EPCA '07: ExxonMobil to drive core chem products

02 October 2007 10:51  [Source: ICIS news]

ExxonMobil to drive core chem productsBERLIN (ICIS news)--ExxonMobil Corp will drive production growth in premium products to help deliver earnings stability, ExxonMobil Chemical senior vice president Sherman Glass said on Tuesday.

Output of the energy giant’s performance products, including specialties such as elastomers, oxo products and metallocene polyethylene (PE), grew by 30% in the four years to 2006. That growth will continue over time, Glass said on the sidelines of the European Petrochemical Association conference.

The common features of the businesses are ExxonMobil’s technology position and the demand for quality requirements.

Glass said the industry could see new capacity coming on stream but the question was still when supply/demand balances begin to loosen again.

ExxonMobil has performed strongly in chemicals for the past three years following an earnings trough earlier in the decade. Returns on capital employed have risen sharply, reaching 33.2% in 2006 from 6.1% in 2002.

“The fundamentals look good right now, globally and in Europe,” Glass said. “And the fundamentals going out into next year look good too,” he added.

“Our desire is to keep all our manufacturing plants at the front of the supply curve,” he said.

“Our strategy over time is to make our manufacturing facilities globally competitive,” Glass said, adding the company will achieve this by increasing product yields and organisational efficiency.

ExxonMobil has recently confirmed growth projects for Singapore and China and a feasibility study for its Qatar petrochemicals project.

The Singapore project includes a 1m tonne/year steam cracker, two 650,000 tonne/year PE units, 450,000 tonnes/year of polypropylene and specialty elastomers, aromatics, oxo-alcohols and paraxylene plants.

In Europe, ExxonMobil Chemical is employing state-of-the art toluene disproportionation technology, Glass said, to raise benzene and xylenes production capacity. The project will make its Rotterdam plant in the Nethelands the world’s largest paraxylene production facility, the company says.

PX production is to increase by 25% and benzene capacity by 20%, Glass said.

ExxonMobil is also focused on ensuring its core aromatics production sites in Baytown, Texas, Rotterdam and Singapore are world-scale and globally competitive, Glass added.

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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