New Study: Shale Creating a “Long-term Competitive Advantage for U.S. Manufacturers”

According to a new American Chemistry Council (ACC) study, America’s affordable and abundant supplies of clean-burning natural gas will fuel $63 billion in chemical exports growth by 2030, helping to both further grow our nation’s manufacturing base while also increasing our global economic competitiveness. The report – Fueling Export Growth: U.S. Net Export Trade Forecast for Key Chemistries to 2030 – also states that America’s abundant and reliable energy resources are driving 223 shale-related projects with a cumulative investment impact of $137 billion to the U.S. economy.

This new study echoes many of the findings outlined in a recent White House report, which underscores the “widespread benefits” associated with shale’s positive impact on America’s manufacturing sector. And thanks to responsible shale development in the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania is leading from the front and poised to capitalize on continued job growth and economic opportunity for us all.

Key excerpts from ACC’s release and blog post on the new study:

Gross exports of chemical products, including plastics, linked to plentiful and affordable natural gas are projected to double, from $60 billion in 2014 to $123 billion by 2030.

While energy markets are dynamic, the conclusions of the report point to a long-term competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers on shale gas-advantaged chemicals.

Chemical companies have begun or are planning 223 shale-related projects to date, including eight announced in December, representing a cumulative investment of $137 billion.

Even with the recent drop in oil prices, the industry continues to enjoy a distinct competitive advantage in global markets (with an oil-to-natural-gas ratio of approximately 18:1).

Since the start of the shale gas production boon, exports of manufactured products have risen 6 percent, according to a 2014 International Monetary Fund study.

With more chemistry products, including key plastics, destined for foreign shores, the industry can be a leader in helping to reduce the U.S. trade deficit while creating new economic and job-creation opportunities here at home.

“This is a very exciting time for the plastics industry,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “From exports to jobs, shale-advantaged plastics and the wide range of products they enable are poised to contribute significantly to the U.S. economy.”

And key report findings:

  • Refined products and petrochemicals are internationally traded at will based on market supply and demand, and the shale revolution has created a multi-decade opportunity for increased petrochemical production and exports.
  • The success of U.S. E&P firms in shale gas and oil exploitation are unique to the U.S. in most cases and unlikely to be soon matched anywhere else in the world.
  • Gross exports of chemicals could double from $60 billion in 2014 to $123 billion, while net exports are projected to grow from $19.5 billion in 2014 to $48 billion in 2030.
  • On a commodity basis, the biggest driver of the improving U.S. trade surplus will be plastics (reaching $21.5 billion of net exports by 2030, an increase of $15 billion) and specialties (reaching $20.5 billion, an increase of $9.3 billion), with moderate growth in intermediates (reaching $9.15 billion, an increase of $3.1 billion).

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