Price and market trends: US shale drives 'remarkable' turnaround

14 April 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

The petrochemical industry has undergone a “remarkable” turnaround in recent years, the president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers association (AFPM) said on 31 March.

“Around the globe, east to west, it’s just a remarkable turn of events from when we sat in this room five to six years ago,” AFPM president Charles Drevna said at the association’s 39th International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

Drevna cited the shale gas revolution in the US as a key driver and highlighted the potential for this to be exploited in a wider context.

"The death of the hydrocarbon molecule has been greatly exaggerated - it's here to stay"

Charles Drevna
President - AFPM

“Just think what could be done in Europe,” he told delegates “The death of the hydrocarbon molecule has been greatly exaggerated – it’s here to stay,” said Drevna.

The expansion of US oil and natural gas production is bringing the country energy independence and greater national security.

“The industry faces more than just challenges – we have a future of great opportunities,” he added.

INDUSTRY OPPORTUNITIES

Drevna said it was not just the US petrochemical industry that faced great potential for prosperity. Developments in shale could give the country a “manufacturing renaissance”.

There were also opportunities for both energy and national security, economic strength and development, he added. He said the possibilities for the industry – with the development in shale, the increasing of drilling activity across the US, the proposals to build several new crackers and the potential to increase capacity at current sites – would be almost limitless.

“[There is the opportunity of having] more than global competitiveness but being a global leader,” Drevna said.

He added the US boom will also be a major contribution to global industry expansion.

“We should not have to wait until geopolitical tensions rise, like they have done recently, to wake up and smell the coffee, or in this case wake up and smell the ethylene,” he said.

By Graeme Paterson and Franco Capaldo