Looking to the future

To the Editor,

This past month I attended the Marcellus to Manufacturing Meeting in Morgantown. This meeting has been held for the past seven years and has laid the road map for use of the abundant resources (Natural Gas and natural gas liquids) present in our area. The meeting was noteworthy in that the speakers assembled represented federal, state, and local government as well as members of the manufacturing community.

Those present were treated to opening remarks by Mr. Steve Winberg, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy in charge of fossil fuel. Mr. Winberg outlined his support for the Appalachian Storage Hub and the development of industry. He sees over 400,000 new jobs in the production and manufacturing sector of the country with many of these jobs coming to this area.

Mr. Dr. Brian Anderson of the West Virginia Energy Research Institute was the next speaker. He explained how the Chinese effort to assist West Virginia came about. The help that the WVU Energy Institute provided to the Chinese electric utility was the basis for the 83 billion dollar Memorandum of Understanding with the State of West Virginia.

Woody Thrasher of the West Virginia Department of Commerce briefed the attendees on the Chinese energy infrastructure initiative. The Chinese have held 15 meetings in West Virginia and was about to hold the 16th in the Mountain state since the Memorandum of Understanding was signed.

A report was provided by HIS Markit, a Boston based financial analysis and marketing firm. The analysis of the ethane market indicates that the Marcellus region is the low cost producer of ethane in the WORLD. This indicates a major cost benefit to manufacturing in the Marcellus region.

The Southern States Energy Committee brought news that all governors (16) of the states comprising the committee have signed on to the support of the ethane hub. These include the governors of Texas and Louisiana, which are states that currently host cracker plants.

The reason I am providing the information obtained at this conference is simple. Rarely have the pieces of the puzzle been so well aligned for economic success. We need to continue to move the agenda for bringing jobs and prosperity to the valley. It will require hard work, but will be worth the effort.

It is up to all of us to play a part in this new phase of the state’s history. We are all in this together, and success will depend upon cooperation.

Mark P. Zatezalo

Delegate District 1