If anyone has really benefited from United States natural gas drilling boom, they are the chemical companies who have long depended on overseas gas sources. As natural gas surplus drives down prices to a 2-year low, chemical companies are making the most of it by reopening closed down plants and building new ones.
Rural communities around the U.S. who were until now, enjoying a peaceful life now have petrochemical companies clinching their lands to convert them them into industrial zones, since local gas supplies at cheap rates is now a possibility.
Local businesses in Charleston, West Virginia are influencing officials to bring a new chemical plant called ethane cracker which could create several hundred jobs at the facility. Nearly, 2,000 construction workers would be initially sourced to build the facility. The plant will “crack” ethane into ethylene to produce various products of daily wear, right from cushions to clothes. Nearly, 40-60% of products used everyday are made from chemicals such as ethylene.
Regions such as Marcellus Shale are particularly rich in ethane, containing as much as 14 to 16 percent of the chemical compound. Firms in U.S. states and from Canada are vying to cash in on the ethane-rich Marcellus Shale boom.
However, environmental groups are wary of this expansion since it will be at the cost of public health and environment.