Aromatics markets often lead petrochemical markets, and provide good insight into economic trends. This has certainly been true of PTA (terephthalic acid) and benzene over the past year. PTA demand into polyester and PET is dominated by Asia: benzene’s wide variety of uses means it is a good proxy for industrial production in Europe. Recent developments have been […]
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There are 2 ways to improve operating rates in an industry. One is to increase volumes, the other is to reduce capacity. The latest APPE data covering H1 2014 for European olefin capacity highlights how the European petrochemical industry has successfully used both mechanisms over the past year to improve its position: Ethylene volume increased to 9.8MT, versus […]
We have another strong speaker line-up for our 10th European Aromatics & Derivatives conference on 22-23 November in Amsterdam, co-organised as usual with ICIS. Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer Material Science, will talk about the outlook from the viewpoint of a major global aromatics consumer. Alexander Farina, GM strategy for Shell Chemicals, will give his […]
Our annual Asian conference in Singapore (co-organised as always with ICIS) was very interesting this week. We had some fascinating presentations from major companies including Reliance and Thai Oil, and China insights from CICCC and Chemease. Shell’s GM for strategy, Alexander Farina, discussed changes in cost competitiveness between benzene (grey column) and propylene (red) over […]
Attendees had a fascinating two days at our annual European Aromatics & Derivatives Conference in Berlin this week. As always, it was co-organised with ICIS, and featured a strong list of speakers: Sven Royall, VP at Shell Chemicals, put forward an optimistic outlook for benzene derivatives. He argued that substitution of PS by PP had […]
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 […]
Registrations are already building for our 9th European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference, to be held in Berlin on 23-24 November. Co-organised as always with ICIS, it features a strong line-up of industry speakers including: • Shell Chemicals, Sven Royall, VP Intermediates on ‘What next for Aromatics’? • Ralf Kuhlmann (former Business Director, ExxonMobil Chemicals and […]
Our 9th European Aromatics and Derivatives Conference will be held in Berlin on 23-24 November. Co-organised as always with ICIS, it features a strong line-up of industry speakers including: • Shell Chemicals, Sven Royall, VP Intermediates on ‘What next for Aromatics’? • Ralf Kuhlmann (former Business Director, ExxonMobil Chemicals and APPE Chairman) on ‘European petrochemicals: […]
LyondellBasell (LBI) is to exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 30 April, 15 months after entering it in January 2009. The past 15 months have been an expensive lesson for those debt-holders who financed Basell’s purchase of Lyondell in July 2007, at the peak of the market. LBI entered Chapter 11 with $24bn of debt. […]
Our major Feedstocks for Profit Study last year foresaw difficult times ahead for European refiners. Now it seems this forecast by our partners, refining experts Wood Mackenzie, is coming true. Total, Europe’s largest refiner, today reported that European refining margins fell 85% in Q3, to just $6.60/bbl, the lowest level for 7 years. And they […]
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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.