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Q: European petrochemical industries ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: European petrochemical industries
Category: Business and Money > Economics
Asked by: petrochem32-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 29 Jun 2006 04:31 PDT
Expires: 29 Jul 2006 04:31 PDT
Question ID: 741982
I'm researching the situation in the European petrochemical industry
(producers of polyethylene and polypropylene). The industry is
characterized by the supply/demand cycle which prompts closures of
capacities when there's too much supply and prompts building of new
plants when there's not enough supply. I'm looking for information on
such plant closures from years 1990-2004 with preference given to
earlier years. Changes in capacity for polypropylene, polyethylene,
ethylene, propylene for these years will also be considered as partial
information. Thank you
Subject: Re: European petrochemical industries
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 29 Jun 2006 14:57 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Wow, I'd hate to be in the monomers/polymers business.  It seems like
the plants are scaling back or closing down on a weekly basis.

Over-capacity is an issue to be sure, but so are explosions, fires,
lightning strikes, worker strikes, power outages, earthquakes, and
even a bombing raid here and there.

I've listed what I found below.  The record is pretty solid for the
previous decade, but seems to peter out a bit in the early 1990's, and
there's an apparent gap of a few years in the mid-1990's.  This seems
to be a reflection of inconsistencies in the databases themselves.

By the way, the list below comes from commercial news databases like
Lexis-Nexis or Dialog, so there are no available URLs for the articles

I trust this information fully answers your question.  

However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need.  If you would like any additional information, just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further,
and I'm at your service.

All the best,



BP confirms plans to shut hdPE plant at Grangemouth, UK
Chemical News & Intelligence, November 19, 2004, 

Shell Chemicals declares 'force majeure' on UK ethylene
Chemical News & Intelligence, November 12, 2004
...Shell Chemicals on Friday declared force majeure on UK supplies of
ethylene following the fire at its joint venture ethane cracker in
Mossmorran, Scotland...The approximately 830 000 tonne/year capacity
cracker, which is shared with ExxonMobil, was closed on Wednesday (10
November) and is not expected to resume production for several weeks

Basell hit by hdPE outage in Wesseling, Germany
Chemical News & Intelligence July 9, 2004
...Polyolefins major Basell has been hit by an unplanned outage at its
250 000 tonne/year high density polyethylene (hdPE) plant in
Wesseling, Germany...Basell also operates a 400 000 tonne/year hdPE
plant at Wesseling which is unaffected by the stoppage at the smaller

Russia's Tomsk to shut PP, PE plants for 5-wk maintenance
Chemical News & Intelligence, July 1, 2004
...Russia's Tomsk Neftekhim is to close its polypropylene (PP) and
polyethylene (PE) facilities at Tomsk in central Russia for just over
five weeks this summer for regular maintenance

Basell to shut Tarragona, Spain hdPE plant, end Taqsa jv
Chemical News & Intelligence, May 11, 2004
...Basell plans to close its Tarragona, Spain high density
polyethylene (hdPE) plant as part of plans to streamline the business
in Europe, Basell workers' committee chief Javier Saladrigas confirmed
to CNI on Tuesday...He said the 125 000 tonne/year capacity plant will
be closed by the end of this year, prompting the dismissal of 50

Dow to close idled Priolo, Italy plant; 59 jobs lost
Chemical News & Intelligence, April 1, 2004
...Dow Chemical said Thursday that it will permanently close its
polyols plant at Priolo, Italy, saying competitive market conditions
do not justify a restart of the facility, idled in January last year.

Total to cease EVA production at Mont, SW France
Chemical News & Intelligence, May 30, 2003
...Atofina, the chemicals unit of French energy group Total, is to
close its ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) plant at Mont in southwestern
France and transfer production to Balan near Lyon...EVA output at Mont
is to cease because Total is closing its Lacq ethylene cracker in 2005
because of the natural depletion of the Lacq gas field.

