Stephen Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co., said in every country he visits, the conversation quickly turns to one topic: shale gas and its impact on the chemical business.
"Without question, the reversal of fortunes of the American chemical industry is one of the most remarkable stories flowing from the growth in unconventional oil and gas," Pryor told the audience at the IHS World Petrochemical Conference (March 19-21; Houston, TX).
Pryor said just five years ago, U.S. chemical production was in steady decline due largely to the rising price of natural gas. America was on the verge of becoming a net importer of chemicals, but Pryor said growing supplies of shale gas and gas liquids have changed all that.
U.S. proven resources of natural gas have grown close to 50% since 2005.
"North America chemical manufacturers have a cost advantage over competitors around the world that rely on more expensive, oil-based feedstock," Pryor said. "This has boosted profitability and enabled the industry to regain its position as America's largest exporter. It has also stimulated new investment. For the first time in more than a decade, major capacity additions have been announced that convert ethane to ethylene, the largest petrochemical building block."...