Shale Gas Surge Triggers U.S. Petrochemical Expansion

The upsurge in U.S. shale gas production has triggered waves of expansion projects for manufacturers of petrochemicals, plastics and fertilizer that are expected to create thousands of long-term jobs and many new revenue sources.

It also may change some trade patterns.

High volumes of natural gas from shale, combined with moderate prices, have given a strong economic advantage to companies that turn gas and natural gas liquids into intermediate chemicals and an array of finished synthetic products that are among the most commonplace manufactured objects in modern life.

Some 268 petrochemical and fertilizer plant projects linked to shale gas, with an estimated investment of $170 billion, are in various stages of study or construction, Kevin Swift, chief economist with the trade group American Chemistry Council, told Bloomberg BNA. At the end of 2010, less than $10 billion in such projects had been announced.

resized petrochemicals chart

Read more in Alan Kovski’s special report Shale Gas Surge Triggers U.S. Petrochemicals Wave.