The United States is in the early stages of a manufacturing renaissance, and is expected to grow, thanks to cheap and plentiful natural gas.
The U.S. is expected to see a wave of petrochemical plant openings between now and next year. Those plants represent about $50 billion of $160 billion in manufacturing investment earmarked by the industry since 2012, according to James Fitterling, president and COO of Dow Chemical. Among them are several big ethylene plants, including one expected to be opened by Dow in Freeport, Texas, in the second quarter.
"It's about 1.5 million tons of new capacity for us. It will be up in the second quarter sometime," said Fitterling, speaking in Houston at the CERAWeek conference, sponsored by IHS Markit. He said Dow also opened a billion-dollar propane dehydrogenation plant in Freeport at the end of 2015. "That was the first megaproject we've done on the Gulf Coast for quite some time."