The price of natural gas has plummeted and chemical manufacturing firms are going to take advantage of the low cost feedstock. A Forbes posting by Agustino Fontevecchia leads with this:
The $3.5 trillion chemicals industry provides a good vantage point from which to observe the state of the global economy, as many of its products stand at the beginning of the supply chain. From consumers to construction, the chemicals industry is set to boom in the U.S. given the explosion of shale plays and the cheap price of natural gas compared to the rest of the world, according to Anton Ticktin, a partner at chemical industry focused M&A advisory investment bank Valence.
“Chemicals go into everything, they are the part of the first step into the creation of so many different products,” explained Ticktin, “the gives you insight into the state of so many industries and sectors” such as the consumer, through plastic bag volumes for example, and construction, through sales of paints and coatings.
The low priced natural gas will result in many industries improving their balance sheet. Ticktin adds:
And investors can get a cut of the action. Years ago, major chemical companies like Du Pont and Dow Chemical began to move their operations overseas. But today, companies with access to feed stocks that are associated with the production of natural gas, such as propane and ethane, will see a boost in their performance. Major oil and gas companies like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell are well positioned to benefit.
Companies in the coatings and paints business will also do well, according to Ticktin. Sherwin-Williams and PPG, for example, are trading near their 52-week highs, while Du Pont and Dow Chemical are on their way back.
The bottom line is that through the lens that is the chemicals industry, Ticktin is seeing the U.S. recovery strengthening vis-à-vis the rest of the world. While GDP is still lagging, the rise in volume and sales seen in the chemical industry should be a good omen for the broader economy.
Team Obama wants to kill fracking. The EPA is moving forward with a study to determine the safety of Fracking. The EPA has chosen not to select, as members of this committee, anyone from industry. To say it another way, if you know anything about fracking and how safe it is and how it can continue to be that way, they DON’T want you. API Executive Vice President Marty Durbin makes the case regarding the Science Advisory Board (SAB) being assembled by the EPA:
It’s a perspective the SAB panel needs as it delves into hydraulic fracturing issues. Unfortunately, EPA has declined such expertise in the past. Durbin:
“From our perspective, critical opportunities to leverage the tremendous knowledge and experience base offered by industry have been repeatedly missed.”
For example, no industry experts were selected for SAB’s hydraulic review panel announced in January 2011. Instead, while members were technical experts in their respective fields, most had virtually no relevant knowledge or understanding of oil and natural gas operations in general and hydraulic fracturing in particular related to their respective areas of expertise. Durbin:
“API, therefore, strongly recommends that the ad hoc Panel members have direct experience working in the modern oil and natural gas industry. … We note that industry representatives have a long record of valuable, unbiased participation in many other SAB Communities and Panels. It is those very individuals, with extensive field experience and first-hand knowledge of the techniques used in drilling and completions, who are critical to the examination of the very specialized processes and the research addressing those processes.”
See more from this posting by clicking here.