The European petrochemicals industry is in crisis. Operating rates dropped below 85% in H2 2008, and have never recovered. Now there is a danger that it faces death by a thousand cuts. This would be a tragedy for the European economy, as it would imply the loss of tens of thousands of well-paid jobs along […]
Tag Archives | Petrochemicals
Sinopec is China’s largest chemical producer and its second largest refiner. The blog’s annual review of its published Results confirms its uniqueness in global markets. The numbers confirm that it remains focused on increasing production, not profit. It will be No 2 in global ethylene capacity next year as a result. The chart above highlights the key metrics, based […]
When the world changes, companies either change with it or go out of business. The market for stagecoaches was never the same once cars came along. And not many students use slide rules today, now calculators are available. Usually, of course, these market changes are slow-moving. So companies often fail to respond in the hope the old world […]
The Financial Times has carried an excellent analysis this week of the key shale gas issues facing the European chemical industry. It includes comments from a number of CEOs, as well as from the blog. Its key points are as follows: THE STRATEGIC DILEMMA “European petrochemical makers risk being squeezed between low-cost producers in the Middle East […]
The best view is always from the top of the mountain. At least that is how it feels today, with this month’s IeC Boom/Gloom Index (blue column) hitting a record high. Nor it is alone, as the S&P500 (red line), the world’s most important financial market index is also at record levels. Central banks broke […]
The latest American Chemistry Council report on global production shows output was up 3% versus September 2012, and just 18% above average 2007 levels. There was a mixed picture in the main Regions: Asia-Pacific was strongest, up 5.9%, with Japan accelerating as the weak yen helped its exports The Middle East continued to slow, and was up […]
One never wants to see a major petchem plant shutdown, especially one with the history of Grangemouth in Scotland. It is the UK’s largest cracker site, with ethylene capacity of 1 million tonnes. Its production has a sale value of $1bn ($1.6bn), and a final value in food packaging, consumer packaging and automotive parts of […]
2012 was another difficult year for the European olefin industry. As the chart above shows, based on official APPE data, total ethylene volume was just 18.9MT. This was only just above 2009′s 18.8MT. Before that, we have to go back to 1997 to find an equivalent annual volume. And then the industry was still growing […]
Europe’s political leaders were deadlocked last weekend over plans for the EU’s new Budget. A new north-south gap opened up, where the major contributors to the Budget (Germany, UK, Netherlands) demanded €30bn ($39bn) in cuts. This was, of course, badly received by those in the south (Italy, Spain, France) who would like more support. This […]
This year’s European Petrochemical Association in Berlin was notable for its realism. The blog gave an interview to ICIS news which was headlined ‘Major recession ahead, warns leading consultant’. This overview seemed to capture the overall mood of the event. 3 key issues were also the focus of intense discussion: US shale gas. Will all […]
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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.