The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported in its newly released “Year-End 2013 Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook” that capital spending among chemical manufacturers will grow 8% per year through 2016. By 2018, overall capital spending will have more than doubled the level invested in 2010. ACC says the United States has become “the location for investment,” as petrochemical producers favorably re-evaluate its potential for growth. Basic olefins capacity could grow between 35-40% and more than 135 new petrochemical projects are in the pipeline as of early December. The U.S. chemical sector showed resiliency in 2013 —chemistry production volumes grew slightly despite economic weakness in key export markets and lower government spending due to the federal sequester.
“Soft performance in 2013 came against the backdrop of a wave of announcements to build new chemical capacity,” wrote T. Kevin Swift, ACC’s chief economist. “These investments will capitalize on the profound and sustainable competitive advantage enabled by shale gas development.”