Shale Oil & Gas


A Chemical Watch article titled “Plastics: Industry’s fortunes are uncertain” summed up the state of the oil market in its explanation of the future of the plastics industry.

“The fall in crude oil prices and its impact on shale oil and gas production, as well as increased consumer spending in the United States, a weak euro, and slower GDP growth in China, are factors that will continue to influence supply-demand fundamentals for plastics worldwide in 2015. The only certainty is that short-term visibility will be limited.”

The operative word, however, is in the headline—uncertain. Where, which direction, and when are the three most difficult questions to answer when regarding the oil industry. It seems to depend on whom you ask and how you ask the question(s).

Some of the big drillers are screaming for the president to lift the oil export ban so they can participate in higher profits from foreign markets. Bloomberg predicts that Shale is On Sale. The Fiscal Times believes gas prices are dropping again but they also think that oil prices will soon rebound. To further complicate matters, Citi says that oil could hit bottom at $20.

Let’s look at the details and see if we can make sense of what the alleged pundits and experts are saying. The state of the oil market is getting more slippery by the day.

Oil CEOs Press for Lifting of Export Ban

Dawn Kopecki and Bradley Owen in a Bloomberg article wrote that around a dozen U.S. drilling executives that included ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance stormed Washington for the sole purpose of convincing the Obama administration to lift the oil export ban imposed after the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Apparently, oil in the U.S. is selling for about $10 less than the global average.

Full Story


Steelworkers Union—Tentative Deal Reached to End Strike
In a recent Reuters article, Erwin Seba reports that the United Steelworkers union and oil companies have drafted a tentative deal to end the largest U.S, refinery strike in 35 years.

The agreement, which affects about 30,000 workers would last four years, but still needs to be ratified, and may not end strikes right away as all pending issues are not resolved. Nevertheless, both sides claim they have a deal.

Full Story


Get Ready—Shale is Going On Sale
Yup—That’s the word on the street. According to a Bloomberg collaborative effort by Bradley Olson, Matthew Monks and Brooke Sutherland, Whiting Petroleum Corp., the largest producer in North Dakota’s Bakken shale basin, is putting itself up for sale to be the first tremor in a potential wave of consolidation as $50-a-barrel prices undercut companies with heavy debt and high costs . . . So there you have it. An oil industry biggie is leading the way.

“In this market, there are whales and there are fishes, and the whales are well armed,” said William Arnold, a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell Plc., who also worked as an energy-industry banker and now teaches at Rice University in Houston. “There are some very vulnerable little fishes out there trying to survive any way they can.”

Full Story


Gas Prices Are Ready to Drop Again
Anthony Mirhaydari tells us why in a Fiscal Times report that uses the old adage: “If something’s too good to be true, it probably is,” to illustrate his point. He goes on to say that’s probably how many felt when gasoline prices collapsed nearly 61 percent from their high last summer to the low in January. The Seattle area saw retail prices below $2 a gallon for the first time since the recession.

Just as quickly as they dropped, though, gas prices reversed course and zoomed higher, climbing 61 percent to a recent high set earlier this month.

Full Story


Oil Prices Will Rebound Before We Know It
Michael Brush tells us why in the Fiscal Times, the same publication that said “Gas Prices Are Set to Drop Again.” Hmmm . . . interesting times at the Fiscal Times.

According to the article, oil industry analysts have been engaging in a burning debate: Have prices hit bottom or do they have further to fall? Energy company CEOs have been voicing their views on the question as they report their quarterly earnings results. The International Energy Agency weighed in as well in a somewhat bearish five-year forecast released Tuesday, saying that oil prices will eventually rebound from current levels but still stay below the $100 a barrel mark. The group said global stockpiles would rise, putting prices under more pressure before spending cuts by oil producers kick in to ease the supply glut.

Full Story


Citi Says: Oil Could Bottom Out Around $20
And in yet another Fiscal Times article, Akin Oyedele, Business Insider, reported that Ed Morse, global head of commodity research at Citi, wrote that with evidence of oversupply in the oil market, the bottom is not yet in for oil prices.

“It’s impossible to call a bottom point,” Morse wrote, “which could, as a result of oversupply and the economics of storage, fall well below $40 a barrel for WTI, perhaps as low as the $20 range for a while.”

Citi is forecasting that Brent crude will average $54 a barrel in 2015, down from their previous call of $63 per barrel.

Full Story

The Future of Shale Oil & Gas—Opinions Differ

Shale Plays in the Lower 48
[Click Map to Enlarge]

Ohio shale and gas production shifts south

A Columbus Dispatch article by Dan Gearino said that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources report on second-quarter results show the center of Ohio shale development shifting south to Noble County and Antero Resources Corp.

The top two natural-gas wells are located in Monroe County; both are owned by Hall Drilling.

Carroll County presently has the most oil and gas wells and the largest production. However, it lags in new development and in production per well.



Arguments for and against shale oil & gas developments may surprise you

An article by Euan Mearns questions whether we understand the concept of the controversial so-called energy debate. Whereas many think it is about the pros and cons of renewable energy and the environmental sensibilities of shale developments, the crisis may not be about those issues at all.

The crises for many countries could be abut the legal imperative to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions relative to the value of 1990. The second order of importance is economic.



Why the shale oil and gas revolution won’t end any time soon

The Bangkok Post’s writer John Kemp questions the sustainability of the North American oil and gas boom. He says that doubts center on rapidly declining output from many shale wells after they are initially drilled. Although that may be true, supporters have every reason to believe that is not an issue. Kemp convincingly presents both sides of the issue in his comprehensive report.



Are drillers producing more debt than oil as they pursue fortunes in shale?

Asjylyn Loder seems to think so in a Bloomberg News article addressing that question.

Floyd Wilson, chairman and CEO of Halcon Resources Corp. wrote off $1.2 billion last year after disappointing results in two key prospects. Since Wilson took over the company, Halcon’s shares have dropped by about half, trading at $5.67 on Sept. 5.

