U.S. Petrochemicals Investment Brings Challenges

Sector to Receive US$200 Billion Investment

U.S. petrochemicals sector investment is forcast to top US$200 billion, as part of wide-ranging transformation of the country’s energy industry is expected to boost breakbulk demand from downstream chemical assets, according to analyst firm Wood Mackenzie.
The transformation of the U.S. from net energy importer to exporter is expected to drive a new wave of project cargo requirements, as many producers focus on expanding their chemicals processing portfolio.
“With the likely longer-term trend of declining oil demand into the all-important transportation sector, energy companies have re-evaluated their chemicals strategies. Companies like Shell, Total and BP had previously divested many of their specialty downstream chemical assets ... Now, we're seeing these, and other significant oil players aggressively expand their current chemicals portfolio, form alliances with chemical companies or step into the chemicals space for the first time,” said Steve Zinger, senior vice president at Wood Mackenzie Chemicals.
Petrochemical feedstocks are expected to make up almost 20 percent of oil demand by 2035, up from 13 percent last year, according to Wood Mackenzie Chemicals, as increased investment in Chinese refineries is also forecast to drive up competition in the coming decade.

Photo: Cracker Plant. Credit: Wikimedia