Integration and feedstocks key to styrene competitiveness - Total

23 November 2010 16:35  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--Negative margins for producers of styrene monomer (SM) from 2007-2010 can only be combated by upstream and downstream integration, access to low-cost feedstock and running energy-efficient world-scale plants, an executive from a major producer said on Tuesday.

Current production economics for styrene are not sustainable, said Piet Vermeersch, Total Petrochemicals' business manager for styrene in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in a speech to the 9th European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference.

The average cash margin for styrene made by the ethylbenzene (EB)/SM route between 2007 and 2010 was minus $35/tonne (minus €26/tonne), Vermeersch said.

Overcapacity had been the main underlying problem in Europe, but this had peaked at more than 4m tonnes in 2010. Plant closures and good demand should restore the industry to balance by 2015, he added.

Styrene producers which are integrated both upstream into feedstocks and downstream into derivatives will be best placed to survive volatile markets in the future, Vermeersch said.

The 9th European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference, organised by ICIS and International e-Chem, takes place in Berlin, Germany, on 23-24 November 2010.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Barbara Ortner
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