The shale natural gas boom in the U.S. is also boosting the country's petrochemical industry, as natural gas liquids such as ethane, butane and propane are also extracted from hydraulic fracturing techniques. Using ethane as a feedstock for chemicals is significantly cheaper compared with naptha, which is conventionally used by producers and is derived from crude oil, according to Dow Chemical Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris. "Ethane is still by far the preferred feed here in the United States and is much more cost-competitive than all of its equivalents," said Liveris.

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