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Dream Stealers: Closer Than We Think

Dream Stealers: Closer Than We Think

By Greg Kozera–

I received an email from a reader recently. He read an editorial saying we shouldn’t be going after a cracker plant and all the jobs it will create because of the possible risk to public health and the environment. The editorial writer apparently had a job. Maybe it didn’t matter others don’t and may lose the opportunity to have a high wage job. That is a classic dream stealer. The writer probably doesn’t realize how important jobs, especially high wage jobs are to this Region especially southeast Ohio. They may not realize they are stealing someone’s hope and dreams.

We have a friend with a family who is a union journeyman electrician. He was underemployed until he started working at the Shell Cracker construction site. He is now earning a 6-figure income. That is a big deal for a young father. All of the hours of study and work at electrician school along with on the job training paid off. He doesn’t have a college loan to repay. He was prepared and needed an opportunity. The Shell Cracker was the opportunity. The PTT cracker can be the next opportunity and it is closer to home.

Many people including the writer of the editorial may not understand the importance of ethane crackers that produce polyethylene pellets needed for plastic products. This isn’t about plastic bags and straws that we should all properly dispose of. Those are only a small fraction of the uses for plastics.

People around the world are concerned about the coronavirus. Our first line of defense against this virus is plastics from petrochemicals. I noticed on TV this morning in both hospital and quarantine areas most of the things are from plastics and petrochemicals from a cracker. Products like latex gloves, disposable protective clothing, disposable gowns, masks, packaging of all types including medical equipment to keep it sterile, like IVs. These are essential to keeping us safe and helping people to get well. Infection control is the biggest challenge hospitals have. The next time you go to your doctor’s office or a hospital notice all the high tech medical equipment from different types plastic from petrochemicals. Things like artificial limbs, knees and hips could not exist without specialty plastics. The computers and pads used by medical professionals to monitor our vitals and keep track of medications started in a cracker somewhere. Cell phones are also made possible by specialty plastics from a cracker.

How important is having ethane crackers here? Why not let the Gulf Coast, Asian, Russian, European and Middle East crackers continue to make our ethylene pellets for the products we use every day? Since we now have the natural gas and natural gas liquids here, it is more efficient and cheaper to have the pellets made where most of the manufacturers making products are and where most people that buy them live. Over 70% of the demand for polyethylene and polypropylene is in the Shale Crescent USA Region.

The Gulf Coast has hurricanes routinely, like Harvey that can disrupt supply and increase the price of product. Foreign sources can also be disrupted. When we talk to Asian companies their biggest concern is a secure energy and feedstock supply. They understand supply disruption. This is another reason why Asian companies are looking at our Region, the Shale Crescent USA. This is the only place in the world where a company can build on top of their energy and feedstock and in the middle of their customers. If we are going to use the products isn’t to better to see new high wage jobs created here in our Region rather than in Asia?

I was on a University of Colorado student radio show recently. The host understood. He made this statement on air, “We don’t like wells or petrochemical plants but we like our skis, climbing ropes, cars and cell phones. If we are going to have those things isn’t it better for them to be made here under US environmental law where they will provide American jobs.”

Many times, dream stealers are good people concerned about us but doesn’t have all the facts when they try to discourage us. I saw this in physical therapy after my injury. I know my body better than anyone. My physical therapist learned my capabilities and could push me. Some people tried to discourage me about moving too fast in my recovery. They didn’t expect me to be walking without assistance and driving already.

The same thing can happen with the dream stealers that are anti fossil fuel and anti-cracker. Just say “No” to development can be bad for people and the environment. They don’t have a full understanding of facts and basic engineering. As an environmentalist and an environmental engineer, I’m concerned with measurable RESULTS that have a positive impact on people’s lives and the environment. I have been blessed to be involved with projects that have improved the environment and people’s lives. At Shale Crescent USA, we are working with companies that want to come here and use new technology to recycle plastics. They will bring good jobs and help to create the first sustainable petrochemical hub.

We need to think globally. If we don’t help places like China and India with their CO2 emissions we will suffer. Just like the coronavirus, pollution won’t stay in China. Crackers built in this Region will be the cleanest and most efficient in the world. They will likely cause some inefficient, polluting foreign crackers to be shut down. Global population is expected to increase 2 billion people by 2050. The middle class globally is growing. All of this will create demand for petrochemicals and the products they make. New crackers will be built. Better here under US environmental law providing US jobs than other places.

Beware the dream stealers. We need to help them to understand the rest of the story.

© 2020 Shale Crescent USA

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.