Apparently this does not discourage Wilson, who claims that politicians and investors are buying into the vision of a domestic energy renaissance.



The long supply chain, not Big Oil that keeps the industry pumping

That’s what Jennifer A. Dlouhy reports in a article on Sept. 9.

The American Petroleum Institute released a report documenting the nearly 30,000 businesses across the country that supply the oil and gas industry with products, equipment, and services, Dlouhy said.

Does that offset the losses suffered by investors in the oil fields where production is dwindling?


Major New U.S. Chemical Manufacturing Projects seen at Risk Under EPA Rules


ICIS news reports that billions of dollars’ worth of new chemical sector and other manufacturing projects may be in jeopardy because of federal pre-construction environmental requirements, industry officials told a U.S. House panel last Wednesday.

The report, authored by ICIS writer Paul Hodges, who studies key influences shaping the chemical industry said that 8 in a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, a top chemicals industry official warned that some of the many new U.S. chemicals production facilities now on the drawing board ultimately could be abandoned because of time-consuming, laborious and confusing federal environmental permitting processes on new construction.

In her testimony on a draft bill aimed at accelerating and clarifying permitting processes at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American Chemistry Council (ACC) regulatory and technical affairs director Lorraine Gershman noted that “As of this week, 177 chemical industry projects valued at $112bn in potential ne U.S. investment have been announced”, with at least 62% of that from foreign investors.

However, she said, “All of these projects must undergo a lengthy and complex environmental permitting process filled with challenges that could derail the investment”.

“Problems include uncertainty as to the schedule for obtaining a final pre-construction permit, a requirement that companies use emission modeling programs that cannot adequately accommodate site-specific data, and the need to address public input and legal challenges,” she said.

And, “once a project is significantly delayed, the project is often scrapped, and companies make plans to proceed elsewhere,” Gershman added.

Gershman was joined by Ross Eisenberg, vice president for energy and resources at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) who complained to the panel that the EPA often alters pre-construction permit criteria while investors are already in the permit application process, creating “conditions that derail the project”.

Chemical Industry News – March

Chemical Industry News - March 2014 - The Chemical Company

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) US Chemical Production Index rose by 0.3% in January, following a revised 0.6% gain in December, 2013. Production increased in all seven regions of the US for the third consecutive month. Compared to January 2013, total chemical production in all regions increased by 0.3% year-over-year.

The ACC reported that US exports of chemicals grew 0.4% in 2013, while chemical imports declined by 1.0%, expanding the chemical industry trade surplus to $3.4 billion. The US chemical industry typically has a surplus in all its major segments with the exception of pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals.

The ACC’s Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) rose by 0.2% in January. The CAB has shown a gain for nine consecutive months and it is up 2.6% over a year earlier.

Draft legislation for overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act was proposed in the House of Representatives on February 27. Among other points, it would require the EPA to divide all commercial chemicals on the market into two categories: low or high priority, depending on risk to human health or the environment. Chemical industry trade associations have welcomed the draft, while environmental activists are speaking out against it. With increased bipartisan support there could be a vote before elections this fall.

The EPA issued on March 3 long-awaited rules to reduce sulfur content of gasoline by 67% in 2017. The American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers said that the rules would raise gas prices by 10 cents per gallon and incur billions of dollars in capital costs. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy disagreed and said that the increase would be less than one cent per gallon.

A new experiment by scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration has found that bisphenol A (BPA) doesn’t affect the health of rats fed low doses. European studies have indicated that BPA poses no risk to infants. Some scientists have said that the FDA study is flawed and the controversy continues.

The Canadian government is lending $10 million to a Quebec firm for the construction of a commercial scale bio-based chemical plant, the first of its kind in Canada. A succinic acid plant will be built in Sarnia, Ont. and will have a capacity of 30,000MT/year.

Dow Chemical turned down a request that the company spin off its petrochemical businesses. This was in response to Daniel Loeb, CEO of Third Point, whose company has taken a $1.3 billion stake in Dow.

BASF reported an increase of 16% in net income for Q4 2013 year on year to €1.14 billion.

US chlor-alkali average operating rates increased to 86% in January 2014 from December’s 84%. New production from Westlake’s Geismar, LA plant was to come on line in March, adding 350,000 electrochemical units (ECU), representing 350,000 MT of chlorine and 385,000 MT of caustic soda of annual production. Dow Chemical and partner Mitsui are preparing for start-up of an 800,000 ECU/year facility in Freeport, Texas which will replace older, existing equipment.

The US Geological Survey reported that US production of soda ash in 2013 was a record high at 11.4 million tons.

The House of Representatives passed legislation on March 4 that aims to boost energy efficiency of commercial buildings.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy recently suggested that he believed that the EPA overstepped its bounds in the way that it requires greenhouse gases be regulated under permits for power plants.

Senator Manchin, D-WV and Rep. Whitfield, R-KY are seeking to pass a measure that would eliminate the carbon capture requirement for new coal-fired power plants and delay the EPA carbon emission rules for existing plants. The House passed such legislation on March 6, but it’s not likely to come up for a Senate vote. The administration is against the bill, and it risks a presidential veto.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors says that is considering sites in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas for a massive battery factory that would employ approximately 6,500 people. The company has not specified locations, but plans to start construction this year with completion in 2017. Cost is estimated at between $4 and $5 billion.

According to Russia Business Directory, the chemical industry accounts for 10.4% of the total output of Russian processing industry and 5.4% of export profits. The industry employs more than 740,000 people. It was stated the Russian chemical industry accounts for 1.1% of world output, but has 15% of world ammonia and carbamide(urea) production.

Brazil’s chemicals trade deficit increased by 13.6% in 2013, reaching a total of $32 billion. Brazil imported $46.1 billion in chemical products last year, an increase of 7.3% year on year.

Mitsui Chemicals is closing multiple plants in Japan and bringing in a new CEO. It is one of Japan’s largest chemical companies with sales of $17.6 billion in its last fiscal year. But it has not shown a profit in three of the past four years.

