02 April 2012 23:46 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--BASF is looking at another “good year” for its industrial petrochemical operations in North America in 2012, a company official said on Monday.
“If you look at demand, most of our markets are growing at GDP rates,” said Brian Lieberman, BASF vice president for industrial petrochemicals in ?xml:namespace>
Industrial petrochemicals include coatings and superabsorbent polymers.
“As I talked with our customers here, I wouldn’t say that demand is weak. They are optimistic, but just a little bit cautious,” he said.
Economic conditions in the
“So far, business has been good… People are a little slow to build inventory levels because they are not exactly sure where demand is gonna go,” Lieberman said.
In the first months of the year, however, the BASF official said margins for industrial chemicals at the start of the year “have been somewhat compromised due to the high propylene cost, especially in February and March”.
He said the propylene market is expected to remain challenging in the next few months due to a spate of cracker turnarounds in
With propylene prices remaining volatile, downstream petrochemical firms are having difficulty passing the cost through to its consumers.
Lieberman considers the “changing conditions with shale gas” as the biggest challenge for
“There are certain molecules that will be more challenged. It will open up opportunities for alternative routes to propylene,” he said.
As more and more crackers in the region use lighter natural gas-based feedstocks compared with naphtha, their ability to produce propylene is significantly reduced, hence the tight supply of the olefin in
Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC continues through Tuesday.
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