Posts tagged “natural gas”

Coal executive predicts more layoffs due to weak market

The head of Alpha Natural Resources, the largest coal producer in West Virginia, said the mine closures and layoffs the company announced last month probably won’t be the last this year.

Kevin Crutchfield, Alpha’s chief executive officer, also said he is concerned that the United States is following a regulatory path that will eventually turn the nation irrevocably away from coal and raise prices.

Alpha is the nation’s largest supplier of metallurgical coal, which is used in steel making, and the company is a major supplier of steam coal used by utilities to generate electricity.

Coal markets have weakened in recent months. Metallurgical coal demand has softened because of slower growth in China and India and ongoing financial uncertainty in Europe. Steam coal demand has softened because warm weather across much of the United States has reduced electricity generation.

On Feb. 3, Alpha announced that subsidiaries in Kentucky and West Virginia would idle four mines immediately and two others by early 2013, while several other mines altered work schedules or reduced the number of production crews.

NPR: Project's Promise Of Jobs Has Appalachia Seeing Stars

Gas-rich Ohio is in the running for a $2 billion chemical plant

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A giant chemical plant that processes natural gas is coming to the Midwest and Ohio leaders hope the state’s newly tapped gas deposits, coupled with growing industries that use gas products, make Ohio the favored location.

Shell Chemical is finalizing plans for a $2 billion complex that is expected to create hundreds of jobs and pull other industries and manufacturers into its orbit. Shell has said only that it plans to build in either West Virginia, Pennsylvania or Ohio, three states that overlay ancient shale beds rich in natural gas.

Major cities like Cleveland are not considered contenders but they could certainly be affected. Any location will likely be rural, but not remote.

The plant needs hundreds of acres of land, according to Dan Carlson, Shell Chemical’s general manager of new business development in the Americas. Shell would also like access to railroads, river barges, a skilled workforce and university researchers, Carlson said via email.

"What we’re looking for is cost-effectiveness and ease in moving this project forward quickly," he added.