Executive Briefings

Cheap Natural Gas Powers Chemical Exports from Houston, New Orleans

Just as southern California is the nation's top magnet for containerized cargo, so is the Gulf Coast the most attractive hub for movements of petrochemicals. Led by Houston and New Orleans, petrochemical activity is thriving due in no small part to growth in refining activity and an abundance of cheap natural gas.

"America's shale gas revolution could lead to dramatic growth in U.S. chemical exports over the next 15 years," says a new report from Nexant Inc. sponsored by the American Chemistry Council. "Gross exports of chemical products, including plastics, linked to plentiful and affordable natural gas are projected to double from $60bn in 2014 to $123bn by 2030. The U.S. trade surplus for the selected chemicals is projected to increase from $19.5bn to $48.3bn over the same period with China, Mexico and other Americas remaining the leading net export destinations."

City-Data, a private-sector organization that tracks and analyzes economic trends around the country, says the Houston-Baytown-Huntsville area has nearly 40 percent of the nation's capacity for producing the basic chemicals used in refining and chemical manufacturing with 405 plants employing about 36,000 people. The proximity of these plants to ports like Houston and New Orleans makes these ports ideal departure points for chemical and petrochemical exports.

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"America's shale gas revolution could lead to dramatic growth in U.S. chemical exports over the next 15 years," says a new report from Nexant Inc. sponsored by the American Chemistry Council. "Gross exports of chemical products, including plastics, linked to plentiful and affordable natural gas are projected to double from $60bn in 2014 to $123bn by 2030. The U.S. trade surplus for the selected chemicals is projected to increase from $19.5bn to $48.3bn over the same period with China, Mexico and other Americas remaining the leading net export destinations."

City-Data, a private-sector organization that tracks and analyzes economic trends around the country, says the Houston-Baytown-Huntsville area has nearly 40 percent of the nation's capacity for producing the basic chemicals used in refining and chemical manufacturing with 405 plants employing about 36,000 people. The proximity of these plants to ports like Houston and New Orleans makes these ports ideal departure points for chemical and petrochemical exports.

Read Full Article