Sunoco will employ U.S. steel and union steelworkers to build an export market for Pennsylvania shale gas
December 27, 2015 12:00 AM
By Leo W. Gerard and Bobby McAuliffe
Made in America by union workers” has long been the rallying cry of the United Steelworkers and thousands of other union tradesmen and women. Many responsible companies have adopted this philosophy in helping to create family-sustaining jobs. It is with great pride that we thank Sunoco Logistics for making a commitment to use American steel and to support the men and women who make it with the construction of the company’s Mariner East 1 and 2 pipeline projects.
As the steel industry continues to navigate its way through consolidation and compete against cheap foreign steel imports, the industry has seen new hope with the shale-gas boom, particularly in Pennsylvania. Key to fueling a resurgence in American manufacturing is low-cost, abundant energy, and the natural-gas and oil boom is providing it. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania still lacks the pipeline infrastructure to move the products to where they’re needed.
Sunoco Logistics is one of many energy companies undertaking an unprecedented build-out of pipelines. These build-outs require steel — lots of it. While other companies focus on traditional natural-gas (methane) pipelines, Sunoco is investing $3 billion in Pennsylvania to transport natural-gas liquids such as propane, ethane and butane, which also come out of the ground in the natural-gas extraction process.
Sunoco’s Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2 pipeline projects — built to move natural gas liquids from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in southeast Pennsylvania — include at least 400 miles of new steel pipe.
Sunoco Logistics has been doing it the right way from the very start in Pennsylvania, its home state.
For Mariner East 1, the company used manufacturers based in Pennsylvania. For instance, the U.S. Steel McKeesport facility will produce the pipe and nearby Dura-Bond in Duquesne will add protective coating. This project is a prime example of one Pennsylvania company sharing supply-chain opportunities with other Pennsylvania businesses.
Sunoco also engaged with our union brothers and sisters in the Laborers International Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Union of Operating Engineers for Mariner East 1. By relying on local trades, the company ensured that the best-trained professionals were deployed to build the pipeline to meet or exceed federal safety requirements. Safety is of utmost importance to pipeline companies and to the people building them — after all, we live where we work.
The good news for the steel industry continues with Mariner East 2: All of its 350 miles of new pipe will be bought and rolled from American steel plants across the country, a majority of which are USW-represented. That’s more than 75,000 tons of steel for this project alone.
Overall, the Mariner East pipeline projects will support 30,000 jobs along their routes during construction. Once both lines are operational, they will generate $100 million to $150 million in annual economic impact and support 300 to 400 full-time jobs.
In addition to wages that support families, the projects provide critical apprenticeship-training opportunities. And the payroll taxes on those workers will generate tax revenue for communities along the route.
Additionally, easy access to an abundant supply of affordable energy will encourage more companies to do business in our region, spurring even more jobs and new economic activity for existing businesses.
Thanks to the investment of companies like Sunoco Logistics in our nation’s energy infrastructure and in American-made and union-affiliated steel and related labor, we can turn the state’s and nation’s manufacturing rebirth into a long-term, sustainable way of life.
Leo W. Gerard is international president of the United Steelworkers and Bobby McAuliffe is director of USW District 10, which encompasses all locals in Pennsylvania.
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