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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lack of Drilling in Northeast Ohio Doesn't Mean Utica Shale Isn't Having an Impact There

From Crain's Cleveland Business:
There's not much drilling for shale gas in Northeast Ohio, but the drilling that takes place throughout the state still will have a large impact on the region's plastics and chemical industries that rely on natural gas for raw materials.  
“The plastics industry is salivating over this. With natural gas, you also get byproducts like ethane and propane and these can be cracked to make (plastic raw materials) ethylene and propylene,” said Bob Weiss, chair of the polymer engineering department at the University of Akron.  
His knowledge of the topic isn't just theoretical. At the University of Akron, Weiss and his students help engineer polymers derived from the natural gas byproducts.  
Just a few years ago, U.S. plastic companies were moving production abroad, as domestic supplies of ethane and other raw materials continued a decades-long decline.  
But that has changed, as Ohio is playing a major role in restocking the nation's supply of the materials, collectively referred to as “natural gas liquids,” or NGLs. 
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