The shale revolution has helped make the U.S. a major source of natural gas in the world. Middle East oil prices keep falling. Solar power is already receiving pushback from electric companies, and the energy industry as a whole is looking at some major changes.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in petrochemicals. Though fossil fuels have been under heavy scrutiny for decades, analysts McKinsey & Company note in a recent report that growth is still occurring in the industry, as demand for petroleum products remains steady.

As we move closer to 2020, here are three trends to keep an eye on in the petrochemical industry.
1. Shale Oil Will Continue Driving Prices Down

Investing in oil over the last few years has been a risky business, as prices continue to plummet due to extraction and production of shale oil, which is increasingly becoming a more efficient method of oil production.

Advancements in alternative energy are also affecting the petrochemical markets. Elon Musk is constructing a solar power plant in Nevada while more and more car manufacturers create electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles. Petroleum has stiff competition these days.

2. Production Costs Will Go Down

The tech sector continues improving upon robotics and automation. Soon, these advancements will make drilling easier, cheaper, and more efficient. Even implementing green energy alternatives into the manufacturing of petrochemicals can reduce overhead costs.

3. U.S. Oil Will Become Prolific

Leading the way with shale oil production and not lagging too far behind in alternative fuel development, the United States is becoming less dependent on foreign oil. This means the U.S. petrochemical industry will continue growth in order to supply other parts of the world.

Whereas tech and manufacturing routinely offshore work to other countries, the petrochemical industry within the U.S. remains strong and focused. The quality of products being produced here are making U.S. oil more attractive to foreign interests.

Natural gas is one of the most valuable resources in the world, and the U.S. is dependent upon the production of this valuable resource. Although solar energy, electric cars, and other alternative fuels exist, the petrochemical industry still enjoys continued growth.