China’s Sinopec has taken a lead in reviewing its petrochemical expansion plans. Speaking to employees last week, Wang Tianpu, CPC division President, noted that ‘global crude prices may remain high and the petrochemical industry may become even more competitive’. Today, he gave more details, saying that they plan to lower 2008 petchem expenditure by 4.6bn yuan ($675m). This is certainly a small step in the right direction. But it is probably ‘too little, too late’.
All the ‘building block’ petchems (ethylene, propylene, benzene and paraxylene) face major over-capacity between 2010-14, even if Global Boom conditions return. Our newly-released ‘Feedstocks for Profit’ Study sets out the detail of the challenges ahead. Hopefully, its analysis will become required reading in the industry. Please contact me at email@example.com if you would like a copy of the Executive Summary, for discussion with your colleagues.