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Shale has fueled US chemical industry to $164B in investments, trade group says

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Shale has fueled US chemical industry to $164B in investments, trade group says

An analysis by the American Chemistry Council found thatshale-gas-related investments in the expandingU.S. chemical industry have amounted to $164 billion and are expected to support738,000 permanent new jobs by 2023.

The investment total represents 264 projects in the planningstages, in progress or already completed. Based on the analysis, the investmentscould result in $105 billion per year in new chemical industry output, accordingto an April 6 news release from the council.

The new data supplements a May 2013 report that tallied $71.7 billion of chemical industryinvestments in 97 projects and 537,000 jobs supported through the supply chain.That study found that the chemical industry investments were expected to lead to$66.8 billion in increased output.

"U.S. chemical manufacturers rely on natural gas forheat and power, and it contains ethane, an NGL that serves as our main feedstock,"Owen Kean, senior director of energy policy at the chemical group, said during theApril 6 event"America's Future Natural Gas Economy: Promoting the Next Energy Breakthrough.""Dramatic supply growth has had an equally dramatic impact on U.S. naturalgas prices. It's a stunning reversal of fortune from just a few years ago, whenthe chemical industry was losing market share – and jobs – to competitors abroad."

Kean said the shale boom and the resulting supply growthhave pushed the chemical industryinto a "historic wave of expansion and investment." The bulk of the newinvestment focused on export marketsfor chemistry and plastics products, helping to lower the U.S. trade deficit, thegroup said.

The council recommended a regulatory permitting processand policies that would support this industry expansion by avoiding unreasonablerestrictions on oil and gas production on public lands, leaving monitoring of productionon private lands to the states, and fostering timely or expedited construction andpermitting for natural gas and NGL infrastructure.