September 2011, Vol. 238 No. 9

Features

Petrochemical Industry Closely Watching Shale Plays

Much has been written about how oil and gas derived from shale is going to bring back North America as a viable energy source, making it at the least more self-reliant and at the most a major exporter of energy products and fuels. To many in the manufacturing world, the shale plays have provided nothing short of a rescue plan for the continent. The promise of low-cost petrochemical feedstocks derived from shale reserves has gotten the attention of not just world markets, but of billions of investment dollars the U.S. and Canada thought they might never see again. The U.S. petrochemical industry is roughly about 75 years old and has long been cyclical. Upstream, it has been at t

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