APLA '09: Lighter US feedstocks keeping PE advantage in place

09 November 2009 00:54  [Source: ICIS news]

MEXICO CITY (ICIS news)--The lighter feedstock slate for US cracker operators is keeping up the cost advantage that has boosted US polyethylene (PE) exports in 2009, a LyondellBasell official said on Sunday.

There is no sign yet of the feedstock benefit fading, although looming projects in the Middle East will ultimately have the biggest cost advantage, said Dale Young, senior vice president for sales and the supply chain at LyondellBasell.

A wide gap has opened between US prices for oil and natural gas this year, putting US producers into a lower cost structure than their naphtha-based counterparts in Europe and Asia.

LyondellBasell reported earlier this month that after a slowdown in September, Asian demand for US PE exports has kicked in again.

The company said it anticipated strong demand through November at least.

The future question will be how much Middle Eastern production can be absorbed by Asia, Young said on the sidelines of the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) meeting in Mexico City.

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By: Stephen Burns
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