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The Risks Ahead For Polyethylene

By John Richardson

TOO many people will look at the chart on the left and think, “Crisis? What crisis?” But glance to the right for what it is like in another petrochemicals value chain. What is happening on the right …

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This Is Not Just Another Economic Downcycle

By John Richardson

ECONOMIC upcycles come and go, but in the end, the fundamentals don’t change. This is the message I have picked up from conversations with senior industry executives over the last two weeks.

“All we have to do …

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Oil In Free Fall: What It Means For Petchems

By John Richardson

AS crude heads to perhaps as little as $10-15/bbl, you have  evaluate the immediate, or first order, effects on the petrochemicals industry and then move to stage two – what it means in the longer term.

Right …

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Global Polyethylene Priced Off US Ethane. Why Not?

By John Richardson

WHEN you have spent several billion dollars building a brand new US steam cracker complex, you will of course do everything to maximise operating rates to pay back your debts, even if it means pricing off your …

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Collapsing Crude: What To Do Next

This is business critical now, as the new global economic crisis, centred on China and other emerging markets, gathers momentum. Putting aside the specific monumental problems represented by China, as the Financial Times pointed on Monday, the last decade has …

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Polyethylene The “Last Man Standing”. For How Much Longer?

By John Richardson

POLYETHYLENE (PE) remains almost the “last man standing”. Whereas most of the other chemicals and polymers markets in China, including phenol,  polyvinyl chloride and purified terephthalic acid, are mired in almost vanished imports and poor profitability because …

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Autos Material Science: 180 Degree Change For Petchems

By John Richardson

HERE is an example of how the links between the petrochemicals and polymers business and the autos industry have long worked:…

  In the 1980s, propylene was a very low value co-product of naphtha and other liquids cracking.

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Deflation Threatens Asia’s Ethylene-Polyethylene Link

By John Richardson

AS you can see from the above chart, ever since April 1997, when we first started providing price quotes for spot Northeast Asian (NEA) high-density polyethylene (HDPE) film grade, it has been spot ethylene rather than spot …

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Changing Demand Is Demanding Better Answers

By John Richardson

I HAVE spent the last two weeks travelling in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia and during that time, I didn’t meet one senior petrochemicals industry executive who talked in detail about demand. Instead, the …

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China Is The World’s New Swing Petchems Producer

By John Richardson

CHINA is the new “swing producer” in some global petrochemicals markets, as is the case with US shale oil producers in the global oil market.

Let’s start with US shale oil. Here, the Catch 22 situation is …

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