National security — it just got personal!

Our grandson, Calen just finished U.S. Marine Corps Basic Training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He is now a U.S. Marine. Even though he took the oath and was in Basic Training starting in mid-October he was just a recruit. You are not a Marine until you can complete Basic Training.

We are here at Parris Island for his graduation. The day before graduation is Family Day. We got to spend some base leave time with Calen, his parents (my son), his brothers and his other grandparents. When we last saw Calen in early October he was a boy. After 13 weeks of Marine Corps training he is now a man. He has a different attitude. He is positive and more confident. He stands taller. He treats people with respect, especially his parents and brothers. He actually missed them and was glad to see them. Hopefully these are permanent changes.

We got to tour the base and see some of the training facilities. We saw a short video of what their training consisted of. I can see why Calen has matured. Their training is physical, academic and mental. Calen said that he had no idea how difficult it would be. He thought about quitting a couple of times but pushed on. He is happy it is over and proud to graduate. We are also very proud of him.

Calen can now be sent anywhere at any time in defense of our country. The petrochemical industry with feed stocks and fuel from the oil and gas industry is responsible for Calen’s transportation, equipment, weapons systems, communication systems and uniforms. They produce the fuel that powers the equipment he takes into battle. Oil and natural gas are also the feedstocks for petrochemicals to make modern planes, tanks, weapons and communications equipment possible. Thanks to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing we can produce all of the fuel and petrochemical feedstocks we need right here in the USA. We are now the leading oil and gas producer in the world. We can fuel and equip our military without OPEC or Russian imports.

Gulf Coast Petrochemical Hub ethane crackers create the pellets and intermediate chemicals to allow converters (most of which are in the Shale Crescent USA) to make the products and materials our military needs. For national security, it is important to have another part of the country make these products and materials that isn’t subject to hurricanes. In December, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a report to Congress that the Shale Crescent USA can be the second petrochemical hub we need.

Companies won’t relocate or expand here just to help U.S. national security. They will come if it is profitable. The Shale Crescent USA-sponsored IHSMarkit Study released in March 2018 said the Shale Crescent USA is the most profitable place in the world to build a new petrochemical plant.

In World War II my father was a U.S. Marine fighting in the Pacific. My mother was like many women, working long hours manufacturing the equipment to keep him and our military around the world in the fight. Our country came together to win the war and keep us free.

Sadly, many Americans still don’t know or understand this. There are groups working hard to ban or restrict hydraulic fracturing. Almost every well, whether it is in Russia, OPEC nations or the USA, requires hydraulic fracturing. Some groups would also like to ban or restrict plastic. They have no idea that if they ever succeed their cell phones, medical equipment, cars and many other products like solar panels would go away. I saw first-hand this week how important petrochemicals are to our military.

“Environmental anti” groups succeeded in getting hydraulic fracturing banned in most of Europe a few years ago. Now Europe gets most of its natural gas through two 48-inch pipelines from Gazprom, a Russian company, and from Russian wells that have been fractured under Russian environmental law. They pay Gazprom’s prices, which are a lot higher than U.S. natural gas prices. European companies like INEOS are getting natural gas liquids for feedstock from the USA or the Middle East, giving U.S. companies an economic advantage.

Europe is paying a high price for foreign natural gas. They are generating revenue for Russia to spend on weapons to use against them. That isn’t smart. If it gets really cold in Moscow or if a little political pressure needs to be applied, there is nothing stopping Russia from closing the valves.

Last winter Russian natural gas showed up in Boston Harbor at over $100 per MMCF to heat homes because New York and other New England states thought U.S. pipelines and “U.S. fracked gas” were bad. My grandson could be fighting somewhere in the world against weapons Russia purchased from the profits they made selling natural gas to Europe and New England.

Our brave military men and women put their lives on the line to defend the USA. I can now see why they are one of the best trained militaries in the world. They are protecting our freedom. Just like in World War II, they deserve support on the home front.

We have abundant natural gas and natural gas liquids in the Shale Crescent USA. Now we need to create a second U.S. petrochemical hub here in the Shale Crescent USA to ensure that our military will always have the fuel, equipment and supplies they need. In the process, we will create good jobs, a higher standard of living for our people and greater prosperity in the Shale Crescent USA.

Thoughts to ponder.