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More signs of chemical industry growth from an abundance of natural gas and oil

It is a truth becoming universally acknowledged, that surging shale gas and oil production is generating jobs and driving growth. A PwC energy expert is the latest to punctuate the point.

Andrew Lyon, a principal in PwC’s National Economics and Statistics group, hailed the doubling of direct jobs tied to oil and shale gas extraction from 2005 to 2011 in a presentation at the U.S. Energy Association’s 6th annual Energy Supply Forum. The benefits of shale gas extend across to the nation’s economy, Lyon emphasized:

[quote]Given the sluggish employment growth in the United States overall, this has been a very significant support for the economy . . . Clearly this industry is a major factor behind…the U.S. manufacturing renaissance.[/quote]

PwC’s data echo the optimistic projections contained in a recent IHS report, which found that, thanks to shale gas, America’s chemical manufacturers enjoy a “profound and sustained” competitive advantage over foreign companies that enables the industry to dramatically boost output and create 318,000 jobs throughout the U.S. economy by 2025.

In a recent E&ETV interview, American Chemistry Council president and CEO Cal Dooley explained how the industry’s competitive edge has already created plans for an avalanche of ongoing investment:

[quote]It’s such a huge opportunity for the U.S. chemical industry. We have been doing a running tally of the new investments in chemical manufacturing in the United States just over the last three years. About three years ago we were talking about projections of $16 billion in new capital investment. In May of this year we released a study where we were talking about $72 billion in new investment.[/quote]

Today we’re up to $85 billion in potential new capital investment in chemical manufacturing in the United States, 54 percent of which is foreign direct investment.

Dow Chemical is perhaps the most recent chemical manufacturer to announce the locations of major new investments in the United States. It plans to expand four facilities in Louisiana and Texas. Construction is scheduled to begin shortly on these projects, which were initially announced in March 2013. Dow estimated the investments in the Gulf Coast will generate 6,000 new manufacturing jobs and more than 35,000 indirect jobs.

Natural gas is a big reason why Dow is expanding, said Dow’s Greg Jozwiak, commercial vice president for North American packaging and specialty plastics:

[quote]Shale gas is changing the game in terms of cost competiveness. It also provides a great opportunity for the packaging industry. There’s the potential of reshoring and bringing that work and manufacturing back to the U.S. [/quote]

Now, that is a win-win situation for America.

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