February 1999

Columns

HP Insight: Déjà vu all over again

It's February; accordingly, many HPI consultants are preparing their forecasts for 1999 and the next few years. From reading the headlines, there are very few surprises, especially for petrochemicals...

Romanow, Stephany, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

It's February; accordingly, many HPI consultants are preparing their forecasts for 1999 and the next few years. From reading the headlines, there are very few surprises, especially for petrochemicals. The tough part of the HPI business cycle has arrived. At Chem Systems' Annual U.S. Chemical Conference, in Houston, Kenneth Stern, Managing Director, remarked that the U.S. chemical industry's present margins are nearly those experienced during 1992–93 (Fig. 1).1 Many HPI operators remember that this period was the lowest level of the decade. Consequently, cyclicality is just innate to the HPI. However, the chemical / petrochemical industry continues to demonstrate a resilient attitude to

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