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Asian Chemical Connections

The US Needs A Plenum

By John Richardson CHINA’S crucial November plenum has now finished and so far there are no details on policy decisions. All we have had is a brief communiqué, which includes key phrases such as “deepening reform” and “crossing the river by feeling the stones”. This latter phrase underlines our argument that reform will be trial […]

Bio-based Local Ethylene Plants A Good Alternative

By John Richardson THE proven approach for success in petrochemicals is, of course, to find cheap feedstocks somewhere and build a world-scale cracker complex. That “somewhere” doesn’t necessarily have to be close to the final customers in emerging markets. For example, the Middle East and more more recently the US can afford to ship large […]

European Chemicals: Rescue Efforts Continue

By John Richardson THE battle to save the European chemicals industry from widespread plant closures  is wider than just at the Grangemouth complex in Scotland, the UK In Holland, for example, the Dutch chemicals industry trade body – Vereniging van de Nederlandse Chemische Industrie (VNCI) – is asking for subsidies and tax breaks from the Dutch […]

The Rebirth Of Naphtha Cracking

  By John Richardson Might cracking naphtha in Asia, Europe, and perhaps even the US, once again become so attractive that it starts to challenge the big advantage currently being enjoyed by cracking ethane? Yes, perhaps. Opportunities could arise to take advantage of distressed supplies of naphtha from refiners under severe loss-making pressure. Shutting many […]

Guaranteeing The “Trickle Down” Effect

By John Richardson THE average-paid worker in a US company has to work for more than a month to earn what her or his CEO will earn in just one hour, according to this video from Adam Mordecai – the social and political commentator. And in 2012, the richest 1% of the population took home […]

Searching For A Manufacturing Revival

By John Richardson WALK into any airport bookshop and you will see shelf after shelf full of management and “get rich quick” books. How many books are you likely to see on inventing things and manufacturing? Hardly any….. The danger is that whilst we busy ourselves with pouring spurious knowledge into our heads about how […]

Grangemouth Viewed Through A Wider Lens

By John Richardson THROUGH the narrow lens of stand-alone cost competitiveness, the threatened refinery and petrochemicals complex in Grangemouth, Scotland the UK, (see picture) can be viewed as having a very questionable long-term future. For example, Britain’s refineries are viewed as small, old and lacking in sophistication. And it can be argued that they are […]

Global Petchem Markets Turn Bearish

By John Richardson EXCESSIVE inventory building down all the major petrochemical value chains is a global rather than just a Chinese problem, according to Paul Satchell – the UK-based chemicals analyst with global investment bank  Canaccord Genuity in his latest Volume Proxy research note. “The Volume Proxy continues to decline, with the index now in clear […]

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