Tag Archives | shale gas

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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US exports to China fall, as cost advantage grows

US petchem producers are planning a major boost to ethylene capacity. They now have the 2nd cheapest feedstock in the world, due to ethane from shale gas. The only question is, where will they sell their product? Ethylene, of course, is very expensive to export. So derivatives such as polyethylene (PE) are the main way […]

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Asia’s olefin margins weaken vs Europe, USA

The ICIS weekly margin reports continue to provide essential reading for anyone in the petrochemical value chain. The above chart is particularly fascinating, as it highlights the significant differences between cracker margins on a regional basis over the past 2 years: • Europe (red column) is the clear winner over the period. Its margin bottomed […]

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