Feedstock alternatives alter oleochemicals industry: executive

12 September 2013 13:51  [Source: ICIS news]

BRUSSELS (ICIS)--The production of natural gas in North America is one of the factors changing the face of the fatty alcohols industry, a senior executive at oleochemical trading company IP Specialities said on Thursday.

Martin Harrington pointed to the boom in cheap oil and gas in North America while speaking at the 2nd ICIS European Surfactants Conference.

With US natural gas production now equivalent to almost half of Saudi Arabia’s, Harrington said that “palm kernel oil is not the only game in town.”

“This is cheaper energy for countries that frack, and will reduce the dependence on the Middle East,” he said.

Bio-based feedstocks such as sugar, as well as US natural gas are attracting the attention of the industry as alternative feedstocks, owing to the cheaper costs.

Harrington, the president of IP Specialties North America operations, also looked at new alternatives to oleochemicals, such as fermentation with E.coli, metathesis and micro algae cell disruption.

“The oleochemical landscape is now very different to what it was in the 1980’s,” Harrington said. “Success in sourcing surfactant feedstocks will hinge on an organisation’s ability to be flexible to the alternative feedstocks, as well as an understanding of the feedstock and its by-product implications.”

Current prices (August 2013, courtesy of IP Specialties)


Crude oil



Palm kernel oil (CIF R’dam)






US Nat Gas as LNG



By: Neha Popat
+44 208 652 3214

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