Watch for your plastic goods to get a whole lot more expensive guys. Some might find an agenda here possibly?
It will be interesting to see the long term effects of this. Is it merely a “speed bump” or will it forever impact our reliance on plastics. No doubt environmentalists will see positives in this, but perhaps not those who may lose their jobs?
What do you think? Reason for concern or a mainstream media “storm in a teacup”?
Few Americans care about ethylene. Many have probably never heard of it.
As it turns out, this colorless, flammable gas is arguably the most important petrochemical on the planet — and much of it comes from the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast. Ethylene is one of the big reasons the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey in the chemical communities along the Gulf of Mexico is likely to ripple through U.S. manufacturing of essential items from milk jugs to mattresses.
“Ethylene really is the major petrochemical that impacts the entire industry,” said Chirag Kothari, an analyst at consultant Nexant.
Texas alone produces nearly three-quarters of the country’s supply of one of the most basic chemical building blocks. Ethylene is the foundation for making plastics essential to U.S. consumer and industrial goods, feeding into car parts used by Detroit and diapers sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
With Harvey’s floods shutting down almost all the state’s plants, 61 percent of U.S. ethylene capacity has been closed, according to PetroChemWire. Production may not return to pre-storm levels until November, according to Jefferies.
Ethylene occurs naturally — it’s the gas given off by fruit as it ripens. But it also lies at the heart of the $3.5 trillion global chemical industry, with factories pumping out 146 million tons last year, Kothari said Thursday.
Processing plants turn the chemical into polyethylene, the world’s most common plastic that’s used in garbage bags and food packaging. When transformed into ethylene glycol, it’s the antifreeze that keeps engines and airplane wings from freezing in winter, and it becomes the polyester used in textiles and water bottles.
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