Investing in Downstream: Expanding fuels and petrochemicals production in the face of uncertain demand
Recent years have seen increased volatility in product demand, leading to undersupplied and oversupplied markets in rapid succession. Downstream players are faced with an increasing array of current market uncertainties as the impacts of the global pandemic ease and new volatility related to Russia’s invasion dominate trade, particularly in Europe. Looking forward, energy security is a rising theme juxtaposed to accelerating decarbonization and energy transition. In some regions, downstream companies see transition as an opportunity to develop low-carbon manufacturing hubs, leverage biomass and circular feedstocks, integrate fuels and petrochemicals processing and produce low-carbon hydrogen via carbon capture or electrolysis. How should companies allocate capital and invest to retain flexibility and guard against volatility while capturing evolving demand and margin opportunities for both traditional and new types of products?