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Asian Chemical Connections

Life gets more complicated for methanol

In the good or maybe the bad old days depending on your standpoint, methanol was a fairly straightforward product. You had chemicals demand and that was more or less it. But as the extended analysis below explains, chemical producers who use methanol as feedstock have to factor in direct blending of gasoline into methanol, DME, […]

China coal to benzene threatens

With naphtha prices so high, heavy aromatics and pygas feedstock for producing benzene are not only expensive but are also in tight supply due to operating rate cutbacks. Longer term also, as we’ve already discussed here, there are major doubts over whether China will produce enough naphtha to operate all the petrochemical projects it is […]

Will Dow ever crack India?

The two big gaps in the US major’s Asian presence (and gaping gaps they indeed are) are cracker complexes in India and China. China could be fixed through the alliance with PIC – meaning, Dow has leverage to get a license to build a naphtha cracker complex by offering crude supply through its new jv. […]

Asian biofuels face a big crisis

After all the optimism, all the hype and a lot of investors’ money, the industry has shot itself in the foot by failing to build demand ahead of supply. Plus the negativity caused by food versus fuel and environmental counter-arguments to supporting this current generation of technologies is making some Asian governments hesitate on providing […]

Can polymers rescue the Mile High Club?

Maybe Singapore airlines has got the wrong end of the stick by trying to ban first class passengers in their new cabins in the sky from indulging in a little hanky panky. Perhaps the answer is to equip the walls of these private cabins with super sound-absorbing polymers (polyurethanes, maybe?). Any suggestions from polymer experts […]

The idiocy and hypocrisy of biofuels

I am having a go at the US here (see article below) – a pretty big target – but don’t worry, Asia is the next in line on this blog: the opportunistic, shallow and downright unpleasant palm oil-based biodiesel industry deserves similar treatment. As for ethanol, Rex Tillerson has a point. The CEO of ExxonMobil […]

How clean are coal-to-liquids? Does it really matter?

Paul Hodges, in his excellent chemicals and the economy blog, talks about the recent Shenhua Energy listing on the Shanghai stock exchange and how it shares jumped by 93% following the IPO. Now it has ample cash to pursue its ambitions. Shenhau is just one of numerous companies involved in coal-to-liquids projects in China which […]

China will choke itself to death

I think it’s about time that the developing world stopped saying “you did it, so why can’t we?” when the West raises concerns over rising pollution levels in China, India etc. In the “good” old days my home country, the UK, had lots of dark, gritty and satanic mills, which were almost as ugly as […]

Life gets more complicated in the Middle East

In the old days all you had to do was propose an ethane cracker with PE and MEG downstream and you were away. But these days if you want to get feedstock, especially in Saudi, you need to offer something a bit different because of the drive to diversify to create jobs. This is a […]

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