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Natural Gas Abundance May Spur Energy Boom

First Posted: Feb 03, 2014 08:20 PM EST

During last week's State of the Union Address, President Obama highlighted the importance of the energy boom as a means for economic revival. "One of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy," he said. "Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas."

Representing one percent of these investments, industrialist John Correnti announced last year that he planned to open a $1 billion steel mill in Osceola, Arkansas, claiming that the site is "steel-mill heaven." And many believe that manufacturing jobs can make a big comeback, especially with the help of entrepreneurs like Correnti.

But 7.5 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since the 1970s, so it's unknown whether or not the abundance of natural gas can bring manufacturing back to where it once was. However, there is a lot of optimism on the subject matter.

"Increased oil and gas supplies will bring an economic renaissance to the United States," said petroleum economist Philip Verleger in this National Geographic article. "Energy independence, once thought unrealistic, will be achieved."

IHS, a leading research firm for U.S. and international engineering and technical standards, predicts that 3.8 million new jobs will be created by 2025 as a result of the natural gas industry. This forecast is now used to demand from the government to "give the natural gas industry the means to succeed", which would require more access to federal land for drilling and no new regulations regarding the matter.

The International Energy Agency projected that the United States will accumulate an export cost advantage of five to 25 percent over other countries in the next decade as long as natural gas prices stay low. This advantage will be over leading countries that include Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan in various industries that include plastics, rubber, machinery, electrical equipment, computers and electronics.

If the natural gas issue can remain atop the political discourse, job creation and economic stability could be heralded in the headlines in the coming decade.

Visit this National Geographic article to read more about all of the industries and agencies involved in the natural gas abundance.

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