The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
US Poaches Industry from Europe with Shale Gas

The sweet scent of cheap gas is luring manufacturing back to the United States. The German chemicals company BASF is one of many energy-intensive firms looking to open plants stateside. The Washington Post reports:

Here in Ludwigshafen[, Germany], many people view the United States as the land of the future. Since 2009, BASF has channeled more than $5.7 billion into new investments in North America, including a formic acid plant under construction in Louisiana, where the company will manufacture a chemical used to de-ice runways, tan leather and preserve animal feed.

Top BASF officials say that unless Europe allows a more aggressive approach to energy production, including broader use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, even more manufacturing will move to the United States.

American government got out of the way of innovative drilling companies and allowed the shale boom to take off. Europe took the opposite tack, choosing to stick to its green policies and snub shale. As a result, natural gas prices in the US are a quarter of what they are in Europe. And as industry departs, unemployment in the Euro zone is hitting a record high. That’s yet another failure that can be laid at the feet of Europe’s greens.

But this revival of American industry won’t bring back the heyday of early 20th century Detroit. Americans still need to learn skills that robots can’t replicate. Still, we’re always happy to see more manufacturing in the US, and this is yet another reason to be optimistic about America’s future.

Published on April 2, 2013 4:00 pm
  • ojfl

    American government got out of the way of innovative drilling companies and allowed the shale boom to take off.

    I am sorry Dr. Mead, they did not. They simply could not get in the way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Atanu-Maulik/100000528219784 Atanu Maulik

      That’s because how power is distributed in the US. No stupid demagogue is powerful enough to shove his ideas down the throat of the entire nation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Atanu-Maulik/100000528219784 Atanu Maulik

    US is benefiting and will continue to benefit mightily from European stupidity.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      The US is indeed fortunate in its major competitors. God protects drunks, fools, and the USA.