LyondellBasell emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 after a period of high oil and natural gas prices. "In 2000, the chemical industry in the US was in very desperate times," Gallogly said. Natural gas prices were much higher, causing prices for ethane and other (NGLs) to also rise. US chemical producers were losing competitive advantage against other parts of the world, which relied on oil-based naphtha. "Within months, the US chemical industry lost 30% of its market share,"Gallogly added.During this bleak period, GE Plastics was sold to Saudi Arabi's Sabic in 2007 and Brazil's Braskem bought Dow Chemical's polypropylene business in 2011, making it the largest PP producer in North America. Now with increased supplies of NGLs in the US, many companies, including LyondellBasell, have announced plans to increase capacity to take advantage of the low-cost feedstock. "We've had a phenomenal resurgence in the chemical world," Gallogly said. Across the US chemical industry, companies are planning or building more than 90 projects costing a total of $72 billion because of cheap natural gas and other feedstocks, the American Chemistry Council reports.
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October 2nd, 2013
Last week, local Houston reporters toured laboratories at LyondellBasell's new Technology Center next to the company’s huge Channelview complex, which is expanding to take advantage of boom-time quantities of natural gas and natural gas liquids like ethane and propane, the major chemical feedstocks. The company might not have relocated its new research and development (R&D) center to Texas before this era of cheap shale gas, said LyondellBasell CEO Jim Gallogly at the unveiling. But the lab walkthrough represents a stunning reversal. FuelFix writer Zain Shauk put Gallogly's remarks in context: