanwhile, increased natural-gas production helps push gas prices lower. That makes steelmakers, which use natural gas for heating, more competitive in global markets as energy costs decline. Forging companies, which make components for drilling equipment and other machines and tools, rely almost entirely on natural gas to heat ovens to 2,300 degrees.
"They need natural gas to make products, which are needed to get the gas that services them," says Roy Hardy of the Forging Industry Association trade group.
The outgoing mayor admits, "I never envisioned a new steel mill in Youngstown."
MP: But that was before the shale gas revolution, Mr. Mayor!