Chemical Industry Trend Shale gas, Biofuels and Petro–Boom – Trends of the Chemical Industry

Author / Editor: Dominik Stephan / Dominik Stephan

Four years after the economy crisis, the situation has changed: Shale gas and biofuels have brought the Americas back into play. China, sitting on well filled war chest, is on global shopping spree. And Europe? Should carefully watch out not to fall behind ... keeps you updated with the market reports on all major economies – Read an excerpt from our regular overview articles.

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Shale gas, biofuels and petrochemical projects fire the growth, helping to overcome the crisis aftermath.
Shale gas, biofuels and petrochemical projects fire the growth, helping to overcome the crisis aftermath.

North America was especially affected by the economy crisis of 2008. Now, four years after, the US chemical industry is cautiously optimistic as shale gas and specialities fuel the growth. Market experts are already sensing a “reindustrialisation” movement in the US: After a long lean time, the chemical industry in the US has reason for optimism: According to the industrial association ACC, 2012 could see a moderate grow of product output and value, as all important customer industries are picking up again (more on shale gas in this magazine).

Crisis? What Crisis? Chemical Industry Profits From rising Demands

The demand for lightweight materials for automotive and aerospace industries, the search for modern insulants and alternative plastics as well as the demand for agro-chemicals will not decrease, ACC analyses predict. With cheap natural gas from slate gas productions, the US industry has both a new source of energy but also an economic raw material for petrochemical processes. Now, with plans for capacity expansions and technological revamps between US$ 25 billion and 30 billion announced, manufacturers of process components expect further orders.

No Need for Stimulants – South America Leads the Trend

Other markets do not seem to need such stimulants: South America has overcome the crisis quickly. Due to a growth-hungry industry, the demand for basic chemicals and plastics remains high. Especially Brazil aims for a place among the world’s leading economies: Construction, aerospace and shipbuilding boost the sales of paints and coatings while a booming petrochemical industry – fired by Brazil’s biofuel boom – needs process components and engineering services. Only recently, the country’s government announced plans to build new refineries and chemical parks throughout the country.

Colombia, long time problem child of South America, is setting for a moderate growth thanks to mining and oil. Further, the new found strength of the country’s automotive industry boosts the demand for chemicals: Basic chemicals output rose by 6.5% in the first half of 2011, GTAI figures show. But also other South American countries boom..