Consumer push for sustainability masks massive growth in plastic demand

This is the first installment in a three-part series exploring oil, plastics demand and sustainability. Barely a week goes by without another headline decrying the use of plastics and plastic packaging in Europe. Plastics are clogging up our oceans, overflowing our landfill sites and even finding their way into our food. But as the world wakes up to the environmental damage caused by plastic waste and pollution, it may come as a surprise to learn that the industry is looking to dramatically ramp up production, not slow it down. The International Energy Agency now forecasts demand for petrochemical feedstocks – the specific group of refined oil and gas products used to produce plastics – to grow by nearly 5 million barrels per day to 2040. Meanwhile, the petrochemicals sector itself is now being positioned as the largest driver of global oil consumption at more than a third of the growth in oil demand to 2030, and nearly half to 2050. In the US, ready access to low-cost unconventional oil reserves has already led to the investment of more than $200 billion in new chemical manufacturing facilities since 2010, while in Europe new investments are counting on exports of US chemicals… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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