Ohio Chemistry Technology Council Encouraged by Progress on Rover Pipeline

by Jenn Klein, President of the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council

After over two years of review, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has finally granted approval for construction of the Rover Pipeline, a $4.2 billion investment into the national economy that will create a new means for energy consumers throughout the region to power their homes and businesses – including chemical manufacturing businesses here in Ohio. 

Since 1988, the Ohio Chemistry Technology Council has advocated for the state’s chemical manufacturing sector. Our 73 member companies directly employ over 43,000 people and indirectly support an additional 131,000 jobs nationwide.

However, an old and outdated energy pipeline system throughout the region has left chemical manufacturers and other businesses without adequate access to natural gas – by far the cheapest and most reliable means of powering what is an incredibly energy intensive industry. This is why projects like the Rover Pipeline are vital to the state’s businesses and energy consumers.

Not only is natural gas a dependable and clean-burning source with which to power chemical manufacturing plants, but its byproducts such as methanol and ammonia are frequently-used ingredients in many crucial products such as fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, plastics and other goods that would not be available without the services and compounds provided by Ohio's chemical businesses.

These companies provide other businesses with the essential ingredients they require to operate. Altogether, the chemical industry in the United States is an enormous economic powerhouse, comprising over 25% of America’s GDP. Chemical companies like those represented by the OCTC are together a $797 billion industry that supports over 810,000 manufacturing and high-tech jobs and nearly six million related positions.

More importantly, chemistry is an industry of progress and novelty, constantly looking for new ways to guarantee a safer and more sustainable future for millions of people around the globe. In 2015 alone, chemical companies invested over $93 billion in research and development to help foster these breakthroughs, making them even larger contributors to innovation than industries like automotive engineering or healthcare. 

Experts have also predicted that if allowed to continue at the current pace, natural gas development in the U.S. will allow these manufacturers to more than double their export of plastics and other chemical products by as soon as 2030; potentially growing these exports from $60 billion in 2014 to over $123 billion by 2030 from this surge in natural gas access and availability.

Currently, over 260 projects within the chemical industry, collectively valued at over $164 billion, are being planned or have already commenced. These projects alone have the potential to generate $93 billion annually and create well over 665,000 new permanent jobs by 2023. 

Without projects like the Rover Pipeline, chemical companies will be unable to access the affordable and reliable source of power that is natural gas – something they absolutely require if they are to meet the aforementioned goals and potential economic development. Once completed, the Rover Pipeline will be able to carry over 3.25 billion cubic feet of much-needed natural gas each day to these businesses, including those along the 570-mile portion through Ohio.

Further, the Rover project itself carries incredible economic value for Ohio. Over $135 million in property taxes will be generated for the state of Ohio during its first year in operation. Likewise, between 4,000 and 6,000 of the total 10,000 construction jobs created by Rover will go to Ohio workers. These funds and construction positions stand to create major positive impacts for the lives of hardworking Ohio residents.

The OCTC and its members are thrilled about the FERC’s approval of the Rover Pipeline project. We look forward to timely completion of the project and the reliable natural gas energy it will bring thousands of businesses across the region, including the 73 businesses of the OCTC. Infrastructure improvement projects like Rover are low risk, high reward endeavors that stimulate the economy and keep hardworking Americans employed – helping to ensure financial security and prosperity for thousands of households.

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