US Shale Gas Advantage Will Hold, ACC Chief Says

US chemical producers remain upbeat on their shale gas cost advantage, despite recent steep declines in the price of crude oil.

Speaking at a recent Responsible Care conference held by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the industry association's CEO Cal Dooley pointed to the ongoing investment boom across the country, which he said gives the industry the chance to reestablish itself as a leading global supplier of energy and feedstocks.

The ongoing investment boom also provides the opportunity to "build broader public support," he added.

While acknowledging that lower oil prices have created some "short term apprehension," Dooley said "there is still absolute confidence" that the US chemical industry will remain in a strong competitive position.

Although lower oil prices could delay some already announced projects (Braskem has announced it has put a planned cracker expansion on ice), he said the US will sustain its competitive advantage "for some time."

According to the ACC chief, more than 225 shale-related chemical projects worth a total of $137 million have been announced across the country to date, and these "significant investments" will fuel a renaissance in the manufacturing sector.

By 2025, he said, the US will see four times the amount of natural gas liquids it saw a few years ago. "Even with the decrease in oil prices lowering the spread between naphtha and natural gas, "We've never had it so good."

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