The rush towards natural gas is also turning natural gas pipeline construction into a booming business for jobs and investment, with more than $200 billion capital investment and an additional 125,000 jobs expected in the next 25 years, according to a Black & Veatch study released on Friday.
The study, which was commissioned by the INGAA Foundation, estimates that construction of necessary new pipelines will generate more than $171 billion in labor income, with jobs that pay on average about $65,000. The investment will fund an average of 2,000 miles of new natural gas transmission lines each year through 2035, according to the study.
The study also estimates $46 billion in capital investment for NGL and oil pipeline infrastructure.
Contracts for March delivery of natural gas are currently trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at a low price of $2.54. But experts have said that, even with the low prices, the lack of capacity of natural gas pipelines is holding back its greater adoption in the United States.
“Going to a system that requires 99 percent reliability of a supply of natural gas is going to require a huge amount of pipeline building,” said Ed Hirs, an energy economics professor at the University of Houston. “The pipeline network is not currently structured to move enough natural gas to the East Coast if it is a cold winter.”