China’s economy grew by a healthy 7.7% in 2013, and is expected to grow at a rate of 7.4% in 2014. The national target is 7.5%.

China’s producer price index in January was 1.6% lower year to year and was viewed by some as a sign of continued slowness in the manufacturing sector.

China’s consumer price index increased at an annual rate of 2.5% in January at no change from December.

China’s February exports dropped 18.1% from a year earlier. Imports increased 10.1%, resulting in a trade deficit of $23 billion.

According to a revised German government forecast, the country’s economy should expand by 1.75% this year and 2.0% in 2015.

Germany’s business climate continued to grow in February. Munich-based Ifo, an economic research group, reported that its monthly business climate index for Germany (2005 = 100) rose to 111.3 from 110.6 in January from 109.5 in December. The survey represents responses from firms in construction, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing.

Unemployment across the seventeen European Union countries that use the euro was reported unchanged at 12.0% for January, stable since October 2013. The lowest rates among member states were Austria at 4.9%, Germany at 5.0% and Luxembourg at 6.1%. The highest rates among member states were Greece at 28.0% and Spain at 25.8%.

February inflation in the Euro zone was reported at 0.8%, unchanged from January and December and down from 0.9% in November. At numbers less than 1%, this is considered by the European Central Bank as the “danger zone.”

BNSF Railway Co. intends to buy its own fleet of up to 5,000 new crude oil tank cars with safety features that exceed the latest standards adopted by the industry more than two years ago. The railroad is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and is a major mover of crude oil by rail throughout the US. Railcars are usually owned by companies that lease them to shippers.

Total carload rail volume for February decreased 0.4% overall compared with February 2013.  Intermodal volume was up 1.1% compared to the same period in 2013 and was the 51st consecutive year over year monthly increase for intermodal volume.

The American Trucking Association reported that seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage decreased 4.3% in January after a decline of 0.8% in December. The index was 1.2% higher year to year.

Shale Oil and Gas Related

World Shale Oil&Gas Latin America Summit

BASF has ruled out the possibility of importing shale gas from the US for use in its European petrochemical operations.

The American Petroleum Institute has urged the federal government to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports amid the continuing crisis in Ukraine. Chevron Corp. Chairman John Watson said that there are more than enough reserves in North America to expand exports. A special permit is required from the US government to send LNG to countries that don’t have a free trade agreement with Washington.

According to the American Chemistry Council, potential US chemical industry investment linked to plentiful and affordable natural gas from shale formations has topped $100 billion.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that oil demand in 2014 would be greater than last year based on stronger economic growth. Global production of crude oil is expected to increase in 2014 and 2015, with the US leading the way. At the same time, OPEC output is expected to decrease.

The southern leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, known as the Gulf Coast Project, is expected to begin deliveries. This section runs from Cushing, Oklahoma to the US Gulf Coast, and does not require White House approval, unlike the northern Keystone XL which crosses the Canadian-US border.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Americans support the idea of constructing the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the US by a nearly three to one margin, with 65% saying that it should be approved. The poll also indicated that the public thinks that the project will create a significant number of jobs.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. will pay $3.125 billion in cash in order to buy conventional oil and gas assets in Western Canada.

Canadian oil exports to the US increased 10% in 2013, averaging more than 2.5 million barrels per day.

The chief executive of the International Energy Agency, Maria van den Hoeven, said in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor that US oil and natural gas production will plateau, and then go down from 2025 onward.

The Economy

Wall Street

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal government incurred a budget deficit of $184 billion for the first four months of fiscal year 2014, $107 billion less than the shortfall reported for the same period a year ago. If lawmakers pass no additional legislation affecting spending/revenues, the federal government will end fiscal year 2014 with a deficit of $514 billion compared with a $680 billion deficit in fiscal year 2013. The US Treasury Department reported that on March 5, 2014 the federal debt was $17.448 trillion. The US population is approximately 317 million, so each citizen’s share of the debt is roughly $55,000. The national debt has increased an average of $2.65 billion per day since September 30, 2012.

The $3.9 trillion federal budget released on March 4 would, according to some analysts, exceed the ceiling agreed to in December of last year with $56 billion in new stimulus spending.

The CBO recently concluded that the Affordable Care Act would result in the net loss of the equivalent of 2.5 million full time workers. This was followed by a CBO report stating that the higher minimum wage proposed by the administration would cost the economy as many as one million jobs.

The IMF modified its growth forecast for the world economy to 3.7% in 2014 and 3.9% in 2015, based on anticipated growth in advanced economies.

Personal income in January increased $43.9 billion or 0.3% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In December, personal income decreased less than 0.1 % or $5.5 billion.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis second estimate showed an increase in Gross Domestic Product of 2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013, that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter. This was revised from an earlier figure of 3.2%. It was noted that all the growth came from private spending and investment. In the third quarter real GDP increased 4.1%, in the second quarter, real GDP increased 2.5% and first quarter data showed an increase of 1.1%.

Current-dollar GDP, the market value of the nation’s output of goods and services, increased 4.0% or $167.8 billion in the fourth quarter to a level of $17,080.7 billion. In the third quarter current dollar GDP increased 6.2% or $251.9 billion to a level of $16,912.9 billion.

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index increased 0.3% in January to 99.5 (2004 = 100) following no change in December, and a 0.9% increase in November.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index which had increased in January fell in February. The index now stands at 78.1 (1985 = 100), down from 79.4 in January.80.7 (1985 = 100) up from 77.5 in December.

The Institute for Supply Management’s February Manufacturing Index registered 53.2%, an increase of 1.9% from January’s reading of 51.3%, which was a decrease of 5.2% from December’s seasonally adjusted reading of 56.5%. The Non-Manufacturing Report for February was 54.6%,  a decrease of 1.7% from January’s 56.3%, but reflecting growth at a slower rate.

In January, retail and food services sales adjusted for seasonal variations were $427.8 billion, a decrease of 0.4% from December but 2.6% above January 2013. Total sales for the twelve months ending January 2014 were up 3.4% from a year earlier.

