Aromatics '04: Exxon stresses competitive feedstock advantage

23 November 2004 16:09  [Source: ICIS news]

ANTWERP, Belgium (CNI)--Availability of competitive feedstocks is both a crucial requirement and a major challenge for successful producers of aromatics, Ralf Kuhlmann of  ExxonMobil Chemical Europe said here Tuesday.

"Companies must remain profitable at the bottom of the cycle by securing competitive feedstock," he said in a keynote address at the Third European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference*.


Kuhlmann, who is ExxonMobil's marketing and sales director for olefins and aromatics in Europe, predicted that business cycles will get shorter and said companies must prepare for the bottom of economic cycles during upturns.


The mismatch between regional aromatics supply and demand and the weakness in some oversupplied derivative markets were also cited as key challenges.

Kuhlmann said a strong technology position and feedstock integration are the key elements behind ExxonMobil’s success as the world’s leading global aromatics producer. "Technology is a critical success factor for innovation, cost reduction and feed flexibility to gain competitive advantage."

He said ExxonMobil invested about $600m (Euro459m) in technology research last year with over $300m going on technology extensions. He believed that future aromatics technologies will be based on ‘on-purpose’ production.

With 45 refineries and a capacity of 6.4m bbl/day worldwide, ExxonMobil sees aromatics as a critical outlet for managing refinery flexibility. Kuhlmann said that integrated feedstock is a prime requirement for ExxonMobil’s future growth and he said availability of competitive feedstock is a major challenge for producers.


*Organised by global price reporting and market intelligence service ICIS-LOR, European Chemical News and consultants International eChem, the conference continues on Wednesday. ICIS-LOR and ECN are part of the same publishing group as CNI. 

By: Elaine Burridge
+44 20 8652 3214

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