Europe left behind as shale shock drives America’s industrial resurgence
Dow Chemical is shutting operations in Belgium, Holland, Spain, the UK, and Japan, but pouring money into a propylene venture in Texas where natural gas prices are a fraction of world levels and likely to remain so for the life-cycle of Dow’s investments. Some fifty new projects have been unveiled in the US petrochemical industry. A $30bn investment blitz is underway in ethelyne and fetilizer plants alone. A study by the American Chemistry Council said the shale gas bonanza has reversed the fortunes of the chemical, plastics, aluminium, iron and steel, rubber, coated metals, and glass industries. This is largely due to hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas and oil, though solar power and onshore wind are playing their part. Europe is going in the opposite direction, drifting towards energy suicide.