Shale gas means billions in chemical industry investment

Article By: Kallanish Energy

The availability of, and inexpensive price for, U.S. shale gas since 2010, has resulted in 333 chemical industry projects cumulatively valued at $202.4 billion being announced, with 53% of the investment completed/under construction, and 41% in the planning phase.

Fully 68% of the total is direct foreign investment or includes a foreign partner, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported. Project types include new facilities and capacity expansions, Kallanish Energy learns.

“This is an exciting milestone for American chemistry and further evidence that shale gas is a powerful engine of manufacturing growth,” said ACC president and CEO Cal Dooley. “The U.S. remains the most attractive place in the world to invest in chemical manufacturing. We look forward to continuing to transform energy into a stronger economy and new jobs.”

ACC analysis shows $202.4 billion in capital spending could lead to $292 billion annually in new chemical and plastics industry output and support 786,000 jobs across the economy by 2025.

A note of caution is in order however, the ACC warns. U.S. manufacturers often rely on inputs unavailable or made in the U.S. to create products that cost less yet perform at the high level downstream customers expect.

“Protectionist trade policies such as tariffs and quotas unnecessarily raise the costs of those inputs, deter innovation and economic growth, and could ultimately weaken our country’s competitive advantage,” the ACC said.

Hours after President Trump announced the third round of U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, China responded with its own levies of up to 10% on $60 billion worth of U.S. products.

The U.S. tariffs start at a rate of 10%, before rising to 25% at the end of the year, according to the ACC. They went into effect yesterday and apply to thousands of Chinese products.

China also imposed its tariffs on more than 5,000 items yesterday.

The third U.S. list includes 1,363 chemicals and plastics products, of which the U.S. imported $12.9 billion worth from China in 2017, according to ACC and International Trade Commerce (ITC) data.