Poland's PKN Orlen says Basell jv will close old PP plant
Chemical News & Intelligence, April 15, 2003
...Polish oil refining and petrochemicals group PKN Orlen confirmed on
Tuesday that its existing 140 000 tonne/year capacity polypropylene
(PP) facility at Plock in central Poland will be closed when a new 400
000 tonne/year plant, built with joint venture partner Basell, is
fully operational.

Dow shuts Schkopau, Germany ldPE line on ethylene shortage
Chemical News & Intelligence, February 3, 2003
...Dow Chemical confirmed on Monday that the larger of its two low
density polyethylene (ldPE) production lines at Schkopau, Germany had
now been closed due to an ethylene feedstock shortage...A company
spokeswoman told CNI that the cutback at the 160 000 tonne/year plant
is expected to last about two weeks

Dow to close Pisticci, Italy PET plant; 70 jobs affected
Chemical News & Intelligence, January 24, 2003
...Dow Chemical announced Friday that it will close permanently its
polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant in Pisticci, Italy by the end
of the first quarter due to adverse market conditions.

Borealis restarts Rafnes, Norway cracker after outage
Chemical News & Intelligence, January 9, 2003
...Danish-headquartered polyolefins producer Borealis said Thursday it
is starting up its cracker in Rafnes, Norway after a one-week outage
and expects on-spec ethylene production tomorrow....General manager
for operations in Norway Roy Vardheim told CNI the technical problems
that had caused the closure of the cracker around 29 December have
been resolved...the Rafnes cracker has a capacity of 450 000
tonne/year for ethylene and 80 000 tonne/year for propylene.

Czech Chemopetrol to close cracker for 12 days for repairs
Chemical News & Intelligence, October 18, 2002
...Czech petrochemicals producer Chemopetrol announced on Friday that
it will shut down its ethylene cracker on Monday for an estimated 12
days while it undertakes planned repair work...Ethylene production
from the 485 000 tonne/year plant in Litvinov, north Bohemia is
expected to restart on 3 November.

Atofina to restart Carling, France cracker line on Monday
Chemical News & Intelligence, September 13, 2002
...Atofina plans to restart one of two lines at its ethylene cracker
in Carling, France on Monday, CNI was informed on Friday...The line,
which was recently debottlenecked, has been closed for several days
due to technical problems,

Floods force more Czech chemicals plants to shut
Chemical News & Intelligence, August 14, 2002
...Chemicals production units across much of the Czech Republic were
forced to close on Wednesday after flood waters spilled from both the
Vltava and Labe rivers..."We can keep producing ethylene and store
spare production of ethylene for about two more weeks and then we will
have to close production down completely,"

Chemical Business NewsBase: DSM Limburg Nieuws, July 4, 2002
...On 29 Jun 2002, the DSM polypropylene (PP) plants PPF1 and 2 in
Geleen, Netherlands, were closed. The plants will be demolished

Chemical Business NewsBase: Kunststof en Rubber, November 14, 2001
...In connection with overcapacity in Europe, Basel is to close a
polypropylene (PP) and compounding plant in Wilton, UK, and two PP
plants in Spain, in the middle of 2002...In Wilton, two Novolen
(homopolymer) plants with a total capacity of 180,000 tonnes/y will be
mothballed and the 32,000 tonnes/y PP compounding unit will be
closed...In Tarragona, Spain it will be a 90,000 tonnes/y slurry plant
and a 60,000 tonnes/y Novolen plant.

Chemical Business NewsBase: Petrole Gaz Informations, October 22, 2001
...On 21 Aug 2001 BP announced it had decided to close its 100,000
tonnes/ylinear low density polyethylene unit in Wilton, UK because of
difficultmarket conditions.

Romania's Oltchim forced to partially shut production
Chemical News & Intelligence, September 18, 2001
...Romanian pesticide and plastics manufacturer Oltchim has been
forced to close temporarily several production units at its Ramnicu
Valcea site because of water supply problems, CNI learned on
Tuesday...Oltchim management decided to stop production at its 120 000
tonne/year polyvinyl chloride (PVC) unit, 17 000 tonne propylene oxide
(PO) facility, 6000 tonne hydrogen peroxide unit and at the
installations which manufactures lindane and benzene trichloride.

