The chemical market is complicated to navigate with the need to aggregate information and the difficulty of acquiring “real-time” updates. Today’s guest is here to provide the insight you’re looking for. Steve Lewandowski is the Vice President – Olefins at IHS Markit, a leading global provider of information, insight, and consulting services to the global chemical, petrochemical, and refining industries. He joins Victoria Meyer to discuss the trends in the chemical industry and the different factors at play in these changes. They touch on energy transitions, geopolitical tensions, market prices, COVID shutdowns, and the interweaving impacts on each other. Don’t miss out on this information-packed episode for the latest on what’s happening in the world of chemicals.

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


What’s Happening In The Chemical Market: On Trends And Changes With Steve Lewandowski

I am talking with Steve Lewandowski, who is the VP of Olefins at IHS Markit, which is, as many people know, a leading global provider of information, insight, and consulting services to chemicals, petrochemicals, and refining. He has been in the chemical industry for many years, at companies including Total before he joined IHS. We are going to have a great conversation about what is going on in the chemical industry. Steve, welcome to the show.

Thanks for the invite. I’m excited to share some thoughts with you about the marketing and other things that are going on for sure.

There is a lot that’s going on. For folks that don’t know, could you give us a brief intro to IHS Markit?

IHS Markit is a name you soon have to forget because it is going to go away. The merger was announced and was finalized with S&P Global and IHS Markit merging. They are taking on a new name as S&P Global. Different divisions will be intertwined within that existing organization. IHS has a very interesting story in its data and insights. Over the course of the last many years, they have acquired a lot of different companies to assess geology to widgets, but even more space beyond that from insights and data, but it was about insights to then connecting that whole chain.

As things go with normal mergers, there are reviews by government authorities on antitrust. When this broader merger was originally announced, there were certain divisions in both companies that were expected to have to be carved out. Opus is one of those. At the eleventh hour, as things were finalizing, it came up that there were some concerns about us in our base chemicals group, us doing market research insights in the short run and even in the long run, how do we add capacity and do supply demand and trade in a long run? We went through this fire drill of finding a buyer and working through the alternatives and the bidding process. IHS Markit people are looking at the conclusion that the right buyer was the same as Opus. Some of our coal, metals, and mining went there.

We are going to be part of Dow Jones or a News Corp organization in some new vertical that’s yet to be named because this is a new space for Dow Jones. We are excited. They are excited about having us. We are still working on the name, branding, and doing all that stuff because the bigger merger was done on the 1st of March, 2022. Our carve-out is targeted for the 1st of June, 2022, or some time before the middle of June 2022.

We are still in limbo in our group, but we are going to go in. We are going with all the research. The foundation of what was chemicals in IHS Markit, that bedrock was our researchers. One hundred fifty of us or so are moving to Dow Jones to continue to do work with the clients and give them the insights they need. It’s a new chapter for both groups. Were excited. S&P Global is less excited, maybe because we were part of the piece they wanted to have, but it is what it is, and we are moving on.

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market

Chemical Market: We have a conflict between Inner Ukraine and Russia, and it’s really causing dislocations on many fronts.


It’s interesting to set this space in the market is having this evolution much like we have seen in other parts of the market because a lot of folks still think of CMI and other groups that have got consolidated, changed, and shifted. The next step.

There’s more to come. This is good timing to get out some news. It is going to change, but we are the same people doing the same thing, just under a different logo.

I have been talking with folks about digitization. I would imagine in your business, the whole backend data analytics, AI, perhaps is big. Is that fundamental to how you and your teams do the work that they do to understand, analyze and forecast the markets?

We are scratching the surface on this. We have had a good dialog with our energy colleagues over the course of the last few years. They have progressed on this a bit quicker than us, and it’s about how data is supplied to the market. In some of this space, they get data by second, minute, or day. In the cadence, a lot of our data is not that frequent. It may be monthly or quarterly. You just don’t get enough data to make statistically sound conclusions about how the market’s behaving. We are trying to improve on that. More data could be available and we are trying to aggregate that. We have a big initiative to go down that path.

