The Irony of Praise for Petrochemicals! Industry-wide praise of the U.S. and global petrochemical industry's "success" at releasing large volumes of natural gas from shale formations appears to be both a source for celebration and for caution. That begs the question: what kind of success is it? On one hand, hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" of shale deposits to release the captive gas results in a bounty of cost-reduced gas "feedstock" (the material from which new products are manufactured). That factpromises to level the international petrochemical playing field and allows the U.S. and China to compete with the Middle East. It also enables each region's plastic productivity to grow exponentially. On the other, industry analysts predict the resulting surge in valuable petrochemical derivatives will result in quite a significant worldwide surplus by 2020. What surplus? A global surplus of more than 24 million metric tons (MMT) of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), used to make plastic bottles and clear film food wraps as well as opaque containers for consumables such as yoghurt, milk, cottage cheese etc.