Saturday, March 31, 2018

Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert – March 2018


The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and metal shortages reported on the Internet.  The sources of the information reported here are primarily news releases issued on the Internet.  The issue period of the news releases is March 2018.

Section I below lists those chemicals and metals that were on the previous month’s Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply.  Click here to read the February 2018 Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and metals (not on the February alert).  Also provided is some explanation for the shortage and geographical information.  This blog attempts to list only actual shortage situations – those shortages that are being experienced during the period covered by the news releases.  Chemicals and metals identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I.  

Carbon black: India; supply not keeping up with demand
     
Section II.   Shortages Reported in March not found on the Previous Month’s List

Crude indium:  China; production not keeping up with demand
Helium:  United States; supply not keeping up with demand
Hydrogen peroxide:  Pakistan; production not keeping up with demand
River sand:  India; supply not keeping up with demand

Reasons for Section II shortages can be broadly categorized as: 

1.  Mining not keeping up with demand: none
2.  Production not keeping up with demand: crude indium; hydrogen peroxide
3.  Government regulations: none
4.  Sources no longer available: none
5.  Insufficient imports:  none
6.  Supply not keeping up with demand:  helium; river sand





Friday, March 30, 2018

Benchmarking Against Companies Judged to have good Sustainability Management – Part 2


In the previous blog, I provided the results of what I consider to be a content (textual) analysis of the latest annual reports of 12 chemical companies.  These 12 companies are on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSIs) based on an evaluation of their economic, environmental, and social performance.

My assumptions in this content analysis is that certain words used in the annual reports would be indicative of the interest of the company in what those words represent – namely a company’s propensity for sustainability practices.  The words used in the analysis are:


risk
water
code of conduct
waste
customer
diversity
brand
human rights
social
training
greenhouse
occupational
energy


(In the previous blog, I state how I did the content analysis.)

As a follow-up to the previous blog, I selected 10 chemical companies not on the DJSIs to do the same content analysis on those 10 companies that I did on the 12 companies listed in the previous blog.  These 10 companies are:


Arkema
Johnson Matthey
Borealis
Mitsui
Convestro
PPG
Eastman
Sasol
Huntsman
Toray


I was interested in doing this to determine if the content analysis might indicate a higher propensity for sustainability practices for the companies on the DJSIs compared to companies not on the DJSIs. 

For the 12 companies on the DJSIs, words in the above table appear an average 63 times in the annual reports.   For the 10 companies not on DJSIs, the words appear an average 43 times, 33% less often.   I think this 33% is significant – it suggests that based on annual reports, the 12 companies have a higher propensity for sustainability practices than the 10 companies.

While analyzing the annual reports for the 12 chemical companies listed in the previous blog and the 10 companies listed in this blog, the annual reports for the European chemical companies impressed me more than the reports for the American companies with respect to an emphasis on sustainability.  

So, I separately compared the word averages of the 13 European reports to the 4 American reports and found that words used to reflect sustainability practices appear an average of 64 times in the European reports versus 13 times in the American reports.

I believe these are significant differences (64 versus 13) and reflect social and institutional differences between Europe and America with respect to issues of sustainability.



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Benchmarking Against Chemical Companies Judged to have good Sustainability Management


The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSIs) include public companies that are evaluated to have good sustainability performance (management).  A company’s economic, environmental and social performance is evaluated.  You can read more about the DJSIs by clicking here.   Details on what is evaluated, with respect to sustainability, and how that evaluation is conducted can be read by clicking here.  From this evaluation, companies are selected to be placed on a DJSI.  You can read more about the actual indices by clicking here.

The DJSIs include companies that are evaluated to have the best sustainability management (practices) within their industrial sector. Chemical companies that are found on the DJSIs include:


Akzo Nobel NV
Koninklijke DSM NV
BASF SE
LANXESS AG
Braskem SA
LG Chem Ltd
Clariant AG
Linde AG
DowDuPont Inc.
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
Ecolab Inc
Novozymes A/S
Evonik Industries AG
Praxair Inc
Givaudan SA
PTT Global Chemical PCL
Indorama Ventures PCL
Solvay SA


Of these 18 chemical companies, I chose 12 to go to their latest annual reports and to see if I could determine how a company’s annual report might be used to evaluate how that company is doing with respect to sustainability practices.  The 12 companies’ annual reports I analyzed are:


