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Comment Business & Economics

Outlook for 2006: Challenges Plus Chances

By

Nicholas P. Chopey

|

As the chemical process industries (CPI) enter 2006, executives, economists and other observers articulate a host of challenges, along with assorted bright spots and opportunities. All these were brought into sharp focus in New York in December, during the Chemical Industry Global Outlook 2006 conference presented by Chemical Week magazine.   Issues facing the CPI Complications are faced by individual chemical firms, such as being in maturing industries, experiencing migration of some customer industries, and facing more regional and global competition, noted Klaus Peter Löbbe, chairman and chief executive officer of BASF Corp. (Florham Park, N.J.) and member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF AG (Ludwigshafen, Germany). He also see three major challenges that North American producers face collectively: natural gas price and availability; continued environmental legislation and regulation; and security for plants, and for their products during transport. With those North American natural gas prices rising, pointed out Russell Heinen, group director for SRI Consulting (Houston), the region loses its traditional petrochemical-feedstock-cost advantage. With particular emphasis on the specialty chemicals business, Noveon…
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