Shale-fed chemical boom still soars even as oil falls

Houston Chronicle | Jordan Blum

Cheap natural gas assures that petrochemical projects will continue despite the downturn.

Natural gas is both raw material and fuel for petrochemical production, and the industry’s expansions have made the part of Texas the birthplace of many products exported to China and the rest of the developing world. A petrochemical boom began over the past decade, as natural gas prices fell when new technology boosted production from dense shale formations. LyondellBasell CEO Bhavesh Patel and others say projects are continuing even though falling oil prices, also related to the shale boom, are putting a drag on the Gulf Coast economy.

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