Natural gas boom to lead to low-cost polyolefins

Natural gas boom to lead to low-cost polyolefins

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Many plastics industry experts are predicting the U.S. will become a major exporter of PE and PP. The reason for this growth in polyolefin production and sales is the rising volumes of low-cost natural gas from shale fields that can be used to make ethylene and propylene. As a consequence, chemical industry analysts say that recycled PE and PP will be fairly inexpensive in the coming years.

An example of the effect of this major industry change is the news that Dow Chemical last week restarted its idled ethylene line at its Hahnville, Louisiana chemicals complex. The ethylene system had been out of production for four years due to its high cost of operation, but Dow executives say cheaper natural gas now makes the plant competitive. Dow, the largest chemicals producer in the world, is spending $4 billion at its facilities on the Gulf Coast to boost polyolefin production.

Robert Bauman of Polymer Consulting International will speak more on this topic at the upcoming Plastics Recycling Conference, March 19-20 in New Orleans.

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