Petchem, LNG investments crucial to exploit US shale: ExxonMobil

26 September 2013 07:56  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--New investments in petrochemical production and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities are crucial to make the most of US shale resources, Steve Pryor, the president of ExxonMobil Chemical, said late on Wednesday.

Approval times for project permits should be monitored to prevent delays, Pryor added.

"Delays could add billions to project costs, restrain job creation, and erode America's competitive advantage," Pryor was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the company.

Pryor was speaking at the SHALE INSIGHT 2013 conference in Philadelphia. The event ends on 26 September.

Global demand for key petrochemical feedstock ethylene is growing at a rate above 50% faster than natural gas, with the market for LNG expanding at a faster rate.

"Since most of this demand growth is outside the US, this presents an outstanding opportunity to boost America's exports," Pryor said.

Capital spending by US chemical producers has risen by more than 40% over the last five years, and more is planned, he said.

The US is poised to play a major role in the global LNG market, which is expected to triple in size from 2010 to 2040, according to Pryor.

ExxonMobil estimates that LNG exports from North America, which were at zero in 2010, will grow to about 15bn cubic feet per day in 2040.

"While we don't know how many LNG projects ultimately will prove viable, we need to let the competitive market determine which ones get built and which don't," Pryor said.

"Beyond the issue of permitting, the US must embrace free-trade policies for the products of natural gas, whether they are petrochemicals or LNG," he added.

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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