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 937,000, which was 5.4% below the revised December rate 991,000, but is 2.4% above the January 2013 figure of 915,000. Single family authorizations in January were at a rate of 602,000, which was 1.3% below the revised December figure of 610,000.

Sales of new single family houses in January were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 468,000. This was 9.6% above the revised December rate of 427,000 and is 2.2% higher than the January 2013 number of 458,000.

The National Association of Realtors reported that total sales of existing homes fell 5.1% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million from a December rate of 4.87 million and were also 5.1% below the January 2013 rate of 4.87 million. The national median existing home price for January was up 10.7% from January 2013. Distressed homes, foreclosures and short sales, accounted for 15% of January sales, compared with 14% in December and 24% in January 2013.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in January decreased $2.2 billion or 1.0% to $225.0 billion. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a December decrease of 5.3%.

January unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods increased $0.6 billion or 0.1% to $1061.1 billion. This number has increased for eleven of the last twelve months.

Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers increased 0.1% in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over the last twelve months the all items index increased 1.6% before seasonal adjustments. Food index rose 0.1% and has not posted a monthly increase larger than 0.1% since June 2013.  The electricity index posted its largest increase since March, 2010; gas and fuel oil rose as well whereas the gasoline index decreased.

The seasonally adjusted Producer Price Index for finished goods increased 0.2% in January, following a 0.1% increase in December and no change in November. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods increased 1.2% for the twelve months ended in January 2014.

Interest rate: Prime at 3.25%, unchanged since 12/16/08.

Inflation: Inflation rate for the twelve months ended in January 2014 reported at 1.6%; December was reported at 1.5%, November at 1.3%. A rate of 1.8% for 2014 is foreseen by some economists. An average rate of 2.1% was reported for 2012.

Industrial production decreased 0.3% in January, after having risen 0.3% in December, which was a fifth consecutive monthly increase. For the fourth quarter of 2013, it increased at an annual rate of 6.8%. Total industrial production in January was 2.9% above the rate of a year earlier. Capacity utilization rate for total industry decreased 1.6% to 78.5%, a rate 1.6 % below its 1972 – 2013 average.

Unemployment: The February unemployment rate was little changed at 6.7% from the January rate of 6.6% as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed persons was reported at 10.5 million. The long-term unemployed, i.e., jobless for 27 weeks and over was reported at 3.8 million in February, an increase of 203,000. Those individuals accounted for 37% of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 901,000 in the past twelve months. In December, North Dakota continued to lead the nation with the lowest state unemployment rate of 2.7%; Rhode Island and Nevada were highest at 9.3% and 9.0% respectively.

The US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis through the Department of Commerce announced on March 7 that total January exports of $192.5 billion and imports of $231.6 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $39.1 billion, up from the revised December figure of $39.0 billion.

Crude Oil: WTI trading at ~$103/bbl, an increase of ~ $10 from a year earlier.

Extremely cold weather continued to drive up natural gas pricing through February and into early March. Henry Hub spot price rose to $7.90/MMBTU on March 4, and then settled back down to $6.41/MMBTU.  April contracts were trading at $4.52. Working natural gas in storage at the end of February decreased and was 43.2 % lower than last year at that time, and 38.8% lower than the five year average.

The US dollar trading at 102.4 Japanese yen; $Canadian 1.10; $1.37 = euro; The British pound sterling = $1.67.

Current US gold price quoted at $1338.00/ounce. The record price of $1920/ounce was recorded in September, 2011.

Chemical Markets Update


ACCThe American Chemistry Council

The ACC is conducting a webinar on March 6, 2014 at 11 AM Eastern time regarding the topic of the DINP to the California “Propisition 65” list of chemicals “known to the State to cause cancer.” This listing passed despite the weight of scientific evidence to the contrary.  The listing occurred on December 20, 2013 and will take effect on December 20, 2014.

Those of you who wish to know more about the impact of this listing, and estimating exposure to DINP in consumer products, may wish to participate in the webinar.  Registration is required, accessed by the link below.  Once you go to the link, scroll down to the second entry to register.

The webinar agenda is as follows:

Prop 65 and High Phthalates

Thursday, March 6, at 11:00 AM EST (New York)
Presented by the American Chemistry Council

In December 2013, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added the phthalate DINP to California’s Proposition 65 list as “known to the State to cause cancer” despite the weight of scientific evidence indicating that DINP should not be listed on Prop 65. To support the DINP value chain, the American Chemistry Council High Phthalates Panel plans to develop a resource to assist in estimating potential exposures to DINP from vinyl consumer products.
As part of this webinar, we will provide an example of how to estimate exposures to the high phthalate DIDP, using an existing tool developed by the High Phthalates Panel. Currently, there are almost 900 substances on the Prop 65 list, including food ingredients and common household products, naturally occurring substances, ethyl alcohol in alcoholic beverages, aspirin and many prescription drugs. Prop 65 requires anyone doing business in California to label a product but only if human exposure to a listed substance in the product is expected to be at a level above the established “safe harbor” level for that substance.


 Quote of the Month:

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.  We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.




Schedule a Meeting with The Chemical Company!

Join us at The American Fuel and Petrochemicals, the world’s largest and most prestigious conference representing the petrochemical industry.

March 30 – San Antonio, TX

Schedule a Meeting





Product News

Adipic Acid: 25 Kg., 500 Kg. and 1,000 Kg. Bags (In Stock and Available Now!)

Tetrabromo Phthalic Anhydride (TBPA):1,000 Kg bags in stock and available now!

NatureFlexx 509: Phthalate Free General Purpose Plasticizer.  Available in Totes (2200 lbs.) and Drums.  (Totes in stock and immediately avail.)

Malic Acid:25 Kg. Bags in Stock and Available Now!

Maleic Anhydride:25 Kg. bags of USA produced briquettes available soon!

Bio- Succinic Acid:2,000 lb. supersacks and 25 Kg. Bags Available Now!