Dow Tarragona cracker at reduced capacity until end May
Chemical News & Intelligence, April 11, 2001
...Dow Chemical's ethylene cracker at Tarragona in northeast Spain
will be restricted to about 75% of capacity until the end of May, a
source close to the company's European subsidiary confirmed to CNI on
Wednesday....The approximately 560 000 tonne/year nameplate capacity
plant has been operating at reduced rates for just over three weeks
due to problems with the furnaces.

CHEMICAL WEEK: Olefins: outages fail to support propylene
...Atofina's 185,000 tonnes/y propylene unit at Dunkerque in France
was closed for one week in early Feb 2001 while its propane
dehydrogenation unit at Antwerp has been closed since early Jan 2001
following technical problems.

KUNSTSTOF EN RUBBER: Basell closes polypropylene capacity
...Basell has temporally shut down its polypropylene (PP) plants in
Germany, the UK and the USA with a total capacity of 500,000
tonnes/y....This is because of the poor connection between supply and
demand in the PP industry, with the over capacity leading to financial

EUROPEAN CHEMICAL NEWS: Polypropylene: overcapacity forces closures
...Major PP manufacturers in the US and Europe initiated capacity
rationalisation measures during late 2000 in response to concerns over
imbalances in supply and demand, poor margins and a need to stabilise
prices...Basell has announced production cutbacks of 500,000 tonnes/y
at its facilities in Bayport, TX, US; Wesseling, Germany and
Carrington, UK. ...The units in Wesseling will be closed for 12-18
months and the Carrington facility will start a shutdown during Jan
2001....The plant in Bayport, TX, will be out-of-action for an
unspecified period....Borealis temporarily ceased production at
polyolefins facilities in Porvoo, Finland; Schwechat, Austria and
Ronningen, Norway for periods in Nov-Dec 2000...The closures were due
to poor market conditions and a shortage of monomers resulting from
cracker outages.

Borealis plans PP cutbacks due to weak profitability
Chemical News & Intelligence, December 19, 2000
...The Danish polyolefins producer confirmed that its 120 000
tonne/year plant in Ronningen, Norway and its 170 000 tonne/year unit
in Porvoo, Finland were likely to close for one week - at the end of
December or the beginning of January...In addition, PP production is
expected to be slowed at the 190 000 tonne/year Beringen 2 plant in
Belgium and the 190 000 tonne/year Burghausen unit in Germany.

Borealis cuts Stenungsund PE output after cracker outage
Chemical News & Intelligence, August 24, 2000
...Borealis confirmed on Thursday it is running its polyethylene (PE)
plants at Stenungsund, Sweden at reduced rates due to its unscheduled
cracker outage

DEA shuts Wesseling 2A cracker, declares force majeure
Chemical News & Intelligence, July 20, 2000
...Germany's DEA has been forced to declare force majeure on ethylene
and propylene following the closure of its 2A cracker at
Wesseling....The 140 000 tonne/year capacity unit was shut down on
Tuesday night (18 July) following an ethylene leakage...Polimeri lldPE
plant at Priolo could be out for 2-3 wks, Chemical News &
Intelligence, July 20, 2000...Polimeri Europa's linear low density
(lldPE) plant at Priolo, Sicily, which has been closed for about 10
days because of feedstock shortages, could be down for a total of two
to three weeks,

TotalFinaElf Antwerp crackers down after lightning - report
Chemical News & Intelligence, July 4, 2000
...TotalFinaElf has closed its three ethylene crackers in Antwerp,
Belgium following power supply problems in the area

Borealis fire-hit Austrian ldPE plant down until Sep
Chemical News & Intelligence, May 4, 2000
...European polyolefin producer Borealis said on Thursday that its
fire-damaged low density polyethylene (ldPE) plant at Schwechat in
Austria will be down until September...The 70 000 tonne/year capacity
unit - one of four ldPE plants at Schwechat - was closed on 9 March
following a "small but serious" fire

