John Deskins, director of WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, adds that for several years now, economic evidence has dominated the conversation in West Virginia that a booming natural gas industry has a great potential to spur the resurgence of the state’s manufacturing sector. Downstream manufacturing from a natural gas cracker plant in Pennsylvania and the operation of a highly discussed natural gas storage facility in the state could certainly change the economic landscape.
“A real, transformative opportunity lies in downstream activity,” said Deskins, who is also an associate professor of economics at WVU’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics. “And this is manufacturing opportunity, not extraction. We’ve been talking about this for several years. But just because there’s potential here, we can’t just assume it’s going to happen. It’s competitive out there and we need to be very aggressive in making this happen. The natural gas industry could be game-changing for West Virginia’s economy — without question.”