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Asian Chemical Connections

The CO2 blame game

In my previous post, I talked about the collapse of the Doha round of trade negotiations and how this didn’t auger well for a new global agreement for setting greenhouse gas-emission limits and a worldwide price on carbon. The chemicals industry needs clarity. A global price for carbon would enable companies to plan R&D investments […]

Why the Doha failure is bad

The failure, and quite possibly the death, of the Doha round of trade negotiations earlier this week could create a very confusing and erratic regulatory landscape for the chemicals industry. This excellent entry in the New Scientist environment blog by Fred Pearce, senior environment correspondent, makes the point that if the world cannot agree on […]

Middle East and China to run C2s regardless….

….that’s the case – in the Middle East case because of advantaged feedstock and in China’s case because it will be strategic. In previous downturns, far more capacity was western, or other Asian, and liquids based and so rate cuts brought markets more quickly into balance. The graphs below from ICIS Plants & Projects data […]

Shell plans for the long-term

See below for an extended interview with Shell Chemicals vice president, Ben van Beurden, who talks of the search for new feedstock sources. He raises the possiblity of using syngas from the Pearl GTL project in Qatar to make methanol and then olefins. Or perhaps the high paraffinic naphtha and ethane from the same project […]

This is unsustainable- crude correction soon

I am beginning to come to the view that something has to give in the medium-term. There is no way that the global economy can support crude prices at current levels, and you can argue, as Lehman Bros does, that speculation is behind a fair slice of the recent rallies. They also make the case […]

China earthquake tragedy

An overused word – tragedy – but the events of the last week justify the description. But what a relief that the Chinese government has reacted so promptly and so efficiently, in complete contrast the callous incompetence of the thugs who run Myanmar. Worth clicking through to ICIS connect – our chemicals industry community forum […]

How do you account for the externalities?

Economists refer to externalities as those factors that can influence growth but that are beyond the influence of humans to determine. As ar result, the members of this esteemed profession tend to ignore externalities. If we’ve left it too late on the environment, then the environment is clearly such an externality that could limit demand […]

The search for more basic petrochemicals

Very interesting speech from Alan Kirkley, Vice President of Strategy and Portfolio for Shell Chemicals, which first of all goes over the predictable ground of where we are in the cycle and the threat from the Middle East. However, he then makes the valid point – which I made earlier this week – that the […]

History will surely repeat itself

The mood at the recent NPRA International Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio, Texas, was mixed, despite all the economic gloom. Some producers said they were still making money – especially those selling into manufacturing sectors benefiting from a rise in exports due to the weak dollar. What’s certain, of course, though is that things will […]

Is the last margin grab over?

Shortly after I wrote this article (see below) on the doom and gloom surrounding China polyolefins markets, hey presto, prices rallied and I was wondering whether I needed to be wiping egg off my face. But shortly after the slight rally occurred, a polyolefins trade told me it was likely to be the last margin […]

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