A lot has been written about the shale revolution's effects on U.S. production. But much has changed farther downstream too, on the petrochemicals side of the value chain. The industry now has access to a plentiful and low-cost feedstock, ethane, which is found in gas. It's a decisive advantage, especially for Total, which has a steam cracker in the United States with BASF. What's more, the two partners have modified the cracker to run 80% on ethane, butane and propane instead of naphtha, which is a product of oil and therefore much pricier.
What has the shale revolution changed for the U.S. petrochemical industry? What are the effects of those changes on Europe's industry? What impact have falling oil prices had? Steve Lewandoswki, Senior Director, Global Olefins for the business and market intelligence firm IHS Chemical, explains.
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