US shale-related chem industry investments hit $200bn - ACC

11 September 2018 16:46 Source:ICIS News

US chemical and plastics industry investment related to shale-based domestic supplies of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) has surpassed $200bn, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Tuesday.

A total of 333 chemical projects worth an accumulative $202.4bn have been announced since 2010, the ACC said.

Of those, 53% complete or underway, the ACC said, while 41% of projects are still in the planning phase.

“This is an exciting milestone for American chemistry and further evidence that shale gas is a powerful engine of manufacturing growth,” ACC CEO Cal Dooley said. “The US remains the most attractive place in the world to invest in chemical manufacturing.”

ACC analysis showed that $202.4bn in capital spending could lead to $292.0bn/year in new chemical and plastics industry output.

The output would also translate to 786,000 jobs by 2025 including:

- 79,000 chemical industry jobs

- 352,000 jobs in supplier industries

- 355,000 jobs in communities where workers spend their wages

The ACC noted that the US chemical industry’s competitiveness hinges on its robust supply of NGLs. US crackers rely predominantly on gas-based ethane and other NGLs, while much of the world relies on oil-based naphtha.

Caution should be taken with the data, the ACC said, as US manufacturers often rely on foreign inputs.

“Protectionist trade policies such as tariffs and quotas unnecessarily raise the costs of those inputs, deter innovation and economic growth, and could ultimately weaken our country’s competitive advantage,” the ACC said.

By David Haydon