Air Liquide SA
Koninklijke DSM NV
Akzo Nobel NV
LANXESS AG
BASF SE
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
Clariant AG
Novozymes A/S
Evonik Industries AG
Praxair Inc
Indorama Ventures PCL
Solvay SA


What I settled on in using annual reports to determine a company’s propensity for sustainability practices is what I would call textual, or content, analysis.  My textual (content) analysis was conducted by searching the annual report (in PDF file format) using certain words, which I judge to be indicative of the interest of the company in what might be represented by the word.   (PDF files can be easily and quickly searched on a word, which gives the number of appearances of that word in the file.)  The number of times the word appears in the annual report, relative to other companies’ annual reports, I am thinking, represents the relative degree of interest that company might have in the sustainability practices represented by that word.

As indicated in the first paragraph above, economic, environmental, and social performance is used to evaluate sustainability performance (with respect to the DJSIs’ requirements).

For environmental sustainability performance, searching on how many times such words as greenhouse, energy, water, and waste appear in the annual report might represent the company’s interest in environmental sustainability.  For the 12 companies in the table above, I found the following averages for the appearance of these words in their annual reports:  greenhouse – 24; energy – 105; water – 77; and waste – 35.

Social considerations as they relate to sustainability include, it seems to me, a company’s emphasis on employees.  In this regard, I searched on the following words (with the average times the word appears):  code of conduct – 15; human rights – 17; training – 36; and occupational – 13.

Another aspect of social sustainability performance, I believe, is a company’s approach to diversity.  Searching on the word diversity found an average appearance of 21 for the companies.   The average number of women on the companies’ board of directors (or supervisory board) is 3.

The number of times the word social appears in an annual report could be an indication of the emphasis a company places on social (society or social welfare) sustainability practices.  The word social appears on average 43 times for the 12 companies.   (Broadly, good sustainability management would consider a company’s impact of society (community) welfare.)

And finally, for economic management (performance) related to sustainability, the following words were searched (with averages):  risk – 217; customer – 144; and brand – 14.  In addition, certain economic metrics would seem to me to be good indicators of promoting sustainability.  These include: revenues/employees – average for the 12 companies, $446,045 per employee; return on investment in an employee – 200% average; and return on equity – 15% (with equity being a proxy for how much is put back into a company, enhancing its sustainability).

The averages provided above might serve as good benchmark metrics in determining how a company is doing with respect to sustainability against companies judged to be doing well.







Thursday, March 1, 2018

Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert – February 2018


The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and metal shortages reported on the Internet.  The sources of the information reported here are primarily news releases issued on the Internet.  The issue period of the news releases is February 2018.

Section I below lists those chemicals and metals that were on the previous month’s Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply.
Click here to read the January 2018 Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and metals (not on the January alert).  Also provided is some explanation for the shortage and geographical information.  This blog attempts to list only actual shortage situations – those shortages that are being experienced during the period covered by the news releases.  Chemicals and metals identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I.  

Fracking Sand: Texas; supply not keeping up with demand
Vitamin A and E: global; production not keeping up with demand
      
Section II.   Shortages Reported in February not found on the Previous Month’s List

Carbon black: India; supply not keeping up with demand
Construction materials: United Kingdom; production not keeping up with demand
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): Europe; production not keeping up with demand
Semi-finished steel products: global; production not keeping up with demand
Thermoplastic polyurethanes: United States; production not keeping up with demand
Zinc: Canada; mining not keeping up with demand


Reasons for Section II shortages can be broadly categorized as: 

1.  Mining not keeping up with demand: zinc
2.  Production not keeping up with demand: construction materials; polyethylene terephthalate (PET); semi-finished steel products; thermoplastic polyurethanes
3.  Government regulations: none
4.  Sources no longer available: none
5.  Insufficient imports:  none
6.  Supply not keeping up with demand:  carbon black


Friday, February 23, 2018

Excess Ethane Predicted to Exceed Overseas Shipping Capacity


In an earlier blog post (entitled “Some Comments on the US Ethane Supply Status”; on January 24, 2018), I presented information that the US Energy Information Administration expects the US production of ethane to be approximately 1.7 million barrels per day (M b/d) by the end of 2018.   However, the ethane US domestic consumption is expected to be approximately 1.4 M b/d, leaving a 300,000 b/d ethane surplus.

