They'll go down in history...

Source: ACN

2000/07/02

Naphtha soars to US$400 in 1979, worst 50-year downturn hits in dustry in 1982 and Asian crisis strikes in 1997

1975



First oil is taken from the North Sea in November, two years after the first Oil Crisis... India declares State of Emergency...

1976



NPRA holds first International Petrochemical Conference (IPC)... Sabic (Saudi Basic Industries Corp) is formed... Shell forced to quit India with nationalisation of Burmah Shell venture to form Bharat Refineries... Caltex forced to relin-quish ownership of Vizag Refinery in Indian nationalisation programme...

1977



Union Carbide unveils gas-phase PE technology (Unipol)... Brown and Root appointed managing contractor for Corpus Christi complex... DuPont introduces new PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) polymer... Esso goes ahead on Botlek plasticisers project... Exxon signs agreement for Saudi complex... Monsanto sues US FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) over nitrile bottle ban... Shell Saudi Arabian project to include ethanol unit...

1978



BASF plans Louisiana facility... US FDA ruling on acrylonitrile seen as final blow to bottle polymer prospects... Bayer bids for Miles and US government investigates Miles bid... Esso and Shell sign deal for Mossmoran, UK cracker... Gulf Oil accuses Europeans of dumping cumene in the US... Deng Xiaoping becomes Paramount Leader of China, leading to open-door economic policy...

1979



Second oil shock pushes naphtha spot prices in Europe to US$400/tonne... Iranian revolution... Exxon is the first company to license Unipol for new Houston plant... Dow studies Australian project... DuPont closes Iran acrylics plant... Hoechst to buy Celanese polyester film division... Mitsui work suspended on Iran project... Exxon buys USI Europe ldPE plant... Texaco Chemical commissions olefins plant... BP completes takeover of Union Carbide's plastics assets in Europe...

1980



Europe and the US agree to reduce chemical tariffs by around 35% under Gatt... Mobil gets the OK for the 450 000 tonne/year joint-venture cracker with Sabic at Yanbu in Saudi... Union Carbide builds the world's largest, at 700 000 tonne/year, ethylene oxide/glycol plant in the US... The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act is enacted, creating the Superfund... Dow plans ethane-based petrochemical complex in Scotland and new worldscale cracker at Tarragona and ldPE in Benelux and ldPE at Fort Saskatchewan, Canada...

1981



New US President Ronald Reagan deregulates oil prices pushing up chemical prices both sides of the Atlantic... The European Economic Community agrees the Seveso directive on reporting and safety procedures for chemical accidents... The EU imposes antidumping duties on US fibres and styrene imports... Petrofina to sell Texas petrochemical plant...

1982



The worst downturn in 50 years hits the chemical industry... Monsanto pulls out of the European ldPE market... ICI and BP swap their ldPE and PVC businesses, marking ICI's PE exit... Dow quits Saudi ethylene project with Sabic... DuPont and Akzo start into aramid patent battle...

1983



Montedison and Hercules plan PP joint venture, the forerunner of Montell... The Thai government invites bids for a US$870m project at Mab Ta Phut... Brazil's Triunfo petrochemical complex starts up...

1984



Sabic and Exxon start a 270 000 tonne/year lldPE plant at Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia's first plastics plant... Tragedy strikes with the leak from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India - 2000 lives are lost in the aftermath...

1985



India files a US lawsuit against Union Carbide... BASF buys Celanese's composites business and Monsanto's acrylonitrile plant at Seal Sands in the UK...

1986



Oil prices hit US$10/bbl... chemicals restructuring peaks with 23 divestments valued at over US$100m each... Sabic starts first Middle Eastern cracker at Al Jubail... EEC hits out at PP cartel and fines players US$8-10m/company... Hoechst bids for Celanese... Monsanto sells PS plants to Novacor...

1987



Cain buys Corpus Christi Petrochemicals/DuPont... BP buys Sohio outright after progressively building its holding since acquiring a 25% stake in 1970... Montreal Agreement to phase out CFC's is signed...

1988



Mobil buys Aristech (225 000 tonne/year cracker)... Amoco sells 180 000 tonne/year hdPE facility at Chocolate Bayou, Texas to Quantum... Huntsman buys Shell's 150 000 tonne/year PP facility at New Jersey...

1989



The end of the Cold War is marked with the collapse of the Berlin Wall - and in turn marks the end of high-cost R&D efforts towards advanced materials... Phillips' explosion at Pasadena, Texas claims 14 lives and closes 680 000 tonne/year of hdPE capacity...

