Published January 1978
In 1973-74, when world economies were disrupted by the sharp rise in crude oil prices, there was an air of considerable uncertainty regarding the availability and price of petrochemical feedstocks. Much of the ensuing confusion was the result of the necessity not only to adjust planning to different hydrocarbon feedstocks, but also to take into account further effects that higher prices would have in reducing the demand for end products. The feeling of uncertainty was intensified by the immediate financial problems associated with overcapacity in both petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants; the extra capacity was built in anticipation of a rising demand that did not materialize. Attempts to raise product prices to improve profitability were held in check by wary governments who were trying to control monetary inflation and by the intense competition associated with overcapacity.
This study was undertaken to gain a greater understanding of the factors influencing the future application of petrochemical and chemical derivative processes. More specifically the objectives of this analysis were:
To obtain a current perspective and short term outlook for oil and gas availability and demand throughout the world.
To analyze the current and anticipated price structure of crude oil, petroleum products, primary petrochemicals, and intermediate streams.