The U.S. chemical industry may spend as much as $30 billion on petrochemical facilities that process natural gas to turn it into materials for plastics, according to estimates by Chevron Phillips Chemical. The shale-gas volume may support about five ethane-cracking facilities, with each costing about $5 billion to $6 billion, said Mark Lashier, an executive vice president at Chevron Phillips. "It's tens of billions of dollars that the industry will have to invest to take advantage of that," he said.

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