On August 29, 2017, West Virginia University's Energy Institute presented its results on a study focused on our region's ability to attract and support the petrochemical industry through the development of a natural gas liquids storage hub. Natural gas liquids (NGLs) create the building blocks used in the petrochemical industry to make the things we use every day. The group announced there is great potential in the ability of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to store natural gas liquids. A number of locations, including areas in West Virginia, were identified as best options for storing NGLs. It is wasted potential for us here in the Appalachian Region not to keep and use the natural gas liquids that are in such abundance right beneath us. Add that to the fact that this area has a rich history of petrochemical activity and is primed for its resurgence.As the results of this study were being announced, another MAJOR reason for the need for the Appalachian Storage Hub presented itself – Hurricane Harvey. The catastrophic storm shut down 13 percent of the refining capacity in the United States as of August 28th, causing fuel prices to surge. Nearly 19 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut down, the US Department of the Interior said on Monday. The debilitating effects of a hurricane on the gulf coast point to the need for creation of another large storage hub in the United States, geographically distant from the gulf coast. A petrochemical complex in Appalachia would provide increased security from any single natural or man-made event.
It is exciting to see West Virginia and our region on a path to make the most of our natural resources, creating thousands of jobs to spur economic growth for our state, and the security of our nation.