What a difference a few years can make! In mid-2005, I wrote a column (for another publication) entitled “The U.S. Chemicals Industry, R.I.P.” The situation got no better for the next few years, but starting toward the end of the last decade, based on improved extraction methods, U.S. natural gas production began to grow rapidly. The price of domestic natural gas fell from historic highs in mid-decade (2004–2008) to inﬂation-adjusted lows in the space of a few years. On a cost basis, North America has joined the Middle East as the most economically advantaged venues for petrochemical production worldwide.
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