Abundant, affordable domestic natural gas resources have provided the U.S. petrochemical industry with a substantial competitive advantage, a senior ExxonMobil Chemical Company executive said last week.
In a presentation at the Shale Petrochemical Manufacturing Summit at Philadelphia’s HUB Cira Centre, Lynne Lachenmyer, senior vice president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, said that increased natural gas production is revitalizing the U.S. petrochemical industry.
“The ability to tap into vast shale resources right here in the U.S. is an opportunity that we have to develop. We are in the middle of an industry in transformation,” she said. Relatively low natural gas prices are providing U.S.-based chemical manufacturers with an advantage over competitors in other countries that rely on more expensive feedstocks and energy for their operations.
Lachenmyer said, “Natural gas from resources such as the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania presents a unique opportunity to revitalize the U.S. economy, and the petrochemical industry is part of that. It is an opportunity to grow our economy, create new jobs, and capture early mover advantage to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.”Shale gas and associated liquids produced throughout the country can support all the major chemical-producing regions, including the U.S. Gulf Coast, which today serves as a major hub of production of key chemical building blocks, such as ethylene. “Looking back a couple of decades, chemicals were among our nation’s top exports,” Lachenmyer said. “But the situation changed and we were on the verge of becoming a net importer. Now the industry is back on the path of competitively serving the growth markets of Asia and other locations through exports.”
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