02 October 2010 12:00 [Source: ICIS news]
By Nigel Davis
LONDON (ICIS)--Petrochemical producers are cautiously optimistic as they gather in ?xml:namespace>
Running from 2-6 October, this year's meeting has attracted more than 2,240 registered delegates, nearly 18% more than in 2009. Following two years of disquiet – first, about the global financial meltdown and the impending recession; and second, about looming olefins and polyolefins overcapacities – most will feel better placed.
There is no time to be complacent, however. Ireland's debt crisis looms large. Chemicals demand downstream has improved markedly but shown some weakness since June. European and indeed global producers have for too long perhaps been braced for the impact of the significant new capacity additions in the
The consensus view is that despite current setbacks to do with feedstock availability and the speed with which new facilities can realistically be brought on stream,
Some European polyolefins capacities have been cut. Shell confirmed on 29 September that it would cut 240,000 tonnes of ethylene capacity in
“The survival instinct through the downturn enables us to hold on to gains, bringing a better return on our fixed-cost base and better margins,” EPCA president Tom Crotty noted in an EPCA preview published by ICIS Chemical Business (ICB). The outlook for the second half is positive, and Crotty said he expects the sector as a whole to put in a strong overall 2010 performance.
It looks now as though 2010 has been a recovery year and that 2011 could be relatively good. Indeed, Crotty sees no fundamental reason why it should not be so. “For 2012 and 2013, the drivers will be simply the supply/demand balance and margins will still be pretty solid,” he said.
After a period of shock,
The EPCA has a thought-provoking theme for the 2010 meeting: “Nine billion people in 2050. The chemical industry as enabler of solutions.”
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