WELCOME TO The chemical REPORT
Chemistry of sea spray particles linked for first time to formation process
Our history begins in 1950, when 3V Group starts it activity under the name SIGMA, a chemical company based in Bergamo and focused on the manufacturing of chemicals for the textile industry.
Article | May 23, 2021
TEN YEARS AGO, fellowblogger Paul Hodgesand Ifirst highlighted the leading rolethat changing demographics would play in reshaping petrochemicals supply and demand. We have been emphasising the importance of demographics ever since.
Demographics have, of course, always been a critical shaper of economies throughout human history. But during the last 70 years, there have been such major changes in demographics that the study of demographics must be at the very heart of your company’s strategy.
The Babyboomer generation in the West led to a surge in demand as the rapid increase in babies born in the 1950s and early 1960s joined the workforce from the 1970s onwards.
This helps explain high levels of inflation during that decade because too much demand was chasing too little supply. Another driver of inflation was the Middle East embargos against oil exports to the West because of the West’s support for Israel.
Then came the 1990s and first the integration of Eastern Europe into the global economy. This helped dampen inflationary pressures because of the plentiful supply of workers in the east willing to work for low wages in export-focused factories. This reduced the cost of finished goods in the West.
Next came Deng Xiaoping’s critically important“southern tour”in the early 1990s and China’s gradual integration into the global economy. China increasingly leveraged its very youthful population to again make cheap goods to export to the West.
Hundreds of millions of young people were willing to migrate from the countryside to China’s coastal cities to work in export-focused manufacturing plants. The world began to talk about the “China price” and how it was further depressing global inflation.
In the last two years, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has launched investigations into seven separate chemical accidents or explosions in the Houston area. Prior to 2018, the CSB only conducted roughly one investigation per year. Investigators believe that the massive increase in accidents which require an investigation by the CSB is due to a variety of factors such as the large number of chemical companies in the Houston area, the age of the infrastructure, and companies being allowed to self-regulate. Many of these explosions and fires have directly led to the deaths of workers, bystanders, millions of dollars in property damage, and the evacuation of tens of thousands of local residents who risk being exposed to toxic chemicals.
The global chemical industry currently represents one of the largest worldwide interacting sectors delivering essential materials to several major industries including pharmaceuticals, agriculture, manufacturing and construction, and automotive. This is an indicator of the fact that any major changes in the chemical industry could also significantly affect these related sectors. Procurement is an unceasing challenge for companies across various sectors, and procurement in the chemical industry is no exception.
Consumer needs and preferences in the energy industry are evolving. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns are becoming more acute—inspiring action and shifting value towards low-carbon solutions. These trends accelerated in 2020 and for the first time, market capitalization of leading low-carbon solutions companies began to overtake those of oil and gas (O&G) majors. This is despite the majors laying out energy transition strategies, setting low carbon energy targets and generating higher revenues by an order of magnitude.1
In response to this radically changing landscape, energy companies are charting divergent courses for their futures. Some continue to bet on their ability to generate returns from the O&G value chain. They are focusing on growing margins and lowering carbon intensity. Others are supplementing their capabilities with low-carbon energy solutions or exiting hydrocarbons altogether. This blog focuses on the path forward for the energy majors in Europe who are betting big on diversification.
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