1990



Oxychem buys Cain... Javelina starts 90 000 tonne/year ethylene recovery from refinery at Corpus Christi, Texas... Allied sells 545 000 tonne/year hdPE plant at Baton Rouge, Louisiana to its Paxon joint venture with Exxon... Lyondell buys 70 000 tonne/year ldPE and 136 000 tonne/year PP plants at Bayport, Texas from Rexene...

1991



The Gulf War pushes oil and naphtha prices to 10-year highs... India starts economic reform programme to open its markets... Quantum starts 680 000 tonne/year LPG cracker at Deer Park, Texas... Westlake Polymers starts 450 000 tonne/ year at Gulf Coast, Texas... buys 450 000 tonne/year EDC facility and 450 000 tonne/year VCM plant in Kentucky from BG Goodrich... Westlake PVC buys 225 000 tonne/year PVC capacity in Florida and Kentucky from Pacific Western... explosion at Union Carbide Seadrift facility shuts 260 000 tonne/year EG plant for 6-9 months... Beaumont Methanol buys DuPont 840 000 tonne/year Beaumont methanol plant... Chevron starts 410 000 tonne/year styrene expansion at DonaldsonvilleÉ

1992



Enron buys 400 000 tonne/year methanol plant at Houston, Texas from Tenneco... Texaco reactivates 300 000 tonne/year methanol plant in Delaware... Fina buys 160 000 tonne/year hdPE facility at Bayport, Texas from Hoechst Celanese... BASF buys 280 000 tonne/year of PS capacity from Mobil in California, Illinois and Massachusetts... Westlake Polymers starts 160 000 tonne/year styrene plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana... Arco starts 510 000 tonne/year styrene plant at Channelview, Texas... Union Carbide demerges Praxair...

1993



Huntsman buys Texaco Chemicals... Quantum up to full production at its 660 000 tonne/year methanol facility, first reactivated in 1989... Hanson buys Quantum... BF Goodrich demerges Geon...

1994



Gatt Uruguay Round is signed off, initiating the CTHA (Chemical Tariff Harmonisation Agreement)... Formosa Plastics starts 680 000 tonne/year Point Comfort, Texas cracker... Himont starts first commercial scale Spherilene hd/lldPE facility (100 000 tonne/year) at Lake Charles, Louisiana... Huntsman buys 250 000 tonne/year PP facility at Longview, Texas from Eastman... Eastman Chemical demerged from Eastman Kodak... American Cyanamid spins off Cytec... Ethyl splits into Albemarle and Ethyl... Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement) becomes effective from 1 JanuaryÉ

1995



Dow starts new 680 000 tonne/year Freeport cracker... Hoechst Celanese restarts 690 000 tonne/ year methanol plant at Clear Lake, Texas... Union Carbide starts 295 000 tonne/year Unipol II lldPE facility at Taft, Louisiana... Union Carbide and Enichem create the Polimeri Europa joint venture, marking Carbide's return to European production... Dow acquires 63% stake in Petroquimica Bahia Blanca as part of the Argentinian privatisation... Monsanto sells its styrenics business in US and Europe to BayerÉ

1996



Phillips and Sumitomo Chemical start their joint-venture Sumika 120 000 tonne/year PP facility in Pasadena, Texas... Exxon and Mobil each announce studies for an 800 000 tonne/ year Singapore cracker... Exxon, Phillips, BP, BASF, Dow and Shell emerge as likely partners for worldscale China crackers post 2000... Millennium Chemicals formed by demerger from Quantum...

1997



Economic crisis hits Asia stopping growth in its tracks... Westlake buys BF Goodrich... Lyondell and Millennium form Equistar... Oxychem joins Equistar... Huntsman buys Rexene... Exxon starts 720 000 tonne/year cracker at Baytown, Texas... Phillips restarts 200 000 tonne/ year Sweeny, Texas cracker (shut in 1992)... Westlake Polymers starts 590 000 tonne/year cracker at Lake Charles... Solutia formed through demerger from Monsanto... Dow takes stake in BSL in former East GermanyÉ DuPont sells Conoco...

1998



BP and Amoco merge... Transcanada buys Nova... BP and Sterling form Anexco export sales and marketing joint venture for acrylonitrile... Union Carbide announces Malaysian cracker and ethylene glycol joint venture with Petronas... Koch and Saba buy Hoechst North American polyester business... DuPont buys ICI's global polyester business, but its purchase of Tioxide is turned down by the US Federal Trade Commission...

1999



Williams buys Union Texas Petrochemicals... Huntsman buys Wilton cracker and aromatics from ICI, plus Tioxide and ICI Polyurethanes... Total, Fina and Elf merge in Europe... Exxon and Mobil merge... Dow and Union Carbide announce they will merge in 2000... Internet trading platforms launched by ChemConnect, CheMatch and i-to-iÉ