We have a lot of quants asking for our data. They want to sort through it. Maybe we give them some data, but we do that for others that don’t have the resources internally, but that’s one of our drivers, “How do we manage this data? We have a lot of data.” Everything is connected. It’s a big spider web. We are trying to make this happen. Dow Jones is excited about this as well. As we are a new vertical, we are going to get a bit more focused. The claim is they got a pretty good deal on the price at the end of the day when you look at the multiples. I know you can debate that but hopefully, that means they get a bit more money our way to help support some of this development.

The chemical markets are not very transparent versus the oil and refining side where products are actively traded. You know the price by the second almost, versus now you are aggregating information that’s not as real-time.

The government supplies a lot of data or open table – how many people are sitting in chairs in restaurants. You can get a count of where money is going. You saw through COVID, its slowdown, ramping up and how people move, vehicle miles traveled, airplane reservations, and who’s sitting in airplanes? To get a view on gasoline, jet, diesel and all that, they have an advantage there that we are trying to figure out. How do we do this differently, and can we find the data sources?

It’s really about how data is supplied to the market.

Can you give us a brief overview of what’s going on in Olefins’ market? That’s a loaded question because we are living in a world of dissonance. What do you see and hear from your colleagues and clients in the market?

On the short-term front, we are coming off COVID, by going in pre-COVID, maybe more about ethylene and propylene versus the rest of the space, but it’s similar. We added a lot of capacity globally, well above what demand growth was expected. We were thinking about a lot of pressure on margins, just because through normal cycles in this value chain, we have seen it many times before. We are calling for weaker margins. As of the overbuild, someone is going to have to be induced to reduce rates. Economics is the only way to make that happen.

COVID came, and that turned things upside down. We have a conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It’s causing dislocations on a lot of fronts. Margins are weak in Asia and Europe because oil went up, feedstocks went up, and the products could not keep pace. There’s a lot of concern about recession and stagflation. We are watching consumer behavior and their interests. In North America, we have this feed called ethane and NGO’s propane. They did not rise with oil because we were an island ourselves because we couldn’t clear all that product. Our advantage has returned.

The advantage we saw in the early 2010s is back.

If you can run, you are happy in North America because the margins are great, which is a problem because they can’t run because we have a logistics issue. We don’t have containers whether we need them. COVID is causing issues in Asia, with workers and lockdowns in different ports and regions. That’s causing problems for North America. We can’t run as hard as we want, even though we have strong margins, because we can’t get rid of the stuff we can make. Good margins, but there are a lot of upsides if they can solve this logistics problem.

There are many things to unpack here. Let’s figure out what we want to tackle first. Maybe it’s this whole view of regionalism. It seems like, in many ways, pre-COVID, we were perhaps moving to more harmonized pricing and supply-demand globally because supply chains were moving effectively. When you get to the comparison prices, it seems like products were fungible across boundaries. That does not seem to be the case nowadays.

You have referenced this. Margins in North America are strong. Asia is weak. I have been reading some stuff. The news that’s coming out is almost grim in terms of how thin the margins are, how low operating rates are, and some of the challenges that are taking place. Europe has a variety of impacts, not least of which is the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the results of that. Are you seeing a shift to more regional markets? Is that going to be short-term or long-term?

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market

Chemical Market: [Advanced recycling] will impact fossil fuel recovery because you won’t need as much fossil fuel. One of the desires is to stop drilling and let’s reuse.

I learned from an old operator when I had a plant life, statisticians, if you torture numbers long enough, don’t confess to anything. When you look at the percentage of demand and international trade, it is decreasing a bit, which that’s a cause for concern. When you look at the tonnage that’s moving, it continues to grow. The market demand is growing and movement is going to continue. We think the two probably biggest drivers of that are advantage feeds.

The Middle East and North America have an advantage feed. Maybe someday Latin America will develop and Argentina, and they will have an advantage feed. We think that’s a big driver to where you put steel on the ground, and you can move the products to the rest of the world. We think that is going to happen. In Asia, they have a cost advantage purely on investment costs. The cost of investment in ethylene and propylene at times was half or less than half of the US.

They could build an import feedstock and still make that work because they are a big demand region. We think the logistics will work their way through. It will solve itself. Economics, we believe, will still rule, but politicians always enter the fray. Sometimes there’s an emotion that overtakes logic and economics, but we are a believer that logic will work. As long as there’s a feedstock to utilize with an advantage, it will move to the rest of the world. We will continue to build North America up until the point we exhaust our feeds. Asia and China will continue to build because China is a big sink for a lot of ethylene and contained propylene.

