In Industrial Info's recent Global Chemical Processing Spending Outlook webinar, Trey Hamblet, Industrial Info's vice president of research for the Chemical Processing Industry, discussed some of the key spending trends in the industry. Industrial Info is tracking more than 7,000 active Chemical Processing projects with an anticipated start date of 2017-18, worth a combined $545 billion. China and the U.S. remain hotspots of activity due to the size and volume of projects in the regions.

The Petrochemicals segment remains the largest category of planned spending in the industry, accounting for $297 billion in capital projects planned to begin construction in 2017 and 2018. "Most of the industry depends on petrochemicals as building blocks for the remaining portion of the industry," said Hamblet, explaining that this helped put the category in the leading position.

Ethylene and methanol dominate the Petrochemicals sector, accounting, respectively, for $66.3 billion and $64 billion in planned capital spending in 2017-18. "For ethylene, there are a good number of grassroot, world-scale units still being proposed. There's roughly 10 of those being proposed here in North America, and of those, we see five or so that have very good odds and the potential of becoming a reality," said Hamblet.

While the U.S. and Canada has $80.6 billion in capital spending proposed for 2017-18 (with petchem projects accounting for about 63% of this spend), only about 16% of these projects have a high probability of making it to construction during that period. Hamblet noted that constraints such as competing capacity, cost escalations, and oil price volatility could lead to project fallout in some cases.

East Asia, including China, represents a higher probability factor of projects moving forward, at 38%. Hamblet noted that plastics demand remained high in the region. Hamblet said, "We're continuing to see world-scale coal-to-olefins and methanol-to-olefins capacity projects being built there. Those projects have a high dollar value, and that certainly contributes to a high percentage of the overall spend moving forward." Hamblet noted that much of the methanol manufactured in the U.S. would be shipped to Asia for consumption.

Hamblet emphasized that China and the U.S. would remain leaders in Chemical Processing activity for some time: "For the most part, your big, world-scale capacity additions are expected amongst these two regions," he said.

To listen to this or other webinars, visit Industrial Info's webinar library. Industrial Info's next webinar will cover the outlook for U.S. labor supply and demand. The webinar will be held April 12, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. CDT (10:00 a.m. EDT). Make sure to RSVP today!

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