Petrochemical Supply Chain Opportunities in the Rising Rustbelt

What economic opportunities do recent developments in natural gas extraction and distribution present?  On October 7, 2019 I had the pleasure of serving on a panel at The Rising Rust Belt: A Regional Revitalization Economic Summit.  The event was hosted by the by Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce and focused on economic revitalization opportunities in Northwestern PA and Northeastern Ohio.  And more specifically, the event examined opportunities for collaboration through common economic interest in a region spanning two states and multiple counties.

The panel was organized by Linda Nitch Director of Economic Development, Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce,, moderated by Kathryn Klaber, The Klaber Group, and the consultant team that included myself, Roger Pearson, Senior Principal, CEC Planning, and Paul Boulier, VP Industry & Innovation, Team NEO.

Our presentations and discussion focused on the downstream (manufacturing) petrochemical supply chain opportunities presented by shale gas extraction, distribution, and processing in the larger surrounding region of the United States. Roger Pearson and I drew on findings from our recent collaboration on a supply chain study for the Northwest Commission of PA (available here),  and Paul Boulier drew on his experience with supply chain investment attraction in Ohio. 

Key takeaways for economic development included:

  • The opportunity is very large in the multistate region and in particular for growth in chemical, plastics, and rubber manufacturing
  • It is supported by development of Ethane Crackers in Ohio and Pennsylvania that process gas into pellets that are used by downstream manufacturers from aerospace, medical device, and consumer products and more
  • Competition is intense for attraction of these downstream manufacturers with the Gulf, Southeastern US, and Southern California, and Florida
  • Site preparation and planning along with regional collaboration for marketing and attraction is critical to success

The full presentation is available above.

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