Ensuring a Winning Strategy for Value Chain Optimization of the Refining and Petrochemical Industries

| March 24, 2020

article image
The Refining and petrochemical industries have a projection to keep growing in the next two decades and companies that are investing in new technology today will be ahead of your competition in about 2 years. The digitalization of the value chain, also known as value chain optimization, is a complex task. Part of this complexity comes from the diversity of challenges that occurs in different areas of the value chain within each operation, as we addressed in the article Understanding the Refining and Petrochemical Value Chains to Drive Optimization. Many companies still fail to obtain economic return from their investment in digitalization and we presented the most common challenges in the article Challenges of Achieving Value Chain Optimization in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries. With so many challenges, how can businesses ensure they have a strategic digital transformation program that will successfully result in the optimization of your value chain?

Spotlight

Brenntag UK & Ireland

Brenntag UK & Ireland is the market leader in full line chemical distribution. We operate at 22 strategic sites across the UK and Ireland, including three sea-fed facilities, and own a dedicated fleet of over 100 vehicles, providing service to over 20,000 customer accounts nationwide.

OTHER ARTICLES
CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Demographics are reshaping petrochemicals trade flows, investment patterns and demand

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.

Read More

Coronavirus and the petrochemicals industry

Article | May 23, 2021

The coronavirus outbreak has touched virtually every aspect of modern life. For the petrochemicals industry, the landscape is shifting at an alarming pace. Only one thing seems certain: the coming decade will be shaped by this crisis. Consumer behaviour, investment decisions, the corporate landscape and even the path of globalisation will be influenced by its effects. Two immediate major shockwaves are linked to economic activity and feedstock pricing. The global economy is heading for recession. Our thinking has moved from an economic slowdown to a deep global recession, with the potential for a slow recovery. This has dramatic implications for the industry.

Read More
CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

The multi-million dollar polymers opportunity: continued big regional price differentials

Article | May 23, 2021

POLYMER BUYERS outside northeast (NEA) and southeast Asia (SEA) have a big opportunity to save millions of dollars on procurement costs during the rest of this year through purchasing more from the two regions.The opportunity has arisen because I believe that NEA and SEA polymer prices will remain very cheap relative to most of the world until at least the end of 2021. NEA comprises China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Our definition of the SEA region is Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.NEA and SEA producers can also make a lot of money by constantly monitoring and acting on strong arbitrage opportunities in other regions. As supply disruptions in the US look likely to continue, Europe and South & Central America seem particularly good opportunities for both buyers and producers.Before we discuss why I see NEA and SEA remaining cheap relative to most of the rest of the world until at least the end of the year, let us consider in more detail the size of the prize, starting with the resin buyers.

Read More
CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT

Petrochemical buyers, after a very difficult pandemic, can gain from China-driven deflation

Article | May 23, 2021

BUYERS OF polypropylene (PP) and other polymers and petrochemicals have had an incredibly difficult pandemic. Firstly, the converters and brand owners expected doom and gloom last March. At the time it seemed logical to expect a cratering of demand as the global economy pretty much imploded. Just looking at forecasts for GDP, parallels were drawn with the Global Financial Crisis when collapses in growth led to a cratering of polymers demand. The US is a good example where PP demand declined by 12% in 2008 over 2007. Demand then fell by a further 5% in 2009 over 2008.But what we all missed was the complete dislocation of polymers and petrochemicals demand from GDP. As economies registered historic declines, consumption went up. PP demand went through the roof, firstly for food packaging and hygiene applications.Then consumption for the durable goods made from PP also smashed through the rafters as we bought white goods (PP is used to make components of washing machines), consumer electronics (PP is used to make some electronic components) and carpets (PP fibres are used here).

Read More

Spotlight

Brenntag UK & Ireland

Brenntag UK & Ireland is the market leader in full line chemical distribution. We operate at 22 strategic sites across the UK and Ireland, including three sea-fed facilities, and own a dedicated fleet of over 100 vehicles, providing service to over 20,000 customer accounts nationwide.

Events