Business models have been changing over the past decade in the chemical industry, as illustrated in the above chart. Initially, the dotcom era began to put pressure on former ‘specialty businesses’, as customers discovered they were paying over the odds for technical support that was no longer required. The internet made it much easier to […]
Tag Archives | refining
Many readers have been taking a well-deserved break over the past few weeks. As usual, therefore, the blog is highlighting key posts during August, to help you catch up as you return to the office. August has been surprisingly busy: Force Majeure reports show worrying increase highlighted the worrying rise in force majeures, which may […]
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 […]
Paraxylene (PX) has been a great petchem success story over the past 30 years. This 4th post in the blog’s series looks back at its history, and discusses how its future may develop. It is hard to remember that back in the 1970s, DMT (dimethyl terephthalate) was the main polyester material. But the superior properties […]
As promised, the 3rd of the blog’s series on the changes underway in the pricing of the major ‘building block’ chemicals, looks at benzene. The chart above shows its ‘spread’ versus naphtha, the key dynamic from a price and margin perspective. As can be seen, this was normally in the $80/t – $200/t range until […]
As promised on Saturday, today’s post looks in more detail at the major change taking place in the relationship of propylene to ethylene prices. When the blog joined the chemical industry in the 1970′s, propylene was often regarded as a disposal problem by many cracker operators. They ran their plants to produce ethylene, which was […]
Unprecedented changes are taking place in the relative prices of the main ‘building block’ petrochemicals. In turn, these could have major implications for downstream users, all along the key value chains. Today’s post looks at the changes taking place in ethylene’s relative price to the other olefins, propylene and butadiene. On Monday, the blog will […]
A remarkable thing happened this week in European olefin markets. Contract prices for butadiene and propylene were finalised for April/Q2 at higher levels than for ethylene. This has never happened before, in Europe or other regions. The chart, based on ICIS pricing data, shows how ethylene (blue line) has normally been the highest priced olefin. […]
The apparent rise in China’s crude oil imports has been a major factor behind the doubling of oil prices in the last year. Yet a detailed analysis by Petromatrix illustrates that reality is a little different from the headline: • China has been importing more oil, as its new refineries come online (alongside its new […]
A key driver for the rally in crude oil markets has been the increase in China’s demand. The assumption has been that this confirms economic growth is recovering strongly. Crude oil imports have certainly been rising since Q1, and have recently averaged 500kbpd more than 2008. Refinery runs have also been higher. However, new analysis […]
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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.