March 2021

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Editorial Comment: Petrochemicals: Changing technologies and configurations to satisfy future demand

For nearly a decade, capital investments in new petrochemical capacity have skyrocketed. This

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

For nearly a decade, capital investments in new petrochemical capacity have skyrocketed. This significant surge in capital investments (i.e., hundreds of billions of dollars) is in response to sharp increases in demand for plastics and chemicals, especially in developing nations. However, the global petrochemicals industry has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several industries were severely hit hard by demand declines (e.g., automotive), leading to a reduction in petrochemical products demand. This predicament has led to many asset owners delaying, deferring and/or abandoning capital-intensive petrochemical plants. Global GDP: Is a rebound afoot? Although the COVID-

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