There has never been any fundamental basis for the rise in oil prices over the past 3 years: • At no time has there been any actual shortage of product • In fact, inventories have always been at comfortable levels They rose only for two reasons: • The investment banks found they could make a […]
Tag Archives | Shell
The blog is delighted to be in Singapore next month, for its 5th Asian Aromatics & Derivatives Conference. It will be the ideal moment to review the challenges facing the industry, and develop plans for H2. As always, the Conference is being organised with ICIS, and features an excellent line-up of speakers: Shell’s Alexander Farina […]
Natural gas markets, so important in relation to chemical feedstock availability and pricing, are undergoing major change as we transition to the New Normal. The Middle East, which had been in surplus, is now moving to a more balanced position in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia. But the USA, which had expected to need […]
The summer has seen several reports of reductions in ethane availability to Saudi petchem plants. This seems to have been due to two causes: • Saudi has cut back oil production by a third (4mbd) in order to comply with its 8.3mbd OPEC quota at a time of reduced global demand. This has also reduced […]
The chemical industry can be very proud of what it has achieved with the Responsible Care programme since 1985. But it may need to consider how this develops, in the light of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. One key question emerged from this week’s US Congressional hearing with the heads of ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell. It […]
Shell CEO Peter Voser has made a fascinating speech in China, where he highlights the length of time taken for new energy technologies to gain adoption. He says Shell’s research shows it takes “30 years for new energy types to capture 1% of the market“. And he contrasts this with the electronics industry, where a […]
The blog was recently interviewed by ICIS’ Anna Jagger at Vienna Airport, on its way back from the World Refining Conference. The conversation covered the need for companies to focus on innovation, as well as on survival, during the downturn. It also highlighted specific examples of opportunities that could be pursued today, within the context […]
The blog’s quarterly survey of company Outlook statements shows CEOs remain very cautious. There has been a rebound after the destocking disaster of Q4 2008 – Q1 2009. But there seems little confidence that we will quickly return to the levels of demand and margin seen in the 2003-7 Boom period. China’s stimulus and loan […]
In difficult times, the industry looks to the major companies for their advice. And they certainly provided this at our 8th European Conference (co-organised with ICIS), Shell’s Jonathan Forbes-Lane, European GM, focused on the “gale-force recession” now underway. He expected “prices to stay volatile and unpredictable because they were being pulled in opposing directions by […]
The good news is that the stabilisation seen in Q2 has been maintained. But companies remain cautious on the outlook, to judge from Q3 reports. CEOs are sceptical about the impact of government stimulus efforts in the West, and fear demand will fall back as these end. The only optimists are in China and India. […]
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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.