ExxonMobil projects above-GDP chemical demand growth

11 March 2010 20:48  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--ExxonMobil projects global demand for its chemicals to grow this year at above-GDP rates, a senior executive said on Thursday.

“The chemical business remains cyclical, [but] we outperform because we maintain our strategy,” said Mike Dolan, senior vice president of ExxonMobil at the company's 2010 analyst meeting at the New York Stock Exchange.

The company’s strategies of maintaining integration with refineries, and investing consistently over the cycle is not new, “but have served us well,” he added.

Chemical demand over the long-term is projected to grow at about 2 percentage points over GDP, he said.

Asia Pacific will be behind 60% of future growth, with half of that amount coming from China, said Dolan.

Growth will be driven by material substitution in existing and new markets, often pushed by the need for sustainability, he said.

In late-2009, demand recovered, but capacity utilisation remained low, noted Dolan.

ExxonMobil Chemical had sales volumes of 24.8m tonnes in 2009, about the same as 2008, with earnings of $2.3bn (€1.7bn), down $650m from 2008. Commodity chemicals represented $1.4bn of 2009’s earnings, he said.

ExxonMobil Chemical had capital expenditures of $3.1bn for 2009 - “the highest in the last 10 years,” said Dolan.

Engineered to accept a wide range of feedstocks, over 90% of ExxonMobil's Chemical's capacity is integrated with refineries or natural gas, he said.

“Integration is more than a refinery and a petrochemical facility next to each other - [it is about] common global processes,” said the executive.

“Technology anchors all of our competitive advantages,” he added.

In 2009, the expansion of the Fujian facility in China was completed, with a petrochemical complex added to the existing refinery, whose capacity had been tripled to 240,000 bbl/day.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Ivan Lerner
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