Vestinol 9 DINP: TCC offers bulk trucks and split loads (w/ eso or dop) of DINP to North America.

GPO DiOctyl Terephthalate (DOTP): TCC offers bulk trucks of GPO DOTP to North America.  Product is in stock and available now.

Ammonium Bromide: 25 Kg. Bags in Stock and Immediately Available



New & Updated Technical Information

Benzoic Acid

ChemFlexx 206 Plasticizer for Outdoor Applications


Phthalic Anhydride

Succinic Acid




Critical Raw Materials Markets

Check the real-time commodities tracker at for up to the minute info.

Raw Materials Legend - The Chemical Company Benzene:   U.S. benzene contracts for March settled down $.14/ gallon to US$4.90/ gallon from US$5.09/ gallon in February.  February spot prices averaged $4.98- $4.99/ gallon. 

n-Butane:  Normal Butane prices are trading in the high US$1.20’s and low $1.30’s per gallon.  Pricing has trended lower recently and maintained its price below January’s price average of US$1.49 per gallon.  

Ethylene:   U.S. Contract Price for February has not yet settled but are expected to roll.  January settled at US$.5025/ lb.  This is a $.02/ lb. increase from December. 

Natural Gas: NYMEX NG pricing has steadily moved higher throughout February.  Current NYMEX pricing is US$4.60/ mmbtu. UP

Oil: WTI crude has moderated higher to US$103+/- per barrel.  UP

Orthoxylene: February contracts settled down US$.015/ lb. to US$.585/ lb.  March has not yet settled.  

Propylene: February contract pricing settled at $.735/ lb. for Polymer Grade and $.72/ lb. for Chemical Grade.  March contracts have been nominated by at least one producer to decrease by $.01/ lb.  



Chemicals Markets

Adipic Acid:

Adipic Acid pricing has steadily increased following strong benzene pricing.  Supply is balanced due to recent capacity restrictions in the EU and a lack of consistent production in China.  TCC has Adipic Acid in stock and immediately available in 1,000 Kg. Sacks, 500 Kg. Sacks and 25 Kg. bags.   

For more information please contact Robb Roach at



March pricing in Tampa increased US$45/ ton to US$460/ton.  UP


Antimony Trioxide:

Demand for antimony trioxide remains weak.  Current offers are in the low to mid $4.00/ lb. range for full truckloads.  Buyers continue to keep inventories to a minimum and use alternate chemistries where possible.  Small bags and sacks are immediately available.  

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca


Citric Acid:

Citric Acid pricing remains steady with overall good demand.  The Chemical Company has both 25 Kg. bags and 1,000 Kg. bags in stock and immediately available.  



One major Chinese producer is shut down with production issues and is expected to be down until the end of March.  This will likely cause prices to trend up slightly in the near future.  The Chemical Company has both 25 Kg. bags and 1,000 Kg. sacks in stock and immediately available.     

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca


Epoxidized Soybean Oil:

Soybean oil prices are trending higher (CBOT up 5% in the last week) and expected to continue.  Check for real time soybean oil pricing on our commodities ticker.  Epoxidized Soybean Oil Supply is healthy with new players pushing prices lower.  ESO Pricing has stabilized for the moment due to South American supply restrictions.  TCC offers bulk, split trucks, drums and totes of epoxidized soy bean oil.   

For more information please contact Tom Guadagno at


Fumaric Acid:

Fumaric Acid Pricing is stable but long lead times are noted.  Due to much lower butane values North American producers are enjoying a low cost production position.   Order early for rateable supply.   

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca


Glycol (Mono, Di and Tri):

Ethylene:   U.S. Contract Price for February increased $.02/lb. to $.5025/ lb.  March is expected at a roll over from February.  

MEG: Contract pricing rolls for March.  Spot prices are in the low $.40’s/ lb. fob Gulf .

DEG: U.S. producers announced a $.02-$.03/lb. increase for March.  Spot prices are in the high $.40’s per lb. fob Gulf.  UP

TEG: Demand is weak despite continued cold weather.     Prices have retreated into the $.90’s per lb. on lack of demand.

For more information please contact Robb Roach at


Isophthalic Acid:

Supply of PIA is limited with a recent mechanical failure at Flint Hills forcing them to declare force majeure.  This FM could last 6-8 weeks!  Import product is offered at a major premium with long lead times.  UP UP

For more information please contact Robb Roach at


Maleic Anhydride:

Supply is tight in North America due to at least one producer outage.  Molten Prices have remained stable despite a sizeable drop in n-butane values.  Solid Maleic prices are stable with limited availability until anticipated new US production comes on line.  TCC offers bulk Molten Maleic Anhydride and  25 Kg. bags of Maleic Anhydride pastilles.   

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca



Melamine supply has improved on steady operating rates but pricing remains level.  TCC has Melamine in stock and available.  

For more information please contact Javier Fernandez 


Malic Acid:

Malic Acid Pricing has stabilized but there are significant lead times for both domestic and imported material.  Low butane costs have made North American producers the most competitive in the world.   The Chemical Company has Malic Acid in stock and available.

For more information please contact AJ Petrarca



The Methanex Non-Discounted Reference Price for March will remain unchanged at US$1.90/ gallon.  Spot pricing is currently approx. US$1.67- $1.68/ gal. 

For more information please contact Robb Roach at


Methanol is seeing increased demand world –wide

World-wide operating issues are keeping supply snug and prices firm

Heavy demand for Winter season applications beginning to wane

Methanol expected to remain snug for the coming months as inventories recover

Availability of tank trucks remains an issue


Nitric Acid:

Nitric Acid pricing is stable and availability is good.   Ammonia pricing increased for March.  

For more information please contact Robb Roach at


Phenolic Resins:

Phenol pricing has shifted only moderately lower this month due to slightly lower benzene values.  Formaldehyde pricing remains under pressure from higher methanol pricing.  

For more information please contact John Santini at


Phthalic Anhydride:

Phthalic Anhydride pricing will decrease by $.015/ lb. in March in line with the orthoxylene price decrease.  

