Refining & marketing
Uncertainty in the air
1 July 2008
With feedstock prices rising fast and growth in world demand slowing, there are warnings that start-ups of new ethylene capacity planned for the second half of this year could trip the chemicals business into a down-cycle, Martin Quinlan writes
Top of the cycle?
1 July 2008
Downstream attractions
1 June 2008
An expanding economy and efficient oil logistics – the latter a legacy of the years of state control – make Spain an attractive downstream market. Repsol YPF is making sure it will hold onto its dominant position, Martin Quinlan writes
Profits could be trimmed next year
1 August 2007
Worldwide bottlenecks in refining capacity, at a time of sharply rising demand for products, have brought strong refining margins for over three years. But there are signs that easing fundamentals could trim profits next year, Martin Quinlan writes.
Time to prepare for the downstream downturn
1 August 2007
Refining margins have recently been at all-time highs, but the industry faces much uncertainty and needs to prepare for a downturn. So says Derek Marshall, one of the heads of business development at Shell Global Solutions International. Interview by Alex Forbes
New axis drives the business
1 July 2007
The new axis linking Chinese demand with Mideast output has brought the worldwide chemicals sector to a business peak. Some forecast that it will also bring the next industry downturn, Martin Quinlan writes
Set gas free
1 May 2007
Refining boom under threat
1 January 2007
US refiners, benefiting from high utilisation rates and margins, are planning significant new capacity. But soaring construction and labour costs could delay, or deter, vital investment, writes Anne Feltus
Texas City: a 'preventable incident'
1 December 2006
Since BPs disaster at Texas refinery, health and safety has gone to unprecedented levels.
Gazprom advances
1 September 2006
A $99m investment in a service-station network in Kyrgyzstan looks incongruous in Gazprom's vast and expanding energy portfolio. But the acquisition furthers two of the gas giant's important goals: to expand into the oil business and to establish a dominant position in former-Soviet Central Asia, writes Isabel Gorst
Profits boom on strong demand
1 September 2006
Refiners in key locations are benefiting from unprecedentedly high refining margins, driven by strong demand for products and by capacity constraints. With a worldwide move towards cleaner fuels, at a time when crude quality is declining, the need for intensive refining is forecast to grow, Martin Quinlan writes
Coal to liquids: Back in fashion
1 September 2006
With oil prices high and security of supply a rising concern for importing countries, interest in coal-to-liquids projects – once brushed aside as uneconomic – is growing again, writes Martin Clark