It feels as if the political baton has been passed over the Atlantic, with the announcement yesterday that the Democrats had won the vote in the House of Representatives to impeach President Trump. As we in the U.K. had to go through the embarrassment, and the peculiarities of the House of Commons rules and procedures, as one side favouring remain, representing different parties but not always their constituents, out-voted a Government aiming to put in place what they described as the vote of the people to leave the European Union.
In yesterday’s SIMON SAYS, I looked for the reason why we’re still seeing announcements of PDH expansions and new olefin crackers in the U.S., especially given the reality of China’s plans to stand by themselves in the petrochemical world, increasing their domestic production of petrochemicals while cutting back on imports of olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, and also the polymers, the resins and fibers.
There aren’t that many countries I haven’t visited in my 35 years in the LPG industry, but Canada is one of them. Once I got as high as Seattle in Washington, about 100 miles south-east of Victoria, British Colombia, back in my Texaco days, visiting what was then our Ferndale facility. But Canada and its NGLs are certainly back on the map again!
Do prices in Asia or in the U.S. move the ARB, do freight rates move the ARB, do terminal fees move the ARB? I thought it was a pretty good question my 12-year-old son asked me before I left for Houston, clearly the school fees are working! I suppose the easy answer is to say that they all do, but which element moves the ARB the most, and should we care?
Many years ago, when I was young and single, I would always come across this guy, I never knew his name, but every new hip bar I went to, he was stood there, glass of champagne in hand. I got to know him, especially as he was able to tell me which the next in-bar would be. I always called him “the Indicator”. It’s funny how we try to spot commodities that can likewise indicate the next big move in the global economy.
I’m just squeezing into my morning suit and putting on my top hat, as we head off for our annual Royal Ascot, day at the races. Usually I’m going thinking, how far under 90% of naphtha will the petrochemical buyers push the propane market in Europe, or will our customers try to push dates back again or isn’t it time for buyers to start stock building at the bottom of the market.
Nearly all contracts I’ve seen for LPG exports out of the U.S. Gulf are written as propane loadings, with a normal butane option, but only if declared by a certain date, and then limited to half the cargo. So, has butane been demoted to the role of “second-class” citizen in the relentless growth of U.S. LPG exports?
Whenever I go to a conference these days there’s always somebody talking about Propane Dehydrogenation (PDH). I think I might have already done the PDH blog last week! But back in my early days we all were talking about Autogas, LPG as a motor fuel. This was going to be the next big thing. So, I thought I might revisit it again, but maybe link it to what’s happening in Turkey.
I thought a bit of history might grab us on the last Friday in May. I remember selling butane cargoes into Marcus Hook, to Sun, to Sam Slovak or was it, Charlie Mitchell, anyway it was product going into their refinery for gasoline blending. They weren’t regular buyers, but paid good prices, and getting the first sale in was always a feeling of achievement.