Let’s talk about Russia and Ukraine. It’s on everybody’s minds because of what we see every day. How are these affecting chemical markets? What are you forecasting and predicting in terms of how this shapes up as the impact on the chemical markets? Maybe olefins, ethylene, propylene, and other products?

When we look at the two countries, purely from an ethylene and propylene perspective and what moves to the rest of the world, it’s very small. Looking at that and say, “If we lose a couple of hundred thousand tons of contained ethylene from the two combined regions, that normally go to the rest of the world.” The rest of the world had been overbuilt. We have spare capacity and we could have solved that.

It is the indirect impact, which is energy. When you look at the balance out of Russia, somewhere 60% to 70% of their oil equivalents are exported, whether that’s by pipe or waterborne. That’s where the concern is. If you start losing this oil, then the cost structure goes up. That’s problematic for these other regions that we are not able to push prices through, like Asia and Europe, for that matter.

Our European crackers have been starved at the moment. That’s my outside concern when you think about cutting off some of the gas supply and other stuff.

The consumers are a bit concerned because everything’s going up. Prices are going up on energy, but also on food.

From a feedstock perspective, I would say no, but what you brought up, natural gas is the problem nowadays. There are a lot of concerns about nat gas, and the price of it went from $7 and BTU up to $60 windows of time. It’s settled at $30. It’s expensive to make stuff there. It makes Europe non-competitive on a lot of fronts. They are looking to import finished goods, semi-finished goods, or pellets, which is a problem because we don’t have logistics. All this is compounding itself, but we don’t see reductions because of feedstock per se, but we are seeing reductions because of economics, and everyone is uneasy about, “Do I run?”

We have taken a pause in demand. The consumers are a bit concerned because everything’s going up. Prices are going up on energy, but also on food materials. Wheat, corn, and other things are coming out of Ukraine and Russia. They are big exporters, and that’s causing some concern around the world. It goes back to inflation. You are going to feed yourself and move around to go to work, but maybe you don’t buy widgets made out of plastic, durable or non-durable goods. That’s the concern and our demand outlook. Where is that going to play out as the consumer is a bit less comfortable?

I have seen and heard you speak in the Houston Chemical Association. One of the things I wrote down from that time was about the impact on food and agrochemical, on that whole sector, as it relates both to individuals, but also just as we think about the impact on the chemical market. Can you address that in terms of what you guys are seeing as an effect?

One thing I’m going to miss about not being an IHS Markit is we had a great Ag group. We have a routine call to go over all these different issues. It’s not only Ag. It’s metals, minerals, and palladium, but there are a lot of exports of corn, soil, and wheat that we think there’s probably inventory around the world that can cover maybe this cycle of it, but what we know is planting is seasoned as now. You are afraid to go in a tractor and plant a field if there are bombs flying over your head. The concern is that we are going to lose some planting. On top of that, this region was a big producer of ammonia and urea, which you need to fertilize the crops. Part of that goes down when you do the initial planting.

Even if they do plant some fields, we think the productivity per acre of whatever you would assess is going to be a lot lower. The concern is, “What are we going to do? The country is going to feed their people, and we are going to lose this flow on how that gets managed,” which by definition means prices are going to rise. Our guys did a great job. I saw something they showed. It’s, “We are going to feed people with grains and bread.” “Where do you get rid of the demand for these agricultural products?” “It’s not in fuels because that’s all mandated. As long as people are driving, you’ve got to use biofuels. You are going to feed people.” The only thing in the middle is feedstock Ag products to go to the beef or pork industry, and they are going to be the ones that lose the feed. Their view is the price of meat is going to go through the roof because you can’t feed the livestock anymore.

Price and availability. That may be just tied with this.

It goes out of the pocketbook of the consumer, and then how do they go back to what’s going to happen to the demand for plastics.

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market

Chemical Market: You’re going to build a new plant if you’re not sure the new administration you’re going to get every four years or every eight years will change his view completely. That’s the challenge.


It all ties back to plastics and contained ethylene. You reference a couple of times ‘contained ethylene and propylene.’ Not everybody reading this understands that fully . Can you explain what that means?

