There should be a time of great success for the US plastics industry. With the abundance of cheap natural gas on hand market, thanks to fracking boom in the country, the US energy giant were pouring billions of dollars into the construction of new plants processing the plastic gas. While the world was ready to turn slowly away from fossil fuels as an energy source, plastic seemed to be projected to explode in the coming decades a good substitute and perhaps even a cow to be milked potential Overseas, demand for plastics. But the rosy predictions may not panning out. With the oil industry in free fall, and a pandemic gripping the world, the other main fossil fuels play US petrochemicals, of which plastic is the largest part may also be in trouble. Until the crown pandemic, they seemed all the signs indicate that the United States was ready to epic proportions of a plastic arm. In February, 343 new productions and the plastic extensions were admitted or planned in the near future, according to the American Chemistry Council. Around the world over the next five years, the plastic production rate was to increase by one third, was screened. By 2050, it was expected to triple. The plastic buildout United States is located in the Gulf of Mexico region, where much of the petrochemical industry, the US is already, and Ohio River Valley, which is located close to major US fracking fields. The plants chemically ethane “crack”, a component of natural gas into ethylene, a leading plastics block. Last year, the South African company Sasol Ltd., the new seven plastic plants before scheduled in Louisiana opened. In January, the Louisiana approvals were Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Corp. a vast complex of 14 new plants. to produce and Pittsburgh, Penn., Builds shell a 386-acre campus cracker with a capacity of 1.8 million tons of plastic per year. But now, with the onset of the oil sector crown haywire, sending plastic, also feel the impact: Shell has suspended construction on its concerns Pennsylvania complex workplace safety. Thai company PTT Global Chemical has just announced that it was indefinitely delaying plans to build Ohio with six ethane cracking furnaces, citing the uncertainty of the crown pandemic. Some experts say that the writing on the wall for the plastics industry before the current crisis. Last year, the industry news site Chemical Week predicts “growing pains” for the industry, as more and more open cracker plants, and the production rate is likely to exceed consumption. Meanwhile were other problems appear earlier in the supply chain: the natural gas prices had fallen so low that gas producers have their care on site burning; It was not worth the cost to transport it to a cracked structure. In mid-March removed analysis firm IHS Markit PTT Global Chemical Project in Ohio of its long-term supply of plastic prognosis. It was too much has been set polyethylene market, the type of plastic plant marks, IHS said. The company predicted that oversupply would take at least three years. Last July, the Brazilian company Braskem withdrew its plans for a cracking plant in West Virginia to build. And $84 billion worth of Chinese investment in West Virginia in 2017 promised to plastic materials and energy has to show up. Now, with the constructor crown pandemic arrest and likely future cash flows for new projects that attract the plastic boom on the US border it is to be able to. “We are in unprecedented times, and businesses, not just only the chemical companies do their best to save the company.” Stated Kevin Swift, managing director at the American Chemistry Council of Economics and Statistics. see “Us, which manifests itself in some of these projects, which for some time have long been delayed or put on hold. Nobody knows.” Too much plastic, too little demand? The boom in production of plastics in the United States was the bet based on that it would be increasing demand for plastic abroad. But maybe it does not materialize, the demand, says Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law, a legal non-profit environmental study on this issue put a report out this month. about 40% of all plastic is made worldwide for packaging, but announced recently China, a total ban on the use of all disposable sets in its 27 member states to adopt the European Union, the ban is expected to reduce to around 4.5 million tons of plastic each year the demand from manufacturers bans more impact plastic disposable products next year, as well as a similar ban in Canada; consumer plastic – .. Africa, 34 countries that already have a certain limitation art disposable tissue impose. A bailout of the oil industry and the system of US gas is only a temporary splint already broken for one, says Muffett. “What we’re seeing is that, regardless of how you play in the medium term, in the long run, these companies were already financially unsound, and no amount of government intervention is the correction,” said Muffett. “This crisis exposed how weak business models actually were.” But the American Chemistry Council says it is optimistic that countries with middle class always want inexpensive plastic. It is said that the prohibitions of plastic consumer products unique to a limited number, and have not seen any widespread implementation. Plastic also used in other sectors such as textiles and construction continues to grow. “I think the long-term trends for the plastic growth remain very strong. We have to ask for a growing middle class around the world, the plastic products will continue,” says Keith Christman, managing director of plastics markets for ‘ ACC. At this time, eight American states have enacted their own bans on plastic bags, as they did hundreds of individual towns and villages. But the plastics industry is now trying with public health pandemic reversed to make these prohibitions; In the United States, plastic, association of plastic industry, sent a letter on March 18 to the Department of Health and Human Services, a federal declaration for a single use, plastic disposable bags which requires “more sanitary choice “despite the evidence that a plastic crown can live three days could face up to as evidence that the virus does not survive so well on soft surfaces such as cloth. The push-back