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Asian Chemical Connections

No Ethylene Margins Peak In 2016

  By John Richardson FORECASTS of European capacity closures and project delays and cancellations have led some financial analysts to the conclusion that there will be a peak in ethylene margins from 2016 onwards. This will provide a few years of very strong returns for the global industry before the big wave of US capacity […]

US Petchem Feedstock Costs: Not All Gloom for Asia

YESTERDAY we examined some of the factors shaping long-term outlook for polyethylene (PE) exports to China. And, today, as promised, we go into detail on another part of the story: Influences on future feedstock-cost position of US producers. What follows only scratches the surface. There are many more complexities that we shall examine in future […]

The Saudi Feedstock Debate Intensifies

By John Richardson THE debate about the future competitiveness of Saudi petrochemicals versus the US is heating up. In January, we reported that Jamal Malaikah (see picture), the president of Saudi polypropylene (PP) producer National Petrochemical Industrial Co (NATPET), had warned about an eroding Middle East advantage as a result of US shale gas. And […]

US Petchems “Double Peak” Theory

Wall Street rounding up investors? Source of picture: Rex Features   In a guest blog post, Joseph Chang, the global editor of our magazine, ICIS Chemical Business, echoes our own concerns that it is getting very frothy out there. The “this time it will be different” school of thought sems to be controlling the sentiment […]

US Petchems Face Competing Gas Interests

By John Richardson A MAJOR political battle is taking place in the US over the future of the booming natural gas industry which could well have major implications for the country’s petrochemicals industry. There was angry reaction from Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris on 6 December over the contents of a Department of Energy (DOE) report on […]

Demographics And Saudi Arabia

Source of picture: Wikimedia Commons By John Richardson EIGHTY percent of Saudi Arabian families get by on incomes of less than $3,300 a month, whereas Saudi Aramco makes $900m of profits every day, says Leslie McCune, managing director of the UK-based chemicals logistics consultancy, Chemical Management Resources Ltd. But he adds that in order to […]

Dow and DuPont Make Major Job Cuts

Dupont’s Ellen Kullman   By John Richardson Dow Chemical’s decision to cut 2,400 jobs, as it posted a 32% drop in earnings per share, was the result of what CEO Andrew Liveris said was difficult conditions that “may have extended staying power, as the new reality is that we are operating in a slow-growth and […]

Saudi Aramco, Dow, Shell, IEA To Speak At Berlin Conference

Next month’s World Aromatics conference is a must-attend event for anyone involved with the industry. It features an impressive line-up of major players, including Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, as well as Dow, Shell and the International Energy Agency. Jointly organised with ICIS, it takes place on 13 – 14 November: Saudi Aramco […]

Saudi Arabia’s New Export Challenge

Source of picture: Indiaagrifarms   By John Richardson Saudi Arabia continues to pursue its vision of adding social value to its hydrocarbon reserves by creating jobs. This involves going further downstream from basic petrochemicals. “The Ministry of Petroleum has said, ‘we want an end to polymer tourism’ – i.e. plastic pellets leaving the Kingdom and […]

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