Ethylene is one of the main building blocks. It’s the biggest petrochemical building block, but different products you make from ethylene have different amounts of ethylene in them. Polyethylene, which everyone’s familiar with bags, it’s about 1 for 1. Every pound of polyethylene probably has a pound of ethylene, but another material that everyone’s familiar with is PVC, and vinyl, whether that’s a material for your flooring or windows and doors.

When you look for every pound of PVC, because it has a lot of flooring in it, it’s only 1/2 pound of ethylene. We try to get it back to a similar reference for all the derivatives and do that chemistry ratio to say, “I want to look at ultimately ethylene demand, how much is contained in each of these different derivatives as you move down the stream.” That’s why we talked contained ethylene. The PVC guys will talk about just PVC. Polyethylene will talk about polyethylene. Glycol folks will talk about glycol, but we have to bring it all back to some common references, which are contained ethylene, contained propylene, and contained benzene.

What are you guys predicting as the impact of circularity-advanced recycling? There are some very clear targets that have been set by large petrochemical, chemical, and plastics producers, consumer products, and companies across the value chain about reducing the amount of virgin resin, more use of recycled material, and recyclable material. What effect do you see that having on the net ethylene demand? Where do you even factor that in? I don’t even know how to plug that when you start doing your metrics and thinking about that.

We are fortunate. We have a team and we have done a couple of major multi-client studies on this over the course of the last years as the regulations and technology were evolving. Now, we have a service. We have a team that’s looking essentially at all the applications for this contained ethylene and contained propylene in these derivatives.

They are looking at every one of these sectors and saying, “How could these grow? How would they be impacted? How much can take mechanically recycled?” What we think is the simplest is taking some plastic that you throw out, washing it, chopping it up, melting it, and reusing it. There are limits to that just because of the biology, chemistry, and the reuse, or because of contamination.

If it touches food, if it’s going to touch medical and hygiene, you can’t put mechanically recycled material into those applications. They would go through this long list and assess that. Once that hits limits – and we have been looking at this for many years. PETM has been the leader in this. It’s not something new. It’s something that’s getting more visibility, but we assess that piece, and then we say, “What’s the next step? If it’s not mechanical, what do you do?” There’s depolymerization to fill in different sectors of the chain, or there’s paralysis. You take it, heat it, and create a synthetic oil or naphtha that goes back to the front of the chain. You continue to have to build steam crackers and polymer plants to service demand grow.

It’s not about the resource but about how do I capture the carbon and take care of that piece of the equation and then continue to prove that plastic is the right solution?

It will have an impact on fossil fuel recovery because you won’t need as much fossil fuel. One of the desires is, “Let’s stop drilling, reuse what we are making, and its just going into landfills or leaking into the environment in some other way,” but that doesn’t come without a carbon footprint. That’s the best technology. It gives you the most flexibility because you go back to the initial feedstock, but you still need investments. The policy is the most important thing, will there be bans, and what’s the substitute? What’s the alternative?

If you don’t have plastic, which has proven to be an enabler to societies around the world, what are you going to use? Glass? It’s heavy. It needs more energy to move around. It’s got breakage issues. Do you use aluminum or you got a mine aluminum and you got to dig this stuff out of the ground? That’s not power-free. We are looking at all these pathways to CO2, as well as the implications of plastic. They have opposing goals at times, reducing plastic, but a lot of plastic will help you reduce carbon footprint.

I have talked with people about this that this is an area where, as an industry, we are not owning the narrative very well. There are huge benefits to the use of plastic instead of glass when you think about lightweighting and what that means for reduced energy consumption in a variety of ways. People don’t understand it. We have not told the story very well. Frankly, consumers see what they can see and feel. It has visibility. That’s where some of the drives come from, then obviously regulations and other areas.

We certainly need to address it, but we also need to tell the whole story behind it. I’m talking with several people also on the show that are focusing on some different areas and trying to change the narrative on this and promoting how their products are very sustainable when you broaden what sustainable means in terms of energy consumption.

