HOUSTON -- The outlook for the global hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI) is upbeat. Global spending is expected to exceed $279 billion in 2014, and spending in the US alone is forecast to reach nearly $78 billion.
The publisher and editors of Hydrocarbon Processing released this information at the magazines 40th annual HPI Forecast and Breakfast, held Friday at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston.
The $279 billion in overall spending is up nearly 15% from $244 billion in 2013.
The newfound optimism in the global HPI stems from the increased availability of natural gas supplies in several nations, the rich shale reserves in North America, and a new expansion wave for petrochemicals.
The petrochemical outlook is especially strong in North America, supported by low gas pricing, and the Middle East, where new units are coming online. Both regions are poised to expand petrochemical production capacity to supply growing demand via increased exports.
The forecast breaks out capital spending to reach $77.7 billion, maintenance spending to reach $82.7 billion and operating spending to exceed $119.1 billion.
When broken out by sector, spending in the petrochemical sector is forecast to hit $137.3 billion, refining expenditures will approach $104.2 billion and gas processing spending will be $38 billion.
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The expanding economies of non-Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, including Brazil, China, India and Russia, are driving new energy demand. Incentivized to meet this need for energy, producing nations are taking advantage of new natural gas reserves, less expensive feedstocks, and investment in new units and construction projects.
Due to its abundant shale reserves, North America is particularly well-positioned to become self-sufficient in energy over the next two decades. The US is also anticipated to become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) within the next few years.
"Many market conditions and trends are converging to support the uplift of the hydrocarbon processing industry, said Stephany Romanow, editor of Hydrocarbon Processing.
The downstream is re-energized. Investment is ongoing on a global basis. This project activity focuses on new capacity, along with efforts to increase plant and equipment reliability, safety, energy efficiency and more."
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