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K show preview: US to become 'petrochemical superpower'

By: Hamish Champ
PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

July 3, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Germany's plastics industry trade body has warned that the United States is set to emerge as a petrochemical superpower, thanks to the country's reserves of cheap-to-produce shale gas.

Speaking at a pre-K show press event in Düsseldorf this week, Josef Ertl, head of the Wirtschaftsvereinigung Kunststoff (WVK), said that thanks to cheap shale gas the United States had emerged as a "very serious competitor" in manufacturing terms and was "developing into a global hub for petrochemicals."

Many people were talking of the re-industrialization of the United States, Ertl said, a move which could have a lasting effect on the plastics landscape.

"If cheap gas, low-cost energy and low-cost petrochemical raw materials substantially improve the location conditions in the U.S., they will tend to worsen conditions in all the other economic areas," he said.

Ertl also reiterated the power of the domestic plastics industry operating "under a common umbrella."

The WVK, which represented the interests of the whole scope of the German plastics industry, was working "to strengthen the image of the German plastics industry in public perception, elaborate common policies and represent the shared interests of its members," Ertl said.

Global production of plastics was estimated at 288 million metric tons last year, Ertl added.