Valero Energy's plan to spend up to $700 million to add a Louisiana methanol plant may be followed by petrochemical investments by other refiners in the region, according to this analysis. The American Chemistry Council reports that more than $71 billion in chemical investment projects are planned or underway in the U.S. Gulf Coast. "I think it's certainly possible. If you look at the primary reason for Valero's expansion, it is the low cost of natural gas. There is certainly a very positive outlook for chemical feedstock," said Morningstar analyst Allen Good.

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