Last updateThu, 15 Nov 2018 4pm


IEA: Energy Prices Threaten World Economy

As the oil market reaches the landmark 100 mb/d level, prices are rising steadily. Brent crude oil is now established above $80/bbl, with infrastructure constraints causing North American prices to lag somewhat. Nonetheless, the International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that expensive energy is back, with oil, gas and coal trading at multi-year highs, and it poses a threat to economic growth. For many developing countries, higher international prices coincide with currencies depreciating against the U.S. dollar, so the threat of economic damage is more acute. The global economy is also at risk from trade disputes. 

Covestro to Expand Baytown Chemical Plant

Covestro has approved an investment of around $1.7 billion to build a new world-scale MDI plant in Baytown, TX. This investment at the existing site in Baytown is the largest single investment in the history of the company. Annual capacity of the new train will be 1.1 billion tons of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), a base chemical for polyurethanes. Start of production is expected in 2024. 

Energy Sector Maintains Momentum in Third Quarter

U.S. energy sector activity maintained its strong momentum in third quarter 2018, according to executives responding to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Energy Survey. However, respondents said pipeline constraints, steel tariffs and oil price differentials could have negative effects on their business.

The business activity index dipped very slightly from 44.5 in the second quarter to 43.3 in the third but remained near the highest level since the survey began. The business activity index for oilfield services firms fell from 54.2 to 45.9, suggesting a slight deceleration in growth for those firms. Meanwhile, the business activity index for exploration and production (E&P) firms rose from 37.2 to 41.8. 

Petrochemicals Becoming Largest Driver of World Oil Demand

Petrochemicals are becoming the largest drivers of global oil demand, in front of cars, planes and trucks, according to a major study by the International Energy Agency.

Petrochemicals are set to account for more than a third of the growth in world oil demand to 2030, and nearly half the growth to 2050, adding nearly 7 million barrels of oil a day by then. They are also poised to consume an additional 56 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas by 2030, and 83 bcm by 2050. 

Chemical Activity Up 4% Over Year Ago

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) from the American Chemistry Council, posted a 0.1% gain in September on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis, continuing a five-month trend of slow but steady growth in 2018. The barometer is up 4.0% (3MMA) year-over-year (Y/Y/).

The unadjusted CAB posted a strong 0.4% increase in September. This followed upward revisions in July and August of 0.41% and 0.34%, respectively. 

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