In this current blog, I provide some information on shipping capacity available to transport (export) excess US ethane capacity to foreign markets.  I also do some analyses related to how much of the anticipated US 300,000 b/d ethane surplus these ships can handle in 2020.

In table 1 below are the names of current ships available for shipping ethane, their ethane capacities, and the ships’ owners (operators).  In table 2 are the ethane-transporting ships under construction (or planned) for near-term (2018-2019) commissioning, their capacities, and the ship owners (operators).   The information in the tables is based on Internet searching and may not represent completed listings.


table 1 ship name (operating)
ethane capacity (cubic meters)
ship owner (operator)
aurora
37,000
navigator holdings
eclipse
37,000
navigator holdings
nova
37,000
navigator holdings
prominence
37,000
navigator holdings
js ineos insight
27,500
ineos (evergas)
js ineos invention
27,500
ineos (evergas)
js ineos inspiration
27,500
ineos (evergas)
js ineos ingenuity
27,500
ineos (evergas)
js ineos intrepid
27,500
ineos (evergas)
js ineos innovation
27,500
ineos (evergas)
js ineos intuition
27,500
ineos (evergas)
js ineos independence
27,500
ineos (evergas)
gaschem beluga
38,000
hartman
gaschem orca
38,000
hartman
ethane crystal
87,187
reliance (mol mitsui osk)
ethane emerald
87,187
reliance (mol mitsui osk)
table 2 ship name (planned for 2018/2019 commission)
ethane capacity (cubic meters)
ship owner (operator)
to be named
87,187
reliance (mol mitsui osk)
to be named
87,187
reliance (mol mitsui osk)
to be named
87,187
reliance (mol mitsui osk)
to be named
87,187
reliance (mol mitsui osk)
to be named
95,000
hartman
to be named
38,000
hartman
to be named
32,000
evergas
to be named
32,000
evergas
to be named
32,000
evergas
to be named
32,000
evergas


If the ethane shipping capacities shown in tables 1 and 2 are available in 2020 and the ethane surplus in 2020 will be 300,000 b/d, how much of this 300,000 b/d excess US capacity can be shipped to overseas markets by the shipping capacity represented in tables 1 and 2?

300,000 b/d equates to approximately 17,400,000 cubic meters per year of ethane (300,000 b/d X 3 cubic meters/18.9 barrels X 365 days) (pressurized ethane).   So, how much ethane can the 26 ships identified in the tables transport to foreign markets in a year and how does this amount compare to 17,400,000 cubic meters?

Here are some assumptions used in answering these questions: 1) the ethane will be delivered either to ports in Europe or ports in India or China; 2) a round trip for a ship to a European port is 10,000 miles and takes 30 days; 3) a round trip for a ship going to an India or Chinese port is 20,000 miles and takes 60 days; 4) only the large capacity ships (greater than 80,000 cubic meters will be used for the Asian trade and the others for the European trade; and 5) the ships will be in continued 365-day use.

With these assumptions, each ship should be able to make 12 round trips to European ports (1 shipment per 30 days X 365 days) and each ship going to Asian ports should be able to make 6 round trips during the year (1 shipment per 60 days X 365 days).

With the ship capacities and assumptions given above, the total ethane that can be delivered (exported) to overseas markets in 2020 is approximately 11 million cubic meters as shown in the following table 3:


table 3 ship capacity (cubic meters)
number of annual trips with ethane on board
total potential ethane delivered in 2020 (cubic meters)
27,500
12
330,000
27,500
12
330,000
27,500
12
330,000
27,500
12
330,000
27,500
12
330,000
27,500
12
330,000
27,500
12
330,000
27,500
12
330,000
32,000
12
384,000
32,000
12
384,000
32,000
12
384,000
32,000
12
384,000
37,000
12
444,000
37,000
12
444,000
37,000
12
444,000
37,000
12
444,000
38,000
12
456,000
38,000
12
456,000
38,000
12
456,000
87,187
6
523,122
87,187
6
523,122
87,187
6
523,122
87,187
6
523,122
87,187
6
523,122
87,187
6
523,122
95,000
6
570,000

total
11,028,732


Assuming the assumptions and computations above are reasonably correct, a conclusion is that a large amount of the 2020 excess of ethane will not be able to be exported to overseas markets, e.g., 6.4 million cubic meters (17.4 million cubic meters less 11 cubic meters) due to lack of ship capacity.   And if so, US ethane supply should considerably exceed demand, putting downward pressure on ethane prices.