The experience in Asia has also given the once highly UK-centric company the confidence to pursue other markets – the US and Russia, in particular. It is targeting petrochemicals businesses, a sector in which it specialises, with the UK arm leading both the sales and marketing effort as well as the resulting production.“It is very nice to see individuals that five or six years ago didn’t travel further than London, preparing to go to Pittsburgh tomorrow,” says Mr Staff. “The whole culture has changed.”
The juxtaposition of "petrochemicals businesses" and "Pittsburgh" isn't a mere coincidence. I'd bet that the main reason Halifax Fan is flying to the Burgh is the Marcellus Shale. It's an energy bonanza.
I'll venture a bit further out on the ledge in my analysis. The petrochemical renaissance in the United States is dependent on LNG exports remaining dormant:
Moreover, for U.S. LNG exports to make economic sense, domestic gas price would need to stay low, with high enough international LNG prices, and if the LNG prices are still tied to crude oil (which could change depending on market development), then crude oil prices would have to remain elevated. That’s a lot of tricky variables clouding the seemingly rosy LNG export picture.Some industry participant like Conoco Phillips is not completely sold on LNG exports either. Al Hirshberg, Conoco’s senior vice president of planning and strategy, said at a conference that he does not see the economic case for LNG export terminals being “overwhelming,” and that LNG exports will unlikely ever scale enough to have a big impact on the domestic US gas market. CitiGroup also expects the U.S. could become a swing player in the global LNG market since all planned LNG facilities in North America are going to be two-way.
That cloudy export picture is good news for the likes of Bayer. The petrochemical industry also needs the gas price to remain low. American LNG entering the global market would be a disaster. Increased demand domestically should help ward off that prospect. Hence the rush to get cracking in West Virginia.