The development of technology (fracking) to efficiently produce oil and gas form oil shale reserves in the United States, has led to a boom in the oil and gas industry – thus bolstering jobs for American Shipyard Workers.
The Jones Act requires ships that carry cargo between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built in the United States. And, if the the fuel is transported via ship, the ship must be American-made and American-manned, according to the Jones Act. As a result, the shipbuilding industry is busier than it has been in decades.
Some ten supertankers are currently under construction at U.S. shipyards, with orders for another 15 in the pipeline. “We haven’t seen something like this since the 1970s,” Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America said to FoxNews.com. “The movement of more oil has built up a real commercial shipbuilding renaissance.” Paxton said that it is projected that up to 3.3 million barrels will be shipped out daily from the Gulf Coast by 2020, destined for ports along the east and west coasts, causing huge demand for tanker ships.
The Aker Philadelphia Shipyard recently announced that it invested a total of $115 million to construct four tanks and plans to build eight in total. “The shale revolution is creating industrial opportunities throughout the United States and specifically here in Philadelphia,” Kristian Rokke, President & CEO of AKPS, said in a recent statement. “This strategic opportunity allows us to capitalize on the increased demand for Jones Act tankers in a way that will transform APSI in the years ahead.”
Constructing one tanker, which could be more than 600 feet long and nearly 200 feet wide, can cost upwards of $100 million. Once they are up and running, the ships more than earn their keep. Transport companies pay up to $100,000 per day over a five-year contract to lease them.
All of this is good news to an industry that has been hard pressed the past two decades, when the decline in military spending on new ships and the decline of American commercial ships has caused some shipyards close and others to layoff workers.
And this is good news to American seamen as well. The Jones Act mandates that ships carrying cargo between U.S. Ports must be both American built and American manned. Much of the oil and gas produced from oil shale will be shipped from ports in the Gulf to ports on the U.S. east and west coasts. American seaman will be needed to fill those jobs.
With energy independence becoming a priority for the U.S., the prospects for growth in jobs for shipyard workers and seamen looks good.