Tag Archives | feedstock pricing

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US crackers feast on ethane feeds

There has been a dramatic shift in cracker feedstocks in the USA over the past 2 years, as crude oil prices have risen. Many US producers have been able to switch to ethane feed, and as a result have become some of the lowest-cost ethylene producers in the world. As the chart* shows: • In […]

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Oil prices in longest-ever period of contango

Oil markets are now in their longest-ever period of contango. This is when prices for future months are higher than current levels. According to Bloomberg, they have now been in contango for a record 656 days. Keeping a barrel of crude in a tank on land costs 60 – 70 US cents/month, whilst hiring a […]

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China’s growth in crude oil demand slows

The Petromatrix report is currently a must-read for anyone seeking to understand what is really happening in crude oil markets. Its latest issue analyses China’s demand. It suggests this is not as strong as the bullish investment banks on Wall Street might wish. China’s refinery runs are certainly rising, as its new major capacity comes […]

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Lower refining rates support EU petchem margins

Sometimes every cloud does have a silver lining. And that’s currently the case with the fall in demand for oil products. The European petchem industry is based on feedstock from refineries such as naphtha and LPG. And as the chart above from the IEA shows, German refinery runs, like others elsewhere in Europe, are down […]

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Asian polymer prices and margins begin to fall

A month ago, Nigel Davis called attention in his ICIS Insight column to the alarming fall taking place in US ethylene values. He noted that “inventories seem to have filled“, and presciently concluded that “buyers have been on the look-out for the turn and, by all accounts, expect any downward movement to be swift and […]

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European ethylene margins slip as oil prices rise

The excellent ICIS European margin report for ethylene shows an interesting picture this week. The chart above compares contract margins based on naphtha (red line) and LPG (yellow line) feedstock. Both have been slipping since September, when they peaked at €398/t and €357/t respectively. This week, they are over 40% lower, at €232/t and €208/t. […]

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US natural gas markets in confusion

Natural gas is a major feedstock for US chemical producers. So the problems caused by the rush to buy a fund that “invests” in the natural gas futures market, are a concern. Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix has been warning for some time that the UNG fund was becoming too large. Investors have been so keen […]

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Refiners’ margins come under pressure

In another sign of the economy ‘bouncing along the bottom’, US drivers appear to have returned to the road in recent months. Latest figures from the US Highway Administration show a 0.1% rise in vehicle miles travelled during May, the second consecutive month of positive growth since 2007. But this is unlikely to provide much […]

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Aromatics feedstocks: ‘Back to the Future’

For the past 40 years, the aromatics industry has usually had to ‘bid away’ its feedstock from the octane and gasoline pool. The only exception took place in S Korea during the early 1990′s, when local gasoline demand was low. This gave the new S Korean paraxylene (PX) producers the lowest cost base in the […]

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New US auto fuel standards provide chemical companies with major opportunities

The new US fuel economy standards announced today by President Obama are very big news for the chemical industry. By 2016, all new autos will have to meet a 39 miles/gallon standard, up 42% from the current 27.5 mpg. Trucks will have to do 30 mpg, versus 23 mpg today. They are important for two […]

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