seems to work, at least in some places. On March 21, New Hampshire prohibited buyers bring reusable bags to stores and unique shops buying new paper or plastic bags for use. Maine delayed his bag ban enacted, the other on 22 April the European Plastics Converters Association plastic trades that start recently asked was expected that the European Commission to lift all bans on disposable plastic items and delay its level of EU ban than a year, claiming his “hygienic properties” were the best choice for “consumers protect.” the EU. He rejected the request, even though the British patent his ban has shifted to some plastic items for implementation in October citing crown. Since the notes to intercept, industry groups have pushed for plastic bans as well as raised in Turkey, Germany and Italy. “We definitely see the plastics industry is trying to use this as an opportunity to transform the political discourse which focused on limiting their use,” says Fredric Bauer, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Lund in Sweden, the plastics industry has studied. In addition, he says, while 40% of the plastic manufacturing industry is dedicated to the package, a further 20% of plastic is towards synthetic fabrics. “Polyester is the most common textile fiber is used all over the world. This is not regulated,” he says. Meanwhile, the result can be an increase in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic in a short-term increase in demand for certain plastics used in medical masks and dresses. The Exxon Example In a presentation to investors in January, Neil Hansen, vice president of energy giant ExxonMobil, said the company $355 million in its chemicals business that was lost as it was generally dominated chemistry plastic result in the fourth quarter of 2019 for the year of more than 80% after the presentation. Royal Dutch Shell reported similar losses in its chemical activities in the same quarter. Analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters that the company has for the “no significant recovery than expected” in 2020 by Exxon petrochemical losses with its entry in a precarious financial situation coincided. A few months prior to the presentation to investors, Credit Exxon Moody readjusted to “negative”. In 2019, ExxonMobil has fallen out of the top 10 S & P 500 stocks for the first time since the index in 1957. The loss of $355 million were launched is not much for a company with $14 billion in profit in 2019. But what made Muffet, the center for international environmental law, points out, can be an indication of concern is a broader trend. “This is a loss in an industry that should be a driving force in their future growth,” said Muffett. the cost of new plastic materials for the production of low held in part because of subsidies during the 2010s have been granted for the fossil fuel industry for a long time. In 2015, for example, 10.8% of Exxon arm of the structure, which is mainly plastic were revenue from the “chemical”. But in the same industry a share of over 27% of its profits, because many of their investment costs have already been done. For example, to extract the infrastructure and make further refine the plastic gas was already in place and heavily subsidized by the government. fuel gas, once the fundamental problems now comes up to the plastic chain feel to do with the plastic production of natural gas used in the first place. The price of natural gas Fracked is so low that the drill can not cover the costs of preparing justify are transported through pipelines, many manufacturers place easily burn in the form of flashlights usually intended surplus to burn gas in an emergency situation. In the Permian Basin in Texas, a center of the fracking boom in the United States, the gas industry burned an estimated 810 million cubic feet per day of natural gas in 2019, or nearly far enough to provide 5 million US households for one day , according to Rystad Energy, Norway-based company, the flaring data analysis. It was 2019. The value fell further in this year’s natural gas: The Energy Information Administration of the United States estimates that the price of the Henry Hub in Louisiana, the benchmark index for natural gas in the United States in 2020 , $2.33 per million BTU average is 24 cents lower than the average in 2019 of $2.57. April 30 the price was drastically lower than that- $1.87 per million BTU. The price is more than $1.91 in February, no more. “It ‘a sad scenario in West Texas,” Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, said the news industry output in 1020 Industry Report earlier this month. “It ‘perfectly good natural gas, but it is extended. The price is so low that make no incentive for them something different.” How do I lock fracking activities, sand mining in Wisconsin started off. The mines are one of the major suppliers of fracking, abundant shale sand required to “break”; the sand together with water and a mixture of chemicals, cut into the rock forced downward recesses, releases the gas. Now these are Wisconsin include sand pits. For now, it seems that the only way to save the petrochemical industry is to try to expand the demand for plastic products too quickly. One way to do that is on-Ban to push back the plastics industry strives to do. Another way is to increase the number of plastic packaged products in countries where the use of plastic is not already so widespread. The most obvious place to do that in the developing countries; while in the US the demand of about 80 kilograms hung plastic materials per person per year in 2015, the request was only 9 kg per person in India. In Africa as a whole, it was only 6 kg. And because plastic is cheaper than other alternative materials, with the exception of strong anti-plastic laws, it is likely to find industrial demand in these parts of the world. “The world is already Swamped with plastic, and it seems that the offer will continue to grow, and they will do everything possible to save the markets for output, especially when the entire oil industry to find petrochemicals and plastics uses their activities “said Bauer, University of Lund. “I’m afraid we will drown in it.” Picture copyright by James MacDonald Bloomberg via Getty Images
Science > Crown is death or saving Big plastic?