U.S. chemical industry investment linked to the nation’s abundant supply of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) from shale formations has reached $164 billion, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Wednesday.
Analysis by the ACC shows that $164 billion in capital spending could lead to $105 billion per year in new chemical industry output and support 738,000 permanent new jobs by 2023, including 69,000 new chemical industry jobs, 357,000 jobs in supplier industries and 312,000 jobs in communities where workers spend their wages.
What’s more, much of the new investment is geared toward export markets, which can help improve the U.S. trade balance, the industry association pointed out.
“U.S. chemical manufacturers rely on natural gas for heat and power, and it contains ethane, an NGL that serves as our main feedstock,” said Owen Kean, ACC’s senior director of energy policy. “Dramatic supply growth has had an equally dramatic impact on U.S. natural gas prices. It’s a stunning reversal of fortune from just a few years ago, when the chemical industry was losing market share — and jobs — to competitors abroad.
“America enjoys a robust supply outlook, expected to last for decades, and a price environment that’s the envy of the world,” Kean continued. “Our country has become the most attractive place in the world to make chemicals, and a historic wave of expansion and investment is underway.”
Kean went on to stress the need for “the right regulatory and policy approaches” so that the potential of shale gas as a driver of manufacturing growth can be fully realized.
The ACC also said it was important to ensure a “timely, transparent and efficient regulatory permitting process” for manufacturing projects related to shale gas such as new factories and expansions.