AFPM ’13: US has 5 to 10 years to create manufacturing revival

24 March 2013 20:05  [Source: ICIS news]

AFPM ’13: US has 5 to 10 years to create manufacturing revivalSAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--The US has a five-to-10-year window to leverage its shale gas and oil advantage into a manufacturing renaissance, the president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) said on Sunday.

“Other nations are not going to wait for us to get our act together,” said Charles Drevna, who made his comments on the sidelines of the AFPM’s annual International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

The shale boom has brought about many calls for a revival of US manufacturing after many plants and jobs were moved overseas toward the end of the 20th century due to lower labour and infrastructure costs.

But shale gas and oil can level the playing field in terms of energy and feedstocks in the US and give manufacturers a chance to create products – and thus jobs – on American soil.

The industry is “more than ready” to exploit the advantages brought about from the shale boom, Drevna said.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for decades,” he said.

Bringing about a manufacturing renaissance powered by shale oil and gas will take time and much investment in infrastructure, from wellheads to crackers to distribution facilities, said James Cooper, AFPM vice president of petrochemicals.

But it can not be done haphazardly, he said – it must be done “slowly and deliberately”.

Conversations must be had with all parties at the table discussing how to use shale gas and oil effectively to bring about that manufacturing renaissance, as well as ensure that they are used in an environmentally conscious manner, Cooper said.

Those conversations need to happen soon, as well as action taken on the US shale advantages, Drevna said, or the window of opportunity will close.

“We don’t have a choice if we are going to take advantage,” he said. “If we fail to do this or let it go fallow, it will hurt the US consumer.”

The IPC continues through Tuesday.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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