Gross natural gas production, primarily from the Marcellus Shale, exceeded more than 5 trillion cubic feet in 2016, making PA the nation’s second-largest national gas producer for the fourth consecutive year. This leap in production has also ranked us among the top three energy exporters in the United States, solidifying our role as a major net exporter of energy. Natural gas usage fits into many aspects of our economy, including heat, power, downstream manufacturing, and electricity generation. Other natural gas uses, such as compressed natural gas, offer inexpensive transportation fuel to companies who locate in the state. With Royal Dutch Shell’s planned ethylene plant and a local, reliable, and inexpensive source of feedstock, plastics products manufacturing stands to grow exponentially.
Natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) – particularly ethane and propane – are powering our economy. These resources can be used in a variety of ways, including as fuel for heat and electricity generation, transportation fuel, and as valuable feedstock for downstream manufacturing of plastics and chemicals
An independent study produced by IHS Markit states that the Marcellus and Utica region has the supply and the means to recover enough ethane to support the development of an additional four world-scale ethane crackers to produce polyethylene (PE), a key resin and foundational building block for a wide variety of plastics products. This would be in addition to the planned Shell ethane cracker plant in Southwestern Pennsylvania announced in 2016.
A world-class workforce begins with a world-class education, and in Pennsylvania, we have both. In a rapidly-evolving industry such as advanced manufacturing, we want to make sure our workforce has access to programs that enable them to update and expand their skills to stay on top of new demands in the field. Top-notch, customizable workforce training ensures our graduates are prepared for multiple industries and are able to grow with the industries in which they work.
Natural Gas Employment
As of the second quarter of 2016, there were an estimated 52,531 people in Pennsylvania employed either in natural gas extraction development, by suppliers to the industry, or at companies that provide goods and services to the industry’s employees. Direct employment in natural gas development grew from 9,017 to 19,623 over the past nine years of the Marcellus boom, an increase of 10,606. This increase in direct employment led to an additional estimated 6,284 jobs at suppliers and 9,839 jobs at companies that provide goods and services to the industry’s employees. To read more updates about the Marcellus Shale industry in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Dept. of Labor & Industry’s website.
Workforce Training Resources
Eligible in-state businesses and out-of-state companies relocating to PA can apply to WEDNetPA to access training funds, which can be used for a wide range of training, from welding and quality assurance to software engineering and advanced manufacturing technology, and more.
ShaleNET is a job training program that leverages the collective experience of industry, the public workforce system, and its consortium colleges to help individuals build lasting careers in the oil and natural gas industry. It concentrates on developing a highly skilled workforce to fill the gaps in upstream, midstream, and downstream energy jobs using a stackable credential model with one-year certificate programs and two-year Associate Degree programs.
The Shale Training & Education Center (ShaleTEC) is a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania College of Technology and the Penn State Extension that serves as the central resource for workforce development and education needs of the community and natural gas industry. Based in Williamsport, PA, ShaleTEC offers programs such as:
- workforce needs assessment
- customized training
- industry-specific training
- new technology development
- on-site training
Companies in PA
Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry currently comprises more than 72,133 people that are employed in either natural gas extraction development, by suppliers to the industry or at companies that provide goods and services to the industry. With natural gas production continuing to rise, the industry is poised for continue growth in the state.
Major Energy Employers
Resources & Funding
Pennsylvania’s natural gas and natural gas liquid (NGL) resources are abundant and cost competitive. From upstream production, to midstream processing, and downstream manufacturing, natural gas and NGLs are creating economic opportunities across the state. The IHS Markit study — Prospects to Enhance Pennsylvania’s Opportunities in Petrochemical Manufacturing — forecasts $2.7 to $3.7 billion in investments in NGL assets and infrastructure as well as the opportunity to attract additional cracker plants, and petrochemical and plastics manufacturing.
The following case studies highlight the diverse ways natural gas and NGLs are transforming the way companies are doing business and are powering our economy.
Pennsylvania has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a real energy renaissance — and to capture the broader benefits to our economy and communities that go with it. To learn more about the energy programs offered by the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), please visit dced.pa.gov/programs
The Alternative and Clean Energy Program (ACE) provides financial assistance in the form of grant and loan funds that will be used by eligible applicants for the utilization, development, and construction of alternative and clean energy projects, infrastructure associated with compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas fueling stations, plus energy efficiency and energy conservation projects in the state.
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Resources
DEP has dozens of grants and loans, as well as rebates, to assist individuals, groups and businesses with a host of environmental issues. To learn more, view a list of available grants, loans and rebates, a description of each program, links to applications and eligibility information below.
Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE)
The Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) provides grants to construct the last few miles of natural gas distribution lines to business parks, existing manufacturing and industrial enterprises, which will result in the creation of new economic base jobs in the commonwealth while providing access to natural gas for residents.