Archive for the ‘petrochemicals’ Category

Did the US Commerce condensate export rulings mean nothing?

Two US Commerce Department rulings giving a pair of Eagle Ford players legal backing to export processed condensate have been viewed as a dramatic loosening of America’s 40-year ban on crude exports, or at least a sign that long-awaited export policy changes were near.

But what if these private letter rulings really only impact the companies that received them and nothing more?

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Abundant shale production also yields potential supply pinch for aromatics

The US petrochemical industry might be buzzing about all the cheap ethylene it can now make thanks to inexpensive ethane from shale gas plays. And while that certainly is helping position US polymer producers nicely in the global marketplace, there is another side to the shale coin.

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Recent plant closure in Chile underscores opportunities for North American polyethylene makers in the region

The recent closure of a polyethylene plant in Chile highlights why Latin America will be a hot market–and a battlefield–for North American resin producers in the coming years.

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Capitalizing on the Bakken’s NGL supply

The Bakken Shale play is famous for how dramatically it has impacted the global oil market, and it still might not be done.

Capitalizing on the flow of natural gas liquids could be the next big thing in the Bakken, with at least one company already making its plans.

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Shell Chemical woos the neighbors of its still undecided Pa. ethane cracker

Shell’s $4 billion proposal to build a petrochemical complex on the site of the former Horsehead Corp. zinc smelter in Monaca, Pennsylvania, was on display Wednesday at two events at a banquet facility overlooking a golf course near the community, which lies about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

If constructed, Shell’s ethane cracker would feed production of 1.5 million mt/year of ethylene, 500,000 mt/year of gas-phased high density polyethylene, 500,000 mt/year of slurry HDPE, and 500,000 mt/year of linear low density polyethylene. Shell and Horsehead have extended Shell’s option to buy the Horsehead site along the Ohio River three times, most recently in December.

But the details of the proposal were not the main focus of Wednesday’s event. There was no PowerPoint presentation. No Q&A session. No leaflets. And significantly, still no indication that the project had been clearly decided as a “go.”

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Immigration reform debate not lost on US petrochemical industry

The US petrochemical industry has the money, the cheap feedstocks, the technology and the projects to boom in a way perhaps never seen thanks to shale gas.

What it lacks is enough skilled labor to see these projects through. And as industry players will tell you, that’s a huge problem.

“This problem isn’t going to go away,” Dow Chemical VP Jim Fitterling said at the recently held IHS World Petrochemical Conference in Houston. “In fact, it has the potential to get worse.”

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Petrochemicals infographic: Global polyethylene trade flows

Platts petrochemical analysis team have joined forces with our design & production department to produce what we think is a  beautifully crafted infographic on global trade flows for polyethylene. It also details surplus and deficit totals and includes key trend points, statistics and forecasts going out all the way to 2023. Remember: we’d love to read your thoughts on the impact of shale on both petrochemical and oil markets, so join in on the comments section below.

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Japan’s long-term LPG plans got a bit thrown off this winter

Two recent developments have led Japan to realize that US supplies of LPG may not always be cheaper than supplies from the Persian Gulf, or as available, throwing into some question a strategy to access more US-produced LPG in the future.

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$5/gal benzene: Here to stay, or recurring but shortlived fad?

If you sell, buy or trade benzene or any of its derivatives, you have heard this assertion before:

Five-dollar-a-gallon benzene is a reality. It’s here to stay. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you want to know an oil refinery secret? Look to Twitter

It’s hard to keep the cat in the bag when you’ve got a few hundred people pulling its tail.

Consider what goes on behind the fence at a refinery. Sure, there’s always flaring, and steam being released, and hard-hatted workers rushing to and fro.

But what’s really up? The companies would rather the public didn’t know the nitty-gritty, mainly for the cause of staying competitive in a business where regulation and a general downdraft in gasoline prices always put considerable pressure on the bottom line.

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