Tags: ross | shale | economy | transform

Wilbur Ross: Shale Gas Could Transform US Economy

By Forrest Jones and Kathleen Walter   |   Thursday, 27 Dec 2012 05:50 PM

Policies that allow for the extraction of natural gas and oil in the country's shale deposits could transform the U.S. economy by creating jobs and improving the country's balance of payments, said Wilbur Ross, chairman and CEO of WL Ross and Co.

Attempts to burden the energy sector with heavy-handed regulation could wipe out growth in the sector and crimp a sector otherwise poised for lasting growth.

"We are very keen on shale gas. We have been for quite some time. I think it's the one thing that could transform the economy, and the great thing about it is it doesn't need any federal money," Ross told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview. "All it needs is the federal people not to over-regulate and let it flourish."

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Investments are flowing into the sector, Ross points out, meaning jobs are sure to follow if policy cultivates drilling of fossil fuels and doesn't hamper it.

"You are seeing BASF, the big German chemical company, putting a plant into Louisiana instead of into Germany. You are seeing Dow Chemical for the first time put chemical plants back into the U.S. because shale gas and the related type oil are, in fact, the feedstocks for chemicals and plastics and all sorts of things," Ross said.

Video: Economist Predicts 'Unthinkable' for 2013 

"Shale gas, if left to flourish, could create several hundred thousand more jobs."

It could also pump billions of dollars into the U.S. economy by reducing dependency on imports from the Middle East and elsewhere by perhaps 4.5 million barrels a day, Ross said.

"Think about the implication of that. That's $450 million a day less negative balance of payments for the U.S. It could be huge."

"I think it's the one thing that has the power to be transformative and meanwhile, it is also less pollutive and that's the remarkable thing because shale gas is not only cheaper, it emits much less carbon dioxide than coal."

Video: Economist Predicts 'Unthinkable' for 2013 

Manufacturers are planning more than $90 billion worth of investments in the U.S. to take advantage of the country's cheap natural gas, the Financial Times reported recently.

Makers of petrochemicals, fuels, fertilizer and steel are among those who have either committed are seriously considering investing in the U.S., home to cheap energy and feedstocks.

More from the exclusive Wilbur Ross interview:

Wilbur Ross: France May Be ‘Sick Man of Europe’

Wilbur Ross Sees Recession, Warns of 'Greek' Situation

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