By WENDY HOLDREN
BECKLEY, W.Va. — In an effort to create jobs and economic growth in West Virginia, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., have introduced legislation to help establish the Appalachian Storage Hub.
The Capitalizing American Storage Potential (CASP) Act would make a regional storage hub eligible for the Department of Energy’s successful Title XVII loan guarantee program, allowing the Mountain State to realize the unique opportunities associated with Appalachia’s abundant natural gas liquids (NGLs) resources, naturally-occurring geologic storage and expanding energy infrastructure.
“The Appalachian Storage Hub is a vital American energy infrastructure project that will enhance energy and national security while leveraging the region’s unique energy resources for the long-term economic benefit of families, manufacturers and communities in nearby states and across the nation,” Manchin said. “This storage hub will create jobs and expand the economy in the Appalachian region, which has been affected by the decline in energy production and manufacturing in the region.”
Manchin said because of the regional nature of the project and West Virginia’s abundant natural resources, the loan program will not only help secure private sector investment into a natural gas liquids storage hub, but it will create economic benefits and resilience for the surrounding communities by attracting related investment.
“An Appalachian storage hub has the potential to be a game-changer for West Virginia,” Capito said. “Not only would a regional storage hub help us make the most of our energy potential, but it would create jobs and spur economic growth, benefiting communities across the state.”
American Chemistry Council President and CEO Cal Dooley said, “The prospect of an Appalachian storage hub is an exciting opportunity for the region and the nation. We see it as a way to not only maintain, but advance, American competitiveness.”
Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center President and CEO Steven Hedrick added, “We are grateful that our elected officials are acting with both speed and visionary leadership to advantage America through purposeful infrastructure support, grounded in Appalachia where the largest known domestic shale gas reserves are found.”
According to a joint release from the senators, an abundance of wet natural gas in the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shale formations has recently resulted in significant announcements of new investment in the Appalachian region, particularly by the petrochemical industry.
The region’s supplies of natural gas liquids (NGLs) are highly underutilized, they said.
In a recent economic study, the American Chemistry Council concluded that the creation of such a hub would allow the Appalachian region to seize on the opportunities associated with these valuable natural resources, potentially attracting up to $36 billion in new chemical and plastics industry investment and creating 100,000 new jobs in the area.