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FT: Surge in plastics production defies environmental backlash

At a time when the oil industry is gripped by fears that demand for petrol will collapse in an era of electric vehicles, many hydrocarbon producers are betting on petrochemicals — and in particular, plastics — to fill the gap.

in Paris: 12 Feb 2020

Along the banks of the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, giant cranes whir overhead as thousands of construction workers toil away at what will be one of the largest plastic factories in the world.

The multibillion dollar Royal Dutch Shell plant, on the site of an old zinc smelter in the American rust-belt, is the biggest investment in the state since the second world war…

At a time when the oil industry is gripped by fears that demand for petrol will collapse in an era of electric vehicles, many hydrocarbon producers are betting on petrochemicals — and in particular, plastics — to fill the gap. But doubts are emerging about the wisdom of a huge expansion in capacity that will leave the world awash in products that can take hundreds of years to decay.

FULL FT ARTICLE 

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