American Chemistry MattersA Blog of the American Chemistry Council

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More gas, more glory for U.S. chemical manufacturing

As more and more data gushers in about production of natural gas, the better the prospects become that these abundant and affordable supplies are not just a short-term benefit but a long-term bonanza for the United States — capable of fueling a manufacturing revival.

The latest batch of good news comes from the Potential Gas Committee, which recently upped its estimate of technically recoverable U.S. natural gas supplies by roughly 20 percent, thanks to higher projections for shale gas developments in the Appalachian, Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain areas.

According to John B. Curtis, the PGC’s director and a geology professor at the Colorado School of Mines, advanced exploration and drilling techniques are allowing access to unconventional sources of domestic natural gas, especially shale, “which, not all that long ago, were considered impractical or uneconomical to pursue.”

Curtis added:

[quote]Consequently, our present assessment, strengthened by robust domestic production levels, demonstrates an exceptionally strong and optimistic gas supply picture for the nation.[/quote]

Boosting production of natural gas from shale is a key component of the American Chemistry Council’s “From Chemistry to Energy” campaign. The increasing likelihood that unconventional natural gas production will continue to grow and prices will remain stable is driving investment in manufacturing. After all, U.S. shale gas now accounts for 30 percent of total gas consumption compared to 1 percent in 2000.

ACC estimates the chemical industry is investing $72 billion in 97 projects across the United States. The energy production boom also translates into a trade dividend for America. Lower manufacturing costs give the chemical industry an enormous competitive edge in global markets and are turning the chemical industry into an exporting superstar.

No wonder the Financial Times recently compared shale gas to black gold and predicted “Shale will power the U.S. economy.”

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