Europe, Asia styrene producers under pressure to rationalise: exec

20 June 2013 22:02  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Companies with styrene production in Europe and Asia will remain “under pressure” to further consolidate and rationalise their operations, an executive with Germany-based Styrolution said on Thursday.

Styrene plants in Europe and Asia face a disadvantage in feedstocks and higher energy costs compared with facilities in North America and the Middle East, said Steve Harrington, president of Styrolution America’s Styrene Global Business Unit. He made his comments at the ICIS US Aromatics and Derivatives Conference.

In recent years, European petrochemical companies in particular have been dealing with rationalisation as North America’s shale revolution made plants in the US substantially more cost-effective producers.

For example, in 2012, INEOS – which is a 50:50 owner of Styrolution along with BASF – closed its Marl, Germany, site where it produced 110,000 tonnes/year of expandable polystyrene (EPS), 260,000 tonnes/year of cumene, 180,000 tonnes/year of polystyrene (PS) and 350,000 tonnes/year of styrene.

Meanwhile, Asia of late has been dealing with a lower-than-expected economic growth rate in China and has many small-capacity styrene plants that cannot be pushed to the high operating rates that worldscale plants in other global regions can be, Harrington said.

The ICIS US Aromatics and Derivatives Conference concluded on Thursday.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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