In news that did not seem to make it into our October review, INEOS, as of Oct 31, has suspended its EO/EG project in LaPorte, TX. …..Meanwhile, EO drama continues in Europe as Shell is working towards resuming production of ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol (EG) at its site in Moerdijk, the Netherlands, before the end of the year…….. Finally, In some absolutely fascinating news from Poland, Boruta-Zachem has signed a contract for the sale of all its planned 2015 production of bio-surfactants to a buyer in the United Arab Emirates.
Category Archives: Monthly Reviews
First, in news which hit the last week in October, Stepan’s third-quarter net income fell by 34% year on year, as a result of weak North American surfactants performance. According the company surfactant results were dragged down by lower workhorse surfactant volumes for its North American consumer products, specifically in the laundry sector. Now, this will have been no surprise to any of the ~200 of you who attended our Surfactants Conference back in May in NY. Our keynote speaker, Quinn Stepan, highlighted the challenges the company faced in the laundry sector as formulation trends have impacted surfactant loading. These trends, specifically the use of enzymes and the surge in monodose, took a big bite out of workhorse surfactant demand in this sector. Quinn frankly stated that the size, and speed, of this bite took the market by surprise. Having said that, Stepan, as Quinn emphasized, sees some compensatory upside in the future, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
Meanwhile in the European EO market, the contract price dropped €45/tonne in line with an ethylene decrease .According to ICIS, unverified production problems at a European plant have resulted in customers having to seek material from other sellers, market participants said.
Neil A Burns LLC: Some of the information and opinion here was provided by my attending and chairing the 3rd ICIS European Surfactant Conference which finished today (Friday September 5th) in Berlin. An outstanding event which I am happy to co-produce with the ICIS conference team. A special mention and thanks to all the attendees at the Surfactant Business Essentials Training Course which I taught in Berlin on Sept 2nd. Some of their comments and questions provided some of the food for thought also for this review.
The big news of the month was of course that Stepan has finally taken the plunge and sought out a site in the US Gulf Coast area. The company announced discussions about a site to make “surfactants intermediates” in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Of course the other famous occupant of this Parish in Louisiana is Shell’s Geismar site where, among other things, ethylene oxide (EO) and various Neodol alcohols are made. Stepan is a large user of both.
Welcome again to our monthly surfactant news update. As usual, most items are sourced courtesy of my friends at ICIS and some of the links may require a subscription. Nonetheless, the responsibility for any errors or omissions is entirely mine. Also the opinions expressed are entirely my own. I hope you enjoy reading. For the latest information, analysis and unequalled networking around the surfactant value chain, please attend our 3-day surfactant event in Berlin, September 3 – 5th. We have partnered with the BIO-TIC group of CEFIC who are running a biosurfactants conference alongside our 3rd European Surfactants Conference. I hope to see many of you there.
May was a big month in surfactants, not least because we held our largest ever surfactants conference in NYC; May 15 – 16th, preceded by our business essentials training course. In Asia, Prices of linear alkylbenzene sulphonate (LAS) remained stable, according to ICIS…. A northeast Asian seller said it was not offering any material this week, but would express selling ideas at $1,550/tonne CFR
The month of April saw quite a bit of activity in ethylene oxide, ethoxylation and fatty alcohols. Also, of course, the Wilmar acquisition of major parts of the Huntsman European surfactant business contributed to the continuing restructuring of the industry.
The Month in Surfactants : March 2014 The month of March kicked off with concerns about a general slowdown in China and the impact on the surfactant value chain. Let’s take a look in some detail at the China EO / MEG and derivatives sector: According to ICIS, China’s domestic ethanolamines prices are likely to face further downward pressure amid a deteriorating monoethylene glycol (MEG) market and a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. EO (ethylene oxide) prices are dropping amid oversupply and a weakening end – use market for surfactants in consumer and industrial goods in China. Spot MEG prices fell $41-42/MT in the week ended 21 February to $933-946/tonne CFR CMP (China Main Port), down by about 7% from $1,005-1,011/MT CFR CMP four weeks ago, the ICIS data showed. The spot MEG prices have been undermined by a massive build-up of inventories and sluggish domestic demand following the Lunar New Year holidays in the first half of February. MEG stocks along the eastern China coast hit a record high of 1.14m tonnes in the week ended 21 February, according to ICIS data. Market players expect the stocks to continue growing as end-users remain hesitant to pick up cargoes…
A review of the surfactants markets and business for January and February of 2014. Our first review of the surfactants markets in 2014 will cover January and February. Thereafter, we will try to get these out on a Monthly basis for easier and more timely reading. As usual, many of the news items come courtesy of my friends at ICIS. Many of the links are to ICIS articles and some need a subscription. As regular readers know, the best way to stay current in the surfactants markets is to attend one of our conferences produced in partnership with ICIS. We will have three in 2014. The next one comes up on New York, The 4th ICIS World Surfactant Conference on May 15 – 16th in NYC, features Quinn Stepan Jr. as our keynote speaker. I look forward to seeing many readers there.