Tech problems keep BP/Atochem Lavera cracker at 90%
Chemical News & Intelligence, February 21, 2000
...Naphtachimie, the 50:50 joint venture between BP Amoco Chemicals
and Elf Atochem, is operating its ethylene cracker at Lavera, southern
France at a slightly reduced rate because of technical problems
following start-up

Elf Atochem declares 'force majeure' on Carling C2, C3
Chemical News & Intelligence, January 5, 2000
...Elf Atochem has declared force majeure on supplies of ethylene and
propylene from its Carling site in northeast France following
technical problems on one of the two lines

Neftochim shuts Bulgaria PE plant after accident
Chemical News & Intelligence, December 2, 1999
...An explosion at Neftochim's polyethylene (PE) unit in Burgas on the
Bulgarian Black Sea coast on Thursday morning has forced the Bulgarian
petrochemical and refinery company to close the plant for a few days.

Hoechst Trespaphan shuts UK OPP plant
Chemical News & Intelligence, October 11, 1999
...Hoechst Trespaphan, the polypropylene (PP) packaging film
subsidiary of Germany chemicals group Hoechst, confirmed on Monday
that its oriented polypropylene (OPP) film production facilities at
Swindon in Wiltshire, southwest England are to close by January next
year with the loss of approximately 260 jobs....It said the 42 000
tonne/year capacity plant is being shut "because there is currently
and for the forseeable future a large excess of capacity in the
European polypropylene market".

DEA forced to shut both Wesseling crackers
Chemical News & Intelligence, August 27, 1999
...Germany's DEA has declared force majeure on ethylene (C2) and
propylene (C3) following the closure of both its crackers at
Wesseling. ...Both units are rated at 140 000 tonne/year capacity.

Turkey Petkim sees Yarimca restart in 15 days
Chemical News & Intelligence, August 18, 1999
...Turkish state-owned petrochemicals group Petkim said Wednesday it
is hoping to resume limited production from its plant at Yarimca near
Izmit, western Turkey in about 15 days....The plant, which produces
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), low density polyethylene
(ldPE), carbon black and synthetic rubbers, was shut down on Tuesday

Carbide still studying UK force majeure
Chemical News & Intelligence, July 14, 1999
...Union Carbide told CNI Wednesday it has not yet officially declared
force majeure on supplies of ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol
(EG) from its Wilton plant in the UK but is still studying the
option...A fire on Saturday forced the company to close the plant.

EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS- BASF and Solvay venture closes plants
...The new joint venture created by BASF and Solvay is to close
uncompetitive sites in Belgium including Solvay's chlorine and
ethylene plant in Lillo

KUNSTSTOFFE- Borealis shuts plants in Germany
...Borealis plans to close down the polyethylene (PE) and
polypropylene (PP) compounding facilities in Norderstedt near Hamburg
(Germany) due to insufficient capacity utilisation and

KUNSTSTOFFE- DSM shuts down PP plant
...DSM Polypropylenes (a business group of DSM) closed down an older
PP plant with a capacity of 70,000 tonnes/y at the facility in
Gelsenkirchen (Germany).

EUROPEAN CHEMICAL NEWS- Norsk Hydro slashes operating rates by 25%
...Norsk Hydro has reduced operating rates at its PVC facilities in
the UK, Norway and Sweden by 25% after it temporarily closed its
410,000 tonnes/y ethylene cracker and its 470,000 tonnes/y vinyl
chloride monomer (VCM) unit at Rafnes, Norway.

EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS- PP plant closed in DSM in Germany
...The 70,000 tonnes/y polypropylene plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany
has been closed by DSM Polypropylenes after capacity hikes at the site
and at Geleen in the Netherlands.

CHEMICAL WEEK- Strike closes Atochem crackers
...A protest over government plans to cut working hours from 38 h/week
to 35 h/week closed Elf Atochem's ethylene units at Carling and
Gonfreville, France, on 3 May.

