Mitsui Chemicals mulls investment in US market


TOKYO -- Mitsui Chemicals is considering investing in the US petrochemical business using cheap natural gas there as a feedstock, the company's president said Thursday.

"We're in talks with several companies," Toshikazu Tanaka told reporters. "The US is a very big market. We're interested."

Mr. Tanaka said the company hasn't started talking about any concrete projects yet and declined to name potential partners.

Low natural gas prices resulting from the US shale-gas boom are stimulating new investments in petrochemical plants there.

In March, Royal Dutch Shell said it would build a $2 billion petrochemical plant in Pennsylvania near the Marcellus Shale formation and would use natural gas as a primary feedstock.

Also in March, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris said his company, which processes around 850,000 bpd of oil equivalent into plastics and other products, is focusing on increasing its US presence due to the lower natural gas prices.

In July, Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, president of rival Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, said the company had been looking for a good opportunity to build a factory in North America to take advantage of the cheap natural gas.

Dow Jones Newswires

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