Archive for the ‘petrochemicals’ Category

The dollar’s impact on US polyethylene

The US dollar has fallen sharply over the past few months following an impressive push upward for nearly a year. This reversal has helped propel crude prices upward and, in turn, petrochemical prices — a relationship that occurs because crude and many other commodities are priced in US dollars. A weaker dollar means you need more of them to buy a barrel of crude, a bushel of wheat or a bag of polyethylene.

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New challenges for petrochemical players in China

At the recent Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) held on May 7-8 at Seoul in South Korea, one of the hot topics doing the rounds was China’s march towards self-sufficiency. Will it, delegates asked, put a brake on petrochemical majors’ engagement with the country, which is currently the world’s largest consumer of chemicals?
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Beware the oil slick: US polyethylene prices slip and slide to unexpected levels

For two years, US polyethylene prices climbed higher and higher.

For two years, feedstock prices had little-to-no impact on domestic polyethylene contracts. Upward or downward shifts in domestic demand seemed to have little effect.

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Petchem markets uncertain after increase of crude oil volatility

Global crude markets have been highly unstable over the past nine months as market participants wrestle with a deluge of information. That stack of information includes increasing North American production, lower global demand rates, a stronger dollar and a changing OPEC stance. As a result, volatility — historic and implied — is at the highest level in years. The inherent relationship between crude and petrochemical prices is invariably creating more volatility in petrochemical markets, and the higher level of uncertainty will certainly lead to more evaluation of project feasibility.

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China’s olefins future shaped by economics and environmental concerns

The dramatic drop in crude prices over the past year has sent shock waves throughout global markets. Petrochemical markets have also been touched, in some instances in a positive manner, as cheaper crude translates into lower feedstock cost. This analysis looks at a specific sector of the petrochemical market — coal-to-olefins and methanol-to-olefins production — and evaluates how the changing relationship between coal and crude prices is impacting production economics in the largest growing petrochemical market in the world, China.

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Then and now: How prices of key petrochemicals in the US behaved the last time crude was $50/b

With oil prices at lows not seen in more than 5 1/2 years,  the global petrochemical industry finds itself playing memory games as it craves some much-needed guidance regarding price behavior.

Whether you believe past performance is the best indicator of current and future behavior – or the worst – it’s always fun to look back, right?

With that in mind, let’s take a peek at how prices of key petrochemicals in the US behaved in 2009 versus today.

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Energy Economist: Trying to make CO2 have an application, rather than just getting rid of it

CO2 in your mattress? Not a great selling point, but it should be. There is a strong possibility that in the next few years some materials currently derived from fossil fuels will have a growing proportion of CO2 derived from the waste flues of industrial processes embedded within the chemical backbone of the polymers used to make them. This represents one of the first steps in creating a closed and sustainable carbon economy. Ross McCracken, the editor in chief of Platts Energy Economist, looks at that possibility in this month’s selection from that publication.

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Leave it to $80 crude to shake up US petrochemicals

There’s something about $80/barrel crude that gets petrochemical markets in the US all riled up.

As the energy complex slowly emerges from its latest dip, let’s take a look at how some of these key markets fared over the past two weeks.

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Another big petrochemical project in the US might hit some supply constraints

With the announcement of yet another new cracker project this week — this time, to be built in North Dakota — the US petrochemical industry could be reaching a tipping point in the shale gas revolution.

It’s hard to imagine a time when the US could run out of ethane, particularly in the current environment where ethane rejection is expected to climb as high as 450,000 b/d during the next two years. But the announcement Monday that Badlands NGL’s LLC is planning to produce 1.5 million metric tons of polyethylene per year in North Dakota could cause the country to have an ethane deficit by 2021.

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US shale boom writes a tale of two emerging classes of gas carriers

Growing natural gas liquids production spurred by the US shale gas boom has stoked interest in new classes of ships to move ethane and LPG across oceans: very large ethane carriers and ultra large gas carriers.

The first VLEC orders have been placed and could keep shipyards busy for years, even as more are built to move cheap US ethane to Asia and Europe. But the time for ULGCs is yet to come.

After years of uncertainty because of economics, paltry demand and ballooning supply, the future is looking bright for ethane as appetite emerges in Europe and Asia, and with it the need for longer-haul and larger vessels.

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