Chemical Business NewsBase: Chemical Fibers International, May 12, 1999
...DSM Polypropylenes is to close one of its polypropylene plants at
Gelsenkirchen, Germany, with a capacity of 70,000 tonnes/y, in April

EUROPEAN CHEMICAL NEWS- Serbia- Nato bombs plant: Petrohemija's
chemical plant closed
...Toxic gas was released when a Nato bomb hit the chemical plant of
Petrohemija in Pancevo, Yugoslavia....In order to prevent an
ecological and environmental disaster both that facility and a
refinery and the Azotara fertilizer complex were closed...The vinyl
chloride, chlorine and ethylene facilities were hit

Chemical Business NewsBase: Chemical and Engineering News, April 27, 1999
...DSM is upgrading PP production at Gelsenkirchen, Germany...It is to
close a 150 M lbs/y PP plant at the site, replacing it with output
from a 550 M lbs/y unit due onstream in mid-2000.

Chemical Business NewsBase: Kunststof en Rubber, April 15, 1999
...Targor has closed a production facility for polypropylene (PP) in
Knapsack, near Cologne, Germany, because of the continually
disappointing market for standard PP....This is a suspension
polymerisation plant with a capacity of 90,000 tonnes/y.

Chemical Business NewsBase: Chemical Week, January 26, 1999
...Targor has closed a 90,000 tonnes/y slurry-process PP unit at
Knapsack, Germany, because of the unsatisfactory market.

Union Carbide and Enichemin polyethylene venture
Financial Times   August 2, 1994
...Union Carbide of the US and Enichem, the chronically lossmaking
petrochemicals arm of Italy's Eni energy and chemicals group,
yesterday announced their intention to set up a joint venture which
would create Europe's largest manufacturer of polyethylene, the most
widely used plastic....Enichem will put its entire 1.1m tonnes a year
polyethylene capacity into the 50-50 joint venture, as well as its
ethylene plants at Brindisi, Italy, and Dunkirk, France....Union
Carbide will supply its leading Unipol technology and contribute to
the cost of constructing a new 400,000 tonnes a year polyethylene
plant in Brindisi. ...The new Brindisi plant, making mostly modern
linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) could allow the joint venture
to close some small and unprofitable plants manufacturing older
generation low-density polyethylene. Most of such factories are in
southern Italy, but any attempt to close them is likely to run into
political opposition.
Mr Colitti has said his aim is to focus on fewer sites. Union Carbide
said the new plant would replace existing capacity of about 240,000
tonnes a year.
...Mr David Oxley, director of polymers at consultants Chem Systems,
said the European LLDPE market was suffering 20 per cent overcapacity.

European Report, July 13, 1994
...The European Commission is to permit a longer period for closures
of low density polyethylene capacity within the framework of an
agreement between Bayer of Germany, BP Chemicals of the UK, and
Erduelchemie of Germany. The three companies obtained an exemption
from EU competition rules in 1988, for an agreement that concerned
technical cooperation and operating and distribution arrangements in
the polyethylene sector. ...The authorisation was given by the
Commission on the condition that capacity was closed down by the end
of 1991. Subsequent changes in the market and in the production mix of
the companies induced them to seek modifications to the terms of the
Commission exemption, including an extension to the end of 1994 for
the closures.

Logic that led to ICI's disposal - BASF steps in to take over chemical
group's non-core polypropylene operations
Financial Times February 8, 1994
...Polypropylene, a material made in large quantities by Imperial
Chemical Industries until yesterday, is a hard plastic used for car
bumpers, kitchenware, packaging and a range of other
products....However, having sales of almost Pounds 2bn a year and
customers in many industries has not prevented a chronic fall in
prices in recent years which has triggered a series of mergers and
takeovers....There are no less than 17 companies operating in Europe
that have market shares of more than 2.5 per cent. Only two companies
have more than 10 per cent of capacity....Polypropylene is part of
petrochemicals. In common with related materials such as polyethylene
and polystyrene, production and prices rose strongly during the 1980s.
But the 1990s saw demand fall and overcapacity exposed. The average
annual price of polypropylene, for example, has fallen every year for
the past five years, according to industry consultancy Trichem.

