Views from EPCA

The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting is taking place in Berlin this week. Delegates from many companies are taking part and sharing views on the issues affecting petrochemicals and the outlook for the future. Two subjects are dominating discussions. These are the fragility of the current recovery and the likely impact of new Middle East capacity. The consensus is emerging that conditions will remain difficult for some time. Tom Crotty, INEOS Polyolefins CEO, has shared his view that this recession cycle is likely to be U-shaped, rather than the hoped-for V-shaped cycle . There are a number of critical success factors for petrochemical producers; location, technology and scale of assets are very important. Integrated producers have an advantage over non-integrated producers and global reach is essential in order to flexibly supply the best markets. All of these factors undoubtedly give advantage. In addition to this, and reiterating the theme of sevaral recent blog posts, strong and flexible operational management will give the dexterity that is required to manage the peaks and troughs. One thing is sure, there will be many further changes to the manufacturing footprint as we move forward.

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