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 […]
Tag Archives | Petrochemicals
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 […]
Sinopec is China’s main company in refining and chemical markets. Although it is listed on world stock markets, the government remains its largest shareholder with a 76% stake. As such, it follows government priorities rather than western commercial logic. The chart above, from the blog’s major new study of the company, highlights some of the […]
Volume is a key driver for chemical company profits. High volume means operating rates increase, reducing unit costs. Companies also gain more pricing power. But when volume is low, the reverse happens. Thus the above chart from leading analyst Paul Satchell of Collins Stewart is telling an important story. It shows: • Volumes were very […]
Two years ago, the blog began to survey global stock markets on what turned out to be the day they began their major rally. Its end-April launch of Downturn Alert may prove similarly fortuitous. Since then (shaded area), Brent crude oil is down 8%. Similarly naphtha is down 11%, benzene down 2%, HDPE 6% and […]
The blog was very interested to see a recent ICIS interview with Torsten Penkuhn, BASF’s petchem head in Asia, by Will Beacham. Penkuhn noted: “We are more and more concerned at BASF about an increasing risk of overbuilding once again. We currently see a risk that people are becoming too ambitious, enthusiastic and optimistic. And […]
The Falkirk Herald, INEOS’s local newspaper in Scotland, has had to wait a long time for its ‘scoop’ of June 2009 to be confirmed. It had reported then that INEOS was in talks with PetroChina about the future of the Grangemouth refinery. As PetroChina noted at the time, “downstream business has a poor margin nowadays […]
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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 as 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.