For more Information please contact Javier Fernandez at


Plasticizers and Plasticizer Alcohols:

Plasticizer demand in North America is improving with seasonal demand starting to materialize.  Pricing is extremely competitive with continued Asian import pressure.  

Plasticizer alcohol demand has improved in North America and prices have firmed.  But oxo alcohols are long in Asia and the EU.  More new oxo capacity is coming on stream in China for Q2 adding more alcohol to an already over supplied market. 

For more information please contact Forest Goodman at


TCC Plasticizers available:

For more details please visit


Non (ortho)- Phthalate:

ChemFlexx Dibenzoate Esters

ChemFlexx Di-2-ethylhexyl Succinate (DOSX)

ChemFlexx NP 500” Non- Phthalate Replacement for General Purpose Plasticizers

ChemFlexx NP 600” Non- Phthalate Replacement for DIDP

“NatureFlexx 509” Phthalate Free General Purpose (ATBC)

Epoxidized Soybean Oil

ChemFlexx TOTM (Tri-2-ethylhexyl Trimellitate)

ChemFlexx DOA (Di-2-ethylhexyl Adipate)

ChemFlexx 8 10 Trimellitate

ChemFlexx DOTP (Di-2-ethylhexyl Terephthalate)

Oxsoft 3G8 (Triethylenglycol-di-(2-ethylhexanoate))

Oxsoft DUO 1

Oxsoft DUO 2



Vestinol 9 DiIsononyl Phthalate (DINP)

“ChemFlexx 206” Functional Linear Phthalate Replacement

“ChemFlexx 208” Low Temp Functional Linear Phthalate Replacement

ChemFlexx DOP (Di-2-ethylhexyl Phthalate)

ChemFlexx DUP (DiUndecyl Phthalate)

DMP (DiMethyl Phthalate)

Brominated DOP

ChemFlexx 9 11 Phthalate

ChemFlexx L9 Phthalate


Styrene monomer:

Styrene pricing decreased slightly for March in line with lower benzene values (down $.15/ gallon).   NA demand remains slow.  

For more information please contact Robb Roach at



Current granular barge pricing of Urea is US$420 – $430/ ton and steady to down in the coming weeks.  Prills are reported at $390- $400/ ton fob Gulf.   Prices are up $40-$50/ ton in the last month.  Forward prices appear stable to lower.  UP

For more information please contact Robb Roach at



We appreciate your taking the time to review this newsletter. For more information on these or any of the products and services provided by TCC or contributions regarding our readers’ company/industry activities, please send them to Robb Roach at

The Chemical Company and ICIS

Global Bonds in Chemistry - The Chemical Company
See The Chemical Company this week in ICIS: Trusted market intelligence for the global chemical, energy and fertilizer industries.

“We build safety and dependability
into your supply chain.”

The Chemical Company enables our producing partners to utilize existing resources and relationships. This will grow your market presence more efficiently and provide a more effective presence and greater reach in a global community. We deliver better solutions based on customer needs and provide valued products and services as we have for over 25 years. The Chemical Company offers much more than competitive pricing.

Chemical Industry News June

Chemical Industry News

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) US Chemical Production Index declined by 0.1% in April 2013 following a downwardly revised 0.5 % increase in March. Compared to April 2012, chemical production rose in all regions by 0.5% following March’s 0.3% year to year increase. Comparing the first four months of 2013 to those of 2012, total chemical production rose 0.6% nationally.

The ACC’s Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) rose by 0.1% in May, following a revised 0.4% decrease in April. The year over year monthly moving average showed an increase of 3.1% compared with May 2012.

Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, a long-term proponent of reforms for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) passed away on June 3. He was credited for his leadership in establishing bipartisan approach to TSCA reform.

The EPA recently proposed two new rules regarding the use of formaldehyde in composite wood products. A response from the Formaldehyde Panel of the ACC noted that while regulatory goals are consistent with safe use, formaldehyde is a necessary ingredient in thousands of essential materials.

President Obama plans to reveal a package of separate actions in July focused on curbing US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This appears to be an alternative to the proposed Keystone XL project, a $5.3 billion pipeline that would carry tar-sands oil from Canada to US refineries. It’s anticipated that the package will include final rules from the EPA limiting GHG emissions from new power plants. The State Department continues to assess the impacts of the pipeline; a final review is expected in weeks.

The ACC presented its Responsible Care Company of the Year award to Eastman Chemical Company, Solvay America, Inc., and Niacet Corporation in recognition of superior environmental, health, safety, and security performance.

Eastman Chemical is investing $1.6 billion in expansion of its Kingsport, TN facility which is expected to create an additional 300 jobs.

Linde North America plans a $200 million expansion at its La Porte, TX operation with start-up expected in the first quarter of 2015.

NOVA Chemicals is building a one billion pound per year linear low density polyethylene plant in Joffre, Alberta Canada in order to take advantage of low cost natural gas feed stock. Cost is estimated at $1 billion with start-up in late 2015.

BASF is considering investing $13 billion in the Asia-Pacific region, to include increased R&D activities.

Chevron Phillips Chemical is reported set to increase its ethylene manufacturing capacity at its Sweeny, TX facility. Annual output increase is estimated at 200 million pounds. CPChem is also investing in a $5 billion Gulf Coast project.

Kuwait’s state-owned Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC) announced that it had reached a final settlement of $2.2 billion with Dow Chemical Co. as compensation for PIC pulling out of a petrochemicals joint venture. Dow said on its website that payment had been received.

Fluor Corp. has been awarded contracts for the engineering and construction of several new Dow Chemical Company facilities in Freeport, TX. This is part of Dow’s planned $4.0 billion Freeport expansion.
Total is considering the construction of an ethane cracker in Texas that would be connected with an existing cracker at Port Arthur co-owned with BASF.

Mitsui and Co. announced on May 15 that it will establish a joint venture with Celanese Corp. to manufacture methanol at the Celanese plant in Clear Lake, TX. Plant capacity is estimated at 1.3 million tons/year. Mitsui’s share of the production will be sold mainly in the US, while Celanese will use the material in the production of methanol derivatives.

