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European Petrochemicals: Making Money Despite Deflation

By John Richardson

THE European petrochemicals industry has done staggeringly well since 2008 thanks to operating rate discipline, skillful inventory management and feedstock flexibility – for example, the INEOS and SABIC initiatives to import low cost ethane from the US.…

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China Capacity Closures? Stop Whistling In The Dark

By John Richardson

Measured in US dollars, the price of US imports from China has risen just by 4% over the last ten years, but measured in Yuan, it has actually fallen by no less than 20% (see our above …

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Thirty Reasons Why Ethylene Will Not Be Tight Until 2019

By John Richardson

THERE is a very common view out there that the ethylene cycle will tighten from next year until around 2019, when the big flood of new US capacity is expected to hit the market.

This is supported …

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China Coal-To-Olefins “A Net Water Producer”

By John Richardson

IT has become the accepted wisdom over the last few years that the coal-to-olefins (CTO) process in China consumes a lot of water.

This theory has been expressed in so many conference papers and in research papers …

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Global Petchems Industry Must Prepare For More Difficult 2015

THE direction of Asian polyethylene markets, once again, serves as a good guide for the overall global petrochemicals industry.

Producers in every region and in every sector of our industry should, therefore, take note of what follows. They must prepare …

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China Excess Phenol Capacity A New Strategic Tool

By John Richardson

STANDARD Western cost-per-tonne analysis has never really been applied in China’s petrochemicals industry – and it never will be applied.

In the past, we have seen how petrochemicals plants have often been run at operating rates of …

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What A “Low Growth World” Really Looks Like

By John Richardson

ONLY six new  US crackers would be built over the next five years because of rising construction and labour costs, said Dow Chemical’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, in an earnings conference call last week. This would be out …

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China Coal-To-Olefins: Water Not An Issue

By John Richardson

CONVENTIONAL wisdom has it that the water issue stands in the way of the growth of the coal-to-olefins (CTO) industry in China.

The process consumes a lot of water  – between 15-20 tonnes for every tonne of …

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European Political Suicide Seems Unlikely

By John Richardson

For once, we are not going to talking about demand but will instead focus only on supply.

“In all scenarios, the US captures market share away from Europe,” the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) chief economist, Kevin Swift, …

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China: When Sentiment Tells Us Something Important

By John Richardson

THE blog once asked a seasoned petrochemicals industry consultant what the price of polypropylene (PP) was.

“It depends on whether the Hong Kong traders are in a good or a bad mood this morning,” was his reply.…

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