The blog is a great believer is learning from the secrets of the world's most successful chemical companies. Thus it was fascinated to read a report by ICIS's Stephen Burns of a major speech by ExxonMobil (EM) president Stephen Pryor.
Pryor warned that "capturing the benefits of downstream integration requires more than simply co-locating petrochemical and refining operations". And he outlined 5 key areas for success, arguing that integration models need instead to focus on:
• Extracting value from every molecule
• Developing the flexibility to select the feedstock that delivers the highest returns for the entire integrated complex, and being able to adjust processes and the product mix in real-time to sustain the optimal recipe.
• Maximising cost savings through economies of scale
• Making the best use of investment capital through joint planning and shared engineering, construction, and infrastructure
• Giving staff a wider perspective by rotating managers between refining and chemicals
Pryor added that EM "is still seeking - and finding - new opportunities to more closely integrate refining and chemicals".
He regards this constant search for improvement as the key factor behind EM's achievement of an average 20% ROCE (return on capital employed) for refining and chemicals over the past decade.