My Houston colleague Stephen B shows me a curious spam email which has landed in his inbox. Advertising a Chinese online store, nothing unusual there, it shows a distribution list of 40 names beginning with an S, including Stephen himself, many of whom are in the petrochemical business. And not just in petrochemicals. I recognise a lot of these people, and they are or were in the business of trading European aromatics.
There’s Stephane Ernotte, Steve Lyons, Steve Tan, two Stephens at BASF, one at BP, Chemtura, Arkema, Oxea, Albion, Ineos, Grace, Sasol, Harrimans, Invista and many more.
This Chinese purveyor of online goods has somehow accessed someone’s email address book. Someone who is in the European aromatics business maybe. That must narrow it down. Who do they all have in common?