BP to shut loss-making Welsh ethylene plant
Financial Times January 13, 1994
...BP is to shut its loss-making ethylene plant at Baglan Bay, West
Glamorgan, with the loss of 600 jobs. The cost will be included in an
exceptional charge of Pounds 200m in the group's fourth quarter
results....BP has lost 'tens of millions of pounds' in ethylene
manufacture at Baglan Bay in each of the last two years. It cut output
by almost half last summer but that was 'not sufficient', said Mr
Stephen Pettit, chief executive of BP's petrochemicals division.
Mr Bryan Sanderson, chief executive of BP Chemicals, said the closure
was forced by overcapacity of the product and the European recession.

European plan to cut ethylene capacity fails
Financial Times December 18, 1993
...Efforts to restructure Europe's petrochemicals industry were in
disarray last night after plans to close as much as 2m tonnes of
ethylene capacity collapsed.
The sector is plagued by massive overcapacity of ethylene, the basic
building block of plastics, and is losing hundreds of millions of
dollars a month.

BP Chemicals to shut ethylene capacity
FT Energy Newsletters - International Gas Report, July 23, 1993
... BP Chemicals plans to shut about 150,000 tonnes (t)/yr of ethylene
capacity at its Baglan Bay plant near Port Talbot, South Wales by
closing one of two production lines

AFX News, June 24, 1993
...While the petrochemicals industry in recent years has been hit by
recession, overcapacity and oversupply, Statoil and Neste said they
now see demand rising. "Annual polyethylene and polypropylene sales
are set to grow by between  1.0 to 4.0 pct and between 5.0 and 7.0 pct
respectively," they forecast in a joint statement. "The pace of
capacity expansion has also slowed. Without new capacity,
polypropylene could reach market balance by 1996 and polyethylene a
few years later."

EniChem starts work on Brindisi PE, will close units in southern Italy
Chemical Week, May 12, 1993
...EniChem (Milan), Europe's leading producer of polyethylene (PE),
has begun work on a new 200,000-m.t./y PE plant at Brindisi, Italy.
TPL (Rome) is doing the engineering with support from BP Chemicals,
licenser of the gas phase process to be used, says Giorgio Porta,
chairman and CEO of EniChem. The company plans to shut down equivalent
capacity in southern Italy. Porta declines to say which two units will
go, but sources say a 110,000-m.t./year high-density slurry process
unit at Porto Torres and a 155,000-million low-density unit are likely

AFX News, October 26, 1992
...Statoil said the plant to be partly closed until year-end produces
propylene and uses North Sea propane as feedstock....A polypropylene
plant at the same site is also operated jointly by Statoil and Himont.
This facility will not be affected by the temporary closure, Statoil

Statoil halts propylene production at Antwerp
Financial Times  October 27, 1992
...STATOIL, the Norwegian state oil company, said yesterday that it
will close its Antwerp propylene plant until the end of the year, but
warned of a future closure unless market conditions improved....The
propylene facility has annual production capacity of 400,000 tonnes
and the polypropylene facility has an 180,000-tonne capacity. The
two-month closure will result in a loss of 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes of

Polypropylene reshuffle in the cards as market falters
Chemical Week, August 26, 1992
...Overbuilding in recent years has swamped healthy growth rates and
made PP a money-losing business. Capacity additions of 320,000
m.t./year this year are set to raise the European total to 5.3 million
m.t./year, compared with forecast consumption of 4.2 million m.t. in
1992. Not even consumption rising at a rate of 6.5%-8% can compensate
for such overcapacity....One observer notes that the small-to medium
sized PP players, which make up most of Europe's PP industry, will
likely form joint ventures. The sector is led by Himont and number two
producer Shell Chemicals (London), which together control about 25% of
the European market, with roughly equal shares. Other players with
significant production include Neste (Espoo, Finland) and Hoechst

Chemical Week, June 10, 1992
...About 200,000 m.t./year of polyethylene (PE) capacity will be
closed by 1997 in Western Europe as a result of rationalization and
restructuring currently under discussion plus environmental reasons,
forecasts Chem Systems' (London) director, David Oxley.

