How Natural Gas Can Save the Manufacturing Industry

May 6, 2014 | American Manufacturing

Listen to   the Conversation John Patty: For a while now, we’ve seen a lot of American businesses relocating their manufacturing processes, and their jobs, overseas because, among other reasons, their energy costs were too high for their products to be competitive on the world stage. That might be about to change. Joining us is a local businessman, Drew Greenblatt. Drew is a president and owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products in Baltimore. Drew, thanks for joining us and tell us all how this might be changing all because of the natural gas industry.

Drew Greenblatt: We are very fortunate in Maryland State and our region because we’re sitting on a tremendous amount of natural gas, and it’s become very easy to extract it. This is something that wasn’t true in the past because of things like horizontal drilling and fracturing, or fracking, and this has made natural gas very accessible and very cheap to pull out of the ground. This is great for us because finally we have a wonderful accelerant to manufacturing because we have cheap energy to power us.

JP: You wrote a commentary in The Sun over the weekend where you stated that “Maryland has a chance to be among the first states to benefit from this projected economic boom.” How do you project they do that?

DG: Well, we should exploit this like we won the lottery, and all we have to do is go claim the ticket. We are in a wonderful position: we’re in the driver’s seat. Other states are taking advantage of this, like North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and they’re making a lot of money from this. They’re also, more importantly, creating a lot of jobs: and these are great jobs. You know, money, the employees who work in an oil rig get paid 80 grand, 100 grand, 120 grand a year, so these are great jobs and tax revenue. This is the kind of thing that can help us get rid of this recession right away in our state. In North Dakota, the unemployment rate’s under 1½%.

JP: I know there are some measures making their way through the state legislature. But there will be a lot of permits needed, a lot of approvals. What do you see as roadblocks in projected timelines here?

DG: Well, our neighboring states, like Pennsylvania, like Ohio, have taken advantage of this and they’ve done their environmental analysis and they’ve confirmed that there is no downside to this wonderful opportunity that lays underneath our ground. They’re going full steam ahead and because of that their land prices are going up, their tax base is going up, their tax revenue’s going up; that means more money for schools, more money for police, more money for fire departments, and again, more jobs. So, this is something we should take advantage of. Why should North Dakota, why should Pennsylvania, why should Ohio take advantage of it, and not our state?

JP: What part does Dominion of the state of Virginia play in all of this?

DG: Well, Dominion is, right now pursuing and exporting natural gas that’s in Ohio, that’s in Pennsylvania, and selling it to India, and selling it to Japan. We have an opportunity to export it through our state in Maryland and it’s gonna give us a short-term boom of a couple of thousand union employees: highly-paid to construct the facility. Then, long-term, it’s going to 75 high-paid jobs running the facility. This is an exporting terminal and it was designed originally to do importing, but because we have so much natural gas in our country, we can actually export it, and there’s a lot of countries out there that love to buy it from us.

JP: Well Drew, we’ll have to leave it there because of time. Drew Greenblatt, president and owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products here in Baltimore. Thanks for being with us today on Maryland News Now.

DG: Thank you and bye.

JP: Okay. End Transcript Overview: Thanks to the current surplus of natural gas in our country, we have the unique chance to revitalize our manufacturing industry by lowering energy costs and moving jobs back into our country. By investing in the infrastructure for natural gas processing and refining, we can create even more jobs outside of the manufacturing industry itself. Overall, the benefits of harvesting natural gas can help revitalize the economy, and several states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota are already reaping the benefits. Here at Marlin Steel, we’re dedicated to bringing a new American manufacturing renaissance, and natural gas could be a critical component of such a renewal in manufacturing. It is our hope that as the situation with natural gas continues to develop, we will see a marked increase in job creation and an overall boost to the economy.