Shale Gas Fuels U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance

Abundant supplies help energy-intensive industries grow, create more jobs
Abundant, affordable domestic natural gas is helping to revitalize energy-intensive industries like petrochemical manufacturing, a senior ExxonMobil Chemical Company executive said today.
In a presentation at the Manufacturing Renaissance Forum, Bruce Macklin, senior vice president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, said, “Looking back 20 years, chemicals were our nation’s top export product. But as recently as five years ago, we were on the verge of becoming an importer. Now the industry is back on the path of competitively serving the growth markets of Asia and other parts of the world. This is a great story, but it’s just the beginning.”
He said, “ExxonMobil’s Energy Outlook indicates that the chemicals subsector of industrial energy demand will be the fastest-growing over the next 25 years, largely due to increased demand for plastics and other advanced products. Petrochemical processes turn affordable natural gas-based feedstock into lots of products that are used by people all around the world.”
During his presentation at the event convened by Carnegie Mellon University and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Macklin said, “Given the feedstock advantage and the demand for our products, for the first time in a decade, producers in North America are talking about expansion in the form of debottlenecks and new grassroots stream crackers.”
ExxonMobil Chemical has filed permit applications for a petrochemical expansion at its Baytown Olefins Plant in Texas where it plans to add an ethane cracker. The company also plans to add premium polyethylene facilities at the nearby Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant. It will make a final investment decision following completion of these reviews and approvals.
If developed, it is estimated that the project would create about 10,000 construction jobs and add about 350 permanent jobs to the company’s workforce of 6,500 in the Baytown area. The proposed project would also have a multiplier effect and create an additional 3,800 jobs in local communities.
“The proposed investment reflects ExxonMobil’s confidence in the natural-gas driven revitalization of the U.S. chemical industry,” Macklin said. “The innovative application of technology to produce natural gas is enabling U.S. chemical manufacturers to once again invest in North America, create thousands of jobs and increase sales to domestic and global markets.”
Source: ExxonMobil Chemical
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