Shale Gas Transforming US Economy
The wonders of US shale gas continue to amaze. We receive fresh evidence by the day that swathes of America’s industry have acquired a massive and lasting advantage in energy costs over global rivals, demolishing assumptions about US economic decline.
Shell is planning an ethane plant in a near-derelict steel valley near Pittsburgh. Dow Chemical is shutting operations in Belgium, Holland, Spain, the UK, and Japan, but pouring money into a propylene venture in Texas where natural gas prices are a fraction of world levels and likely to remain so for the life-cycle of Dow’s investments.
Some 50 new projects have been unveiled in US petrochemicals. A $US30bn ($A29.4 billionn) blitz is under way in ethylene and fertiliser plants alone.
A study by the American Chemistry Council said shale gas has reversed the fortunes of the chemical, plastics, aluminium, iron and steel, rubber, coated metals, and glass industries. “This was virtually unthinkable five years ago,” said the body’s president, Cal Dooley.