Decision time in Europe, N America

Many Asian companies have been cutting back petchem production in recent weeks. Now TOTAL have become the first to follow suit in Europe, with the announcement that they will shutdown the Carling No 2 cracker for a month from mid-November. These decisions are never easy. But as the blog has noted before, when times are bad, the industry looks to the majors to take a lead. The blog therefore applauds TOTAL’s management for biting the bullet, painful as it will be.

It also applauds Dow CEO, Andrew Liveris, for his continued honesty about the outlook. Liveris is now warning that “we will likely see a global recession through most of 2009″. BP’s Steven Welch was equally candid when noting that BP are currently seeing “reduced real demand (not just destocking)”. However, the blog is puzzled, to say the least, by yesterday’s claim from Nova’s Jeffrey Lipton that N American “customers will have to order heavily to maintain production” during Q4.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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