Methanex CEO John Floren recently said that his company expects methanol demand to increase at an annual rate of 7.6% through 2016 or four million tons a year and that his company’s goal is to add 3 million tons of new capacity.

US chlor-alkali operating rate for April 2013 was reported at 87% of capacity, a drop of 4% from a month earlier. However, European operating rates dropped to 67.8% during the same period.

On May 10, ExxonMobil stated that ethylene production at its new one million MT/year cracker in Singapore was expected in a few weeks.

Chinese industrial output growth for May was 9.2% above May 2012. From 1990 to 2013 China’s industrial production growth averaged 13.3%.

Doubts are beginning to grow about whether China can pass the US to become the world’s largest economy in this century. A number of large ambitious projects have been delayed and growth appears to be slowing.

European bisphenol A (BPA) makers and users have shown concern over legislation that could restrict the use of BPA in European food packaging. The French government has banned BPA from food contact starting in 2015. There is concern that other countries will follow suit. The situation is similar to the ongoing issue in the US.

Unemployment across the seventeen European Union countries that use the euro hit a high of 12.2% in April, up from 12.1% in March. Among the member states, the lowest rates were Austria at 4.9%, Germany at 5.4% and Luxembourg at 5.6%. The highest were Greece, Spain, and Portugal at 27%, 26.8%, and 17.8 respectively.

For the first quarter, the eurozone economy shrank for a record sixth calendar quarter. This is the longest recession since records began in 1995.

The EU plans to impose punitive duties on imports of biodiesel; 7 – 11% for fuel from Argentina and 0 – 10% from Indonesia. The EU says that these countries are selling the product at unfairly low prices.

Russia’s SIBUR is expected to make a final decision whether to proceed with its planned 1.5 million MT/year ethylene cracker by the end of this year.

The Dow Chemical Company and Union Pacific said on June 7 that they have published a new report on a cooperative agreement that began in 2007 to improve rail safety and security. The project is a public-private partnership involving Dow, Union Pacific, Union Tank Car Co., the Federal Railroad Administration, Transport Canada, and the US Transportation Security Administration. The focus was to develop the next generation railroad tank car; there are new cars coming into service now.

Carload rail volume was up 2% annually in May on major US railroads. Intermodal volume was up 3.0% compared with the same period last year. Petroleum products shipments were up 41.8%.

The American Trucking Association reported that seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage decreased 0.2% in April after increasing an adjusted 0.9% in March.

Shale oil and gas-related:

According to a report from the Energy Information Administration, technically recoverable oil and natural gas reserves in the US have increased by 35% compared with figures from 2011.

Affordable and abundant US natural gas supplies resulted in 97 announced chemicals and plastics projects totaling $71.7 billion in potential new investment, according to a recent ACC report. By 2020 these projects could lead to the creation of 46,000 chemical industry jobs, plus 264,000 jobs in supplier industries, and another 226,000 jobs in communities where workers spend their wages.

As a result of the shale gas boom, North Dakota showed a GDP increase of 13.4% in 2012.
The CEO of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, Marty Durbin, said that the continued expansion of natural gas in the market doesn’t require a major new policy on climate change as reductions in emissions have come about without regulation.

According to a study by the Empire Center for New York State Policy, if New York emulated Pennsylvania by using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to gain access to vast amounts of shale gas, it would add $8 billion in income for upstate New Yorkers.

The public comment period for the Interior Department’s proposed fracking rules issued on May 16 will be extended for sixty days, it was announced on June 6. A spokesman from the American Petroleum Institute said that such an extension will allow for study of the new rules and to compare them with existing individual state policies. There are industry concerns that the new rule could slow production as well as damage state and local economies.

The Economy

The Congressional Budget Office reported that the federal government incurred a budget deficit of $627 billion from October 2012 through May 2013 (the first eight months of fiscal 2013), almost $220 billion less than the shortfall recorded for the same period last year. The CBO’s updated estimates indicate a fiscal year deficit of $642 billion. The US Treasury Department reported that on June 13, 2013 the federal debt was $16.74 trillion. The national debt has increased an average of $3.81 billion per day since September 2007.
April personal income decreased by $5.6 billion, or less than 0.1% compared to March. Consumer spending decreased 0.2% in April. In March, personal income increased $36.2 billion or 0.3%.

The US government debt held by foreign entities is in excess of $5.7 trillion, with China holding $1.25 trillion of it, or approximately 20% of all the debt owned by foreign entities. In January 2009 the US government owed $3.07 trillion to foreign entities. China remains the top creditor. Japan is a close second, holding $1.1 billion.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised estimate of the first quarter 2013 Gross Domestic Product showed an increase of 2.4%, that is from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013. Revised fourth quarter real GDP increased 0.4%. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.1%. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3%. Current-dollar GDP, the market value of the nation’s output of goods and services, increased at a rate of 3.7% or $146.1 billion in the first quarter of 2013 to a level of $16,010 billion. In the fourth quarter current dollar GDP increased 1.3% or $53.1 billion.

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index increased 0.6% in April to 95.0 (2002=100) following a 0.2% increase in March and an increase of 0.4% in February.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index which had improved in April increased again in May. It stands at 76.2 (1985=100) up from an adjusted 69.0 in April.

The Institute for Supply Management’s May Manufacturing Index registered 49.0%, a decrease of 1.7% from April’s number of 50.7%, indicating contraction in manufacturing for the first time since November 2012 and only the second time since July 2009. The Non-Manufacturing Report for May was 53.7%, or 0.6% higher than the 53.1% reported for April, reflecting growth for 46 consecutive months.

In May, retail and food services sales adjusted for seasonal variations were $421.1 billion, an increase of 0.6% from April and 4.3% above May 2012. March through May 2013 sales were up 3.7% from the same period a year ago.

