May 17, 2020

Getting started in the U.S. natural gas supply chain

Oil Supply Chain
Supply Chain Digital
Marcellus Shale
Freddie Pierce
3 min
A new white paper talks about how companies can get involved in the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale supply chain
Energy companies are looking at both the Marcellus and Utica Shale natural gas reserves to supplement the nation's energy supply and to keep gas co...

Energy companies are looking at both the Marcellus and Utica Shale natural gas reserves to supplement the nation's energy supply and to keep gas commodity costs in check. The Marcellus Shale formation stretches from the edge of Maryland to Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Appalachian Ohio region along the Ohio River. The boundaries of the deeper Utica Shale formation extend under the Marcellus Shale region and beyond. Shale gas has the potential to meet the total U.S. natural gas demand for generations.

Proximity to the population centers of the United States and Canada, along with the expected longevity of the resource, establishes the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations as an important long-term and stable source of natural gas supply for the eastern United States. Energy companies that want to maximize their investment in establishing a supply operation to support drilling, processing or delivering the natural gas derived from shale formations must identify a central location that is proximate to all five states that occupy the formation.

A new white paper by the Ohio Business Development Coalition looks at how Ohio's Appalachian Region provides supply chain companies with cost-effective and easy access to all states involved in the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas industry, while maximizing return on investment now and over the life of the shale gas reserves.

Ohio is the ideal location choice for Tier I and II suppliers to efficiently and affordably supply the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas industry, offering a central location, logistics infrastructures, a skilled workforce and a favorable state tax structure. Everything that made Ohio the ideal location choice for suppliers to the automotive industry is in place for Tier I and II suppliers to leverage to efficiently and affordably supply the Marcellus and Utica Shale gas industry. This standing capability results in lower operating costs and maximum return on investment.

Extracting and distributing shale gas requires supplies, including drill bits, pipes and fixtures, machinery, sand, water, containers, measurement tools and safety equipment, just to mention a few examples. Every well is unique, making it important to have fast access to a full range of support services to ensure commercial success.

Shale gas supply chain companies are finding Ohio is optimally situated in the five-state Marcellus and Utica Shale region to achieve the fastest return on their start-up investment and to benefit from both the state's manufacturing know-how and its world-class logistics infrastructure.

“The Kasich administration is focused on economic development opportunities related to shale - upstream, midstream and downstream. We believe this industry has the potential to 'move the needle' in regards to Ohio's economy,” David Mustine, energy manager of JobsOhio said.

According to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the state has over 54,000 miles of natural gas distribution pipeline. Ohio's highway system provides easy access to customers involved in the extraction and distribution of shale gas in each of the five-state Marcellus and Utica Shale region.

In addition, components and finished goods can be shipped quickly to supply chain operations based in Ohio from anywhere in the U.S. or around the globe through Ohio's central location and world-class logistics infrastructure.

Supply chain companies that establish operations in Ohio can reduce operating costs with the state's favorable business climate, because there is no tax on inventory or corporate income tax. Companies also can boost return on investment with no tax on purchases of machinery and equipment. This means a supply chain operation can keep everything on hand that a drilling operation will need without bearing an incremental tax burden.

Perhaps the most significant tax benefit supply chain companies will gain is that products or services sold to customers outside of Ohio are not taxed by the state. Companies located in Ohio can easily do business with the other four states located in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region without having to pay Ohio state tax on revenue.

Edited by Kevin Scarpati

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Jun 21, 2021

Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight

2 min
Elon Musk’s tunnelling firm plans underground freight tunnels with shipping containers moved on “battery-powered freight carriers”, according to reports

Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports. 

A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers. 

Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US. 

The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two. 


Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels

The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.

The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete. 

Tesla’s supply chain woes 

Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue. 

Elon Musk Tweet

Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely

Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany

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