AFPM ’13: INEOS capital spending will gravitate to US - CEO

25 March 2013 16:43  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--INEOS will invest more in the US to capitalise on the country’s shale gas advantage while restructuring in Europe is likely, chairman Jim Ratcliffe said on Monday.

Shale gas is having an enormous impact on the petrochemical industry in North America and will have a negative impact on Europe, he suggested.

“The story is one of two halves,” he said in answer to questions following his acceptance of the 17th Petrochemical Heritage Award from the Chemical Heritage Foundation, which was presented at the 38th American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) International Petrochemical meeting (IPC).

“It’s not rocket science, our capital will gravitate towards the US,” Ratcliffe said.

INEOS spends about $700m (€539m) a year on capital expenditure, he added.

The company has a 4bn lb/year (1.8m tonne/year) gas cracker at Chocolate Bayou in Texas and just over 2bn lbs/year of polyethylene capacity alongside other olefins and derivatives, according to its Olefins & Polymers USA website. Its total petrochemicals capacity in North America is 7.5bn lbs/year.

“We have a long-term issue in Europe,” Ratcliffe said, referring to the region’s current debt and economic problems. “Europe remains in a difficult place.”

Swiss-headquartered INEOS has a lot of assets in Europe, he added, and the company was looking at how any of these could be underpinned by cheap feedstock from the US.

The company has plans to ship ethane from Marcus Hook in Pennsylvania to help feed its cracker at Rafnes in Norway and potentially its site at Grangemouth, in the UK.

The INEOS CEO warned, however, that Europe’s problems were persisting.

“There will have to be some rationalisation in Europe,” he said.  

The IPC takes place from Sunday through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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