Shale gas is big news

The big news in this issue is detailed in our Special Report on shale gas. Several months in development, our report catalogs an abundance of infrastructure projects being planned and built across the U.S. This includes new pipelines and gas turbine plants. With abundant gas being made available across a wider zone, expect to see more announcements about new, upgraded or converted gas plants in the coming months.

Then there are the chemical process industries, long-time users of large-scale turbomachinery. There hasn’t been a major process plant built in the U.S. in over a decade, and now several have been unveiled along with expansion plans for existing facilities. That means orders for ethane crackers using such equipment as PGT25+G4 aeroderivatives and barrel compressors. Just as this issue goes to press, Shell announced a multi-billion dollar cracker to be built near Pittsburgh, PA.

And then there is LNG. The U.S. LNG import business fizzled several years ago due to faulty economics. Those same terminals are being retooled to export shale gas to a world happy to pay a premium. Perhaps a dozen multi-train liquefaction projects are on the table.

Our cover story provides plenty of numbers confirming a U.S. gas glut which is projected to last for decades. An Anadarko executive just went on the record as saying there is a 200-year supply under American soil. Such a quantity of gas is already translating into sales. At the Western Turbine User Conference in March, analyst Mark Axford said that the U.S. GT orders (in MW) increased by 31% last year and that we would see an uptick of another 20% in 2012. The global data, he said, showed an even rosier picture. His numbers will be recorded in our next issue.

Speaking of worldwide, we traveled to Italy in late January to attend the GE Oil & Gas annual meeting (Page 22). The longterm projections for oil & gas production are bullish to say the least. Conclusion: Those who continue to provide competitive turbomachinery products in the coming decades are likely to experience strong demand.

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