25 October 2013 10:01 [Source: ICB]
The closure of Grangemouth, one of the UK’s leading petrochemical sites, highlights the plight of the industry in Europe, and has led to calls for a national strategy to help improve the country’s feedstock position.
Within two to three years, Europe faces the prospect of increased exports of polymers from the US as a big wave of shale gas ethane plants come on stream. Add to that the poor state of the region’s economy, the pressure of Middle East polymer imports, plus high oil prices and it is easy to see why companies like INEOS are trying everything they can to take out costs and switch to alternative feedstocks.
According to David Jones, managing director of consultancy Industrial Commercial Ventures, the UK government should help the whole industry to develop a national strategy for petrochemical feedstocks.
Speaking on 23 October , he said: “UK cracking infrastructure is well-positioned due to its ability to crack natural gas liquid (NGL) feedstocks. The UK chemical industry could begin to operate in a more integrated way, facilitated by the government. Steps could be taken on feedstocks and infrastructure. Now is the time to think about that.”
As we went to press, INEOS was considering a union offer to accept the company’s survival plan.
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