US refiners, petchems plan for manufacturing renaissance

18 December 2012 22:57 Source:ICIS News

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US refiners, petrochemical producers and academic energy specialists will meet in January to explore paths to a broad US manufacturing renaissance drawing on the shale gas bonanza, industry officials said on Tuesday.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) said it is joining with Carnegie Mellon University to convene multiple meetings of industry and academic energy and manufacturing specialists across the country to “construct a roadmap for a manufacturing renaissance”.

AFPM said it was launching the series of round table discussions with Carnegie Mellon’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation to bring various stakeholders into talks on “the American shale revolution and its implications for manufacturing”.

The increasing availability of low-cost natural gas flowing from shale formations has positioned the US petrochemicals industry and a broad range of other energy-intensive manufacturers for a major competitive advantage over foreign producers that are more dependent on high-dollar crude oil feedstocks and energy fuels.

The refining and petrochemicals trade group said that it would seek participation in the series of exploratory discussions from lawmakers, government officials, industry leaders, labour representatives and opinion makers as well as academics.

AFPM cited an Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast saying that one-half of the US natural gas supply in 2035 will come from shale gas, which “has the potential to lead to a national manufacturing renaissance”.

The trade group said that the first invitation-only round table session will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 10 January.

Among other topics, the initial meeting will examine what needs to be done to stimulate petrochemical and other types of manufacturing that can build on the shale gas development.

AFPM said the sessions also will look at what regulatory and workforce issues must be addressed to achieve a manufacturing renaissance.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By Joe Kamalick