Overcapacity spurs Hoechst PP plant closure
Chemical Week, March 11, 1992
...Citing "20% overcapacity in Western Europe," Hoechst (Frankfurt)
has announced the closure of its 135,000-m.t./ year polpropylene (PP)
copolymer palnt at Kelsterbach, Germany. Production will be phased out
gradually from now until the end of the year, cutting Hoechst's West
European PP capacity to 520,000 m.t./year.

AFX News, February 28, 1992
...Hoechst AG said it will close its polypropylene plant in
Kelsterbach because of a 20 pct overcapacity in the west European
market The plant, which produces 135,000 tons of the chemical
annually, will be phased out by the end of the year

Explosion hits Soviet industry
Financial Times January 30, 1991
...A HUGE explosion at a vital Soviet ethylene and polyethylene plant
west of the Ural mountains has brought a large portion of the
country's petrochemicals industry to a standstill, according to
reports from the area.

The Chemical Industry 5; Days of plenty for ethylene
Financial Times July 31, 1990
...In Europe, of the 64 ethylene crackers (plants) that had been in
operation at the beginning of the 1980s, 24 had been shuttered by
1984. The slimming regime - which knocked out some 30 per cent of the
world's total capacity - worked, and it has continued to work. The
international ethylene industry hit its high towards the end of 1988
when petrochemical profitability peaked at the highest level ever
recorded. ...From minnow to leading player, Financial Times
(London,England), May 2, 1990...A decade ago Neste, Finland's
state-owned oil, chemicals and industrial company, was a sleepy
conglomerate little known outside Scandinavia.oday, largely on the
back of a rapid expansion in petrochemicals that has cost the company
FM5bn (Dollars 1.2bn) since the mid-1980s, all this has changed....On
the European stage it is the fourth largest plastics company after
BASF of West Germany, Italy's Enimont and Atochem of France. In
polyolefins - specific types of bulk plastics which include the widely
used polyethylene and polypropylene - the group ranks fourth


Again, if there's anything else you need, just let me know, and I'm at
your service.


Request for Answer Clarification by petrochem32-ga on 30 Jun 2006 00:38 PDT
Thank you for the extended answer! I quickly looked through the news
items that you compiled and they qive quite a wealth of information!
In general, my point is to study the past to make some educated
guesses about the future cycle downturn which is expected sometime in
Additional information that might be valuable in this regard is some
discussion of what kind of capacity the companies shut down first. Do
they get rid of old, costly crackers or they mothball even newer
plants, just to save costs at any price. What companies were the cost
leaders in the 90's?
Pls let me know when these clarification questions become too much and
I can open a new question.

Thank you, 

Request for Answer Clarification by petrochem32-ga on 30 Jun 2006 01:03 PDT
To add to my previous point, you are definitely correct about other
force-majeures, as fires and bominb raids.. However, I'm more
interested to look into __conscious__ decisions by firms to cut
capacity when faced with zero margins on falling prices for their
My understanding is that a lot of firms are forced out of business if
their costs are significatnly above the prevailing cost model in the
industry at the moment.
Did they predict the downturn? How they acted? Any information related
to that will be very helpful.
I appreciate your help!

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 30 Jun 2006 17:24 PDT
Thanks for the feedback.

But I must admit, I'm not quite sure how to approach your follow-up
request.  I'm always happy to fill-in anything I might have missed in
an initial answer, but I think you're asking for a good deal of
additional research, which may be more appropriate as a new question.

Let's try this.

Chemical Market Reporter is probably the pre-eminent industry magazine
for reporting on trends in commodity chemical production.  Some of the
CMR briefs from a few years back are available online at this site:

and they include market summaries for:



Polyethylene - HD

Polyethylene - LLD

Polyethylene - LD


and a host of other chemical feedstocks.  

Take a look, and see if they are helpful to your project.

And if you think you'd still like some additional work done on your
question, just let me know and, as always, I'm at your service.


petrochem32-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Comprehensive answer.

There are no comments at this time.

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