NPRA ’11: Petrochemical conference ends on optimistic note

29 March 2011 21:47  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) hailed the 36th annual International Petrochemical Conference (IPC) as an outstanding success, with optimism voiced over the promise of abundant feedstock from US shale gas reserves and even the possibility of a world-scale cracker in the US.

"This was an outstanding meeting,” said NPRA president Charles Drevna. “It shows that the petrochemical sector has a bright future if our government lets us take advantage of the tremendous natural gas and petroleum resources our nation is blessed with, and does not impose harmful overregulation that chokes off economic growth and destroys jobs.”

Nearly 2,800 delegates from 45 countries attended the IPC, which ran Sunday through Tuesday. Those from outside the US made up 33% of the total participants at the event, the IPC organiser said.

The mood of the conference was buoyed by the global economic recovery, and talk of development of the Marcellus Shale reserves in the US as a source of cheap ethane feedstock for the chemical industry. During the conference, Chevron Phillips announced a feasibility study to examine building a world-scale cracker at one of its facilities on the US Gulf coast.

Drevna cautioned that government environmental regulations could threaten plans to develop the shale reserves.

“As development of this sector advances around the world, it would be tragic if America was left behind,” Drevna said. “Our nation's petrochemical manufacturers have a vital role to play in meeting the needs of America and the world far into the future, and we are ready to do our part to strengthen US economic and national security.”

Globally, industry players were unsure of the potential impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and ongoing turmoil in the Middle East.

By: Brian Ford
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