From the traditional oil and gas sector to businesses as diverse as railcars, automobiles and plastics, the American fracking revolution continues to upend expectations and business plans.
Consider, for instance, that U.S. energy suppliers now are tapping into growing opportunities to export liquefied petroleum gas from Canada and the United States to Asia and elsewhere. Also, the drilling boom has set off a surge in demand for railcars that haul liquids such as crude oil, as well as fracking sands, which also has put pressure on the prices of railcars for other uses such as transporting grain.
Meanwhile, look at plans by the former South African state oil company, Sasol, for a multi-billion-dollar energy complex in Louisiana that will be the single largest foreign-investment project in U.S. history. Sasol plans to spend as much as $21 billion there to tap into cheap natural gas, as well as the pipeline and shipping infrastructure along the Gulf Coast, The Wall Street Journal reported. And it’s only part of a proliferation of energy projects in Louisiana that will continue to elevate the state’s economy and provide several opportunities for construction suppliers.
At this juncture, the CEOs and business owners most ready to benefit from the drilling boom are those running B2B companies. However, the sea change in the U.S. economy is something that consumer brands should watch as well, for its effects in areas such as consumer confidence.
A rising sense of “energy security” among rank-and-file Americans, for example, may be a factor behind the fact that large SUVs and pickup trucks have been some of the leading gainers in U.S. automotive sales so far this year—even while most media attention is on more fuel-efficient cars and small SUVs.
Furthermore, the dimensions of America’s domestic-energy revolution continue to grow, meaning that its implications for CEOs and their companies also will continue to grow—exponentially. As a result, business leaders across the economy need to be on the lookout for the knock-on effects and possible opportunities.