Tag Archives | shale gas

US PVC exports see only modest growth despite shale gas advantage

The casual observer might be forgiven for imagining that the US ethylene industry should be seeing its biggest export boom of recent decades.  Its ethane feedstock cost is back at its normal 25c-30c/gal range of a decade ago, whilst its oil-based competitors have seen their prices quadruple as oil moved to $100/bbl.  But as the chart shows for […]

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US PE exports up just 11% versus 2011, as focus shifts to Latin America

H1 trade date from leading provider Global Trade Information Services highlights a surprisingly weak overall export performance by US polyethylene (PE) producers.  As the chart shows: Net export volumes (blue column) have recovered from the 2012 slowdown (green), but are still only up 11% versus 2011 (red) Volume is currently heavily reliant on sales into Latin […]

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China PE demand grows as food safety worries increase

China’s polyethylene (PE) demand has seen encouraging signs of growth in H1.  As the chart above shows (based on Global Trade Information Services data): Total demand is up 13% in 2013 (red column) versus 2011 (blue) Domestic production is up 7%, whilst imports are up 18% The Middle East is the biggest winner, with its sales […]

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US PVC exports stall, despite shale gas cost advantage

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink. That seems to be the critical message from the current state of US PVC export demand. This should be booming, based on the cost advantage provided by shale gas. But reality is different, as the chart based on Global Trade Information Services […]

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What goes up, usually comes down

Something very strange has happened to oil prices since 2009, as the chart of the ratio between US oil and natural gas prices shows: • Between 1986-2008, the ratio averaged 9.6, and was typically in the 6 – 14 range (6 is oil’s relative energy content versus natgas, whilst 14 was seen during the first […]

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Global PE trade data shows little room for major US expansion

The blog is constantly astonished by the lack of interest in many companies in the vital field of trade data. No business today, no matter how large and well-connected, can possibly hope to understand market developments without constant analysis of this data. Ironically, the lack of interest comes at a time when the quality and […]

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Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas

A blog reader has kindly forwarded an important new study ‘Golden rules for a Golden Age of Gas’, produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA). It sets out what needs to be done to maintain public confidence in ‘fracking’ and the other techniques used to extract unconventional gas. It is clearly a vital piece of […]

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V is for Volatility

Unilever CEO Paul Polman suggests we are living in a VUCA world, as we discuss in chapter 11 of Boom, Gloom and the New Normal. Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity make planning for the future more difficult than for a generation. This week, the blog will run a special series that examines how this VUCA […]

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Why plastics signal problems ahead for the US shale gas bonanza

The blog’s latest post for the new Financial Times FT Data blog has just been published, and is reprinted below. Please click here for the FT site. Shale gas developments in the US have sparked a wave of euphoria about the opportunity for a renaissance of its domestic manufacturing base. Petrochemicals should be one of […]

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US PE exporters face more competition in Brazil

As promised, the blog looks today at the performance of US polyethylene (PE) exporters in Brazil. It was the fastest-growing of the major markets in 2011, as the wider economy benefitted from China’s demand. Since 2008, Brazil’s PE net imports have grown 78%, from 445KT to 793KT in 2011. But as the chart shows (based […]

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