Privately owned housing starts in April of 853,000 were 16.5% below the revised March estimate of 1,021,000 but were 13.1% above the April 2012 rate of 754,000. Single family housing starts in April were at a rate of 610,000 or 2.1% below the revised March figure of 623,000. New single home sales in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000. This was 2.3% above the revised March rate of 444,000 and 29.0% above the April 2012 estimate of 352,000.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes rose in April to the highest level in close to 3½ years. Existing home sales increased 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million units. Realty Trac reported that foreclosure sales fell 22% in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

A Census Bureau report stated that the share of Americans who own their homes was 65% in the first quarter, down from 65.4% a year earlier and the lowest level since the third quarter of 1995. Investors are buying single family homes and renting them out to capitalize on demand from families unable to qualify for mortgages.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in April increased $7.2 billion or 3.3% to $222.6 billion. This increase, up two out of the last three months, followed a 5.9% decrease in March.
April unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods increased $2.7 billion or 0.3 % to $996.2 billion. This followed a decrease of 0.5% in March.

Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers decreased 0.4 % in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over the last twelve months the all items index increased 1.1 % before seasonal adjustments. Food index, unchanged in March, rose 0.2% in April. A sharp decrease in the gasoline index was the primary cause for the decrease in the all items index.

The Producer Price Index for all finished goods increased 0.5 % in May, seasonally adjusted, following decreases of 0.7% in April and 0.6% in March. On an unadjusted basis prices for finished goods increased 1.7 % for the twelve months ended in May 2013.

Interest rate: Prime at 3.25%, unchanged since 12/16/08.

Inflation: Inflation rate in April reported at 1.1%. The March rate was 1.5%, February rate was 2.0%, and January rate was 1.6%. The average rate of 2.1% was reported for 2012. It is expected to rise slightly in 2013 to approximately 2.3%.

Industrial production was unchanged in May, having decreased 0.4% in April and increased 0.4% in March after having increased 1.1% in February. For the first quarter as a whole, output increased at an annual rate of 5.0%, the largest gain since the first quarter of 2012. At 98.7% of its 2007 average, total industrial production in May was 1.6% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization rate for total industry decreased to 77.6%, a rate 0.2% below the level of a year earlier, and 2.6% below its 1972 – 2012 average.

Unemployment: The May 2013 rate was little changed at 7.6%, and has shown little movement since September 2012. The number of unemployed persons was reported at 11.8 million, basically unchanged. The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the long-term unemployed, i.e., jobless for 27 weeks and over was essentially unchanged at 4.4 million in May. Those individuals accounted for 37.3% of the unemployed. Over the past twelve months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by one million. North Dakota continued to lead the nation with the lowest state unemployment rate in March of 3.3%; Nevada was reported highest at 9.6%, Illinois, Mississippi, and California close behind.

The goods and services deficit increased to $40.3 billion in April, from a revised March number of $37.1 billion January as imports increased more than exports.

Crude Oil: Present WTI spot price ~$98/bbl, compared to ~$100+/bbl a year earlier. OPEC outlook continues to show a slight reduction in demand in 2013.

Natural Gas: Henry Hub spot price closed on June 12 at $3.74/MMBTU. July 2013 contract reported at $3.77/MMBTU. Working natural gas in storage is lower than last year and the five year average.
The US dollar trading at 94.1 Japanese yen; $1.32 = euro. The British pound sterling = $1.57. The Canadian dollar trading at US$1.01.

Current US gold price: Quoted at $1381.40/ounce, down from $1463.60/ounce approximately one month earlier. The record price of $1920/ounce was recorded in September, 2011.

Succinic Acid Supplier

Leaders in Succinic Acid Supply

The Chemical Company is the leading Succinic Acid supplier in the United States. Yes, we still offer one-on-one personal service every time, all the time. The Chemical Company is one of the most respected global chemical suppliers and chemical distributors because we focus on anticipating the needs of the marketplace. Our response network never closes. We stock our inventory in a network of warehouses throughout the world. We have procurement offices in NAFTA, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. When you call The Chemical Company, you get one-on-one service from a real person, the procurer. Middlemen are never involved. We are recognized worldwide for our advanced, accurate solutions.

Succinic Acid from The Chemical Company

Succinic acid from The Chemical Company is a dicarboxylic acid comprised of four carbon atoms. This four carbon dicarboxylic acid has uses in a number of industries including polymers (clothing fibres), food, surfactants and detergents, flavors and fragrances and as a starting material for any number of chemicals including adipic acid, N-methyl pyrrolidinone, 2-pyrrolidinone, succinate salts, 1,4-butanediol, maleic anhydride, tetrahydrofuran and gamma-butyrolactone, which are used in the pharmaceutical industry. Succinic acid has many uses in the pharma industry – too many to mention, but some examples are as a starting material for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), as an additive in formulation, succinic acid monoethyl ester has been used as an insulinotropic agent, and the compound has also been used as a cross linker in drug control release polymers.

Succinic Acid Uses

The estimated 2010 worldwide use of succinic acid is around 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes per year and this is on the increase by around 10 per cent a year. It occurs naturally in plant and animal tissues. Succinic acid plays a significant role in intermediary metabolism (Krebs cycle) in the body. The Krebs cycle (also known as citric acid cycle) is a sequence process of enzymatic reaction in which a two-carbon acetyl unit is oxidized to carbon dioxide and water to provide energy in the form of high-energy phosphate bonds.

Succinic Acid Properties

Succinic acid is a colorless crystalline solid with a melting point of 185-187° C. It is soluble in water, slightly dissolves in ethanol, ether, acetone and glycerine. It does not dissolve in benzene, carbon sulfide, carbon tetrachloride or oil ether.
Carboxylic acids can yield acyl halides, anhydrides, esters, amides, and nitriles for applications in the drug, agriculture, food products, and other industries.

Succinic Acid Shipping Info

Succinic acid from The Chemical Company is available in 25kg bags, 1 met ton supersacks, and in bulk throughout the continental United States. Special packaging is available upon request.

The Chemical Company 44 Southwest Ave. Jamestown, RI 02835 (401) 360-2800