As an industry, there’s an alliance to recover plastic waste. The industry is taking the initiative with brand owners, as well as us. It’s a big thing and it’s cultural. If you go to other countries of the world, the way they collect and contain waste is different from maybe Europe. The Western world does it. That’s something that’s about educating the population to say, “We can do this better. We can get the trash out of the environment,” then I would say, “Then we can smartly reuse it.” I worked with other people in chemistry in the industry, but you’ve got to have it in a place gathered and contained, then you can do some level of conversion or reuse whatever that may be. That alliance is going a long way to help them.

They are doing a great job. A big part of their focus is that middle ground like, “How do we educate and collect so that those products are in a position to take, reuse and do something different with them?” There’s more to come. We are in an evolving time. The speed of change is ever faster. Let’s talk energy transition. That’s the other side of this. When I think about energy transition, and I know historically, a lot of chemical feedstocks have come off of refinery byproducts. Naphtha is coming into crackers. We are in transition. There’s no doubt about it. How does that energy transition affect the olefins markets, petrochemical markets, and investments in that?

We completed a major study on energy transition. Our refining colleagues in the petrochemicals to look at this interface. I have been a refiner and a pet-chem guy. I appreciate the challenges. The reason is we are where we are at and why we have not moved further. Everything petrochemicals, ethylene, and propylene come from either oil via naphtha or NGOs, via an oil and nat gas production as a byproduct of that. I get it from coal in China. There’s some of that chemistry. This is a big concern depending on the paths that we take to net zero. We are learning now that it’s harder to do than people imagined. Oil prices and demand are high. You just can’t convert everything to some other source of power.

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market

Chemical Market: If [the Russia-Ukraine conflict] goes longer, what happens to the oil liftings and transportation fuel liftings out of Russia? The world doesn’t have a lot of spare capacity.

That’s not a fossil fuel base, and that’s one of the challenges. We have looked at many different profiles of, “What happens if we go faster than our base case?” Our base case isn’t that aggressive, but it’s aggressive. The issue is the faster you go and petrochemicals because we are an energy-conserving technology, there’s a problem because we lose feedstocks. At the end of the day, we’ve got to convert oil or gas to petrochemical. If it’s not coming as a co-product from a refinery, that’s normally making gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel that carries the refining economics.

Naphtha is a bit of an afterthought, and they make it go away as long as the refining economics are good. In the future, it’s almost naphtha on purpose. Once you go to naphtha on purpose, what do you have to do? You have to have prices that justify building, debottlenecking, or retrofitting your existing refineries or building new ones to fit the purpose. That means capital, but it also means that the naphtha price is going to have to carry operations in candid, which means prices go up, and the cost of plastics likely will go up relative to where it was historically. It depends on the pace of transition.

Is it just a cost impact? Is there a concern about the availability of feedstock? As a result of the energy transition, is that something that you guys or people that you work with are talking about?

There is a lot of oil and gas in the ground. The worry is not about that natural resource. If we transition quicker to lower fossil fuel-based energy and fuels, there’s going to be a lot of oil still. It’s a question of, “Do we have the right oil or the right quality?” Oil is not oil. There’s heavy sour oil, light sweet oil, and everything in between. It’s a question about, “Which oil is available? How do I mix and match these hydrogens and carbons to make the plastic I need?”

I don’t think it’s about a resource, but it is about, “How do I capture the carbon? Take care of that piece of the equation and then continue to prove that plastic is the right solution.” Probably by definition, if oil demand drops, the margin of oil that you have to recover is probably cheaper. Less infrastructure because there are less things moving around, but it’s going to be there, and it’s just going to be at a higher relative to cost versus oil. Historically, the naphtha price is going to have to go up.

Is that true across the world? Maybe this is because I’m sitting here in the US, I feel like sometimes, the big push on energy transition, carbon capture, and greenhouse gas reductions, a huge amount of the effort and focus is in North America and Europe, and maybe less so elsewhere. I don’t know if it’s the bias because of where I sit. Do you see those impacts across the regions? I have heard that China is investing in 40-something coal-fired electricity generation plants. In the UK, they have effectively banned coal as a source of energy. How do you see this playing out globally? Are there significant regional differences that we need to be aware of?

The sector matters. Point source, which is a power plant that’s using coal or nat gas, there are technologies to recover that CO2. Some are more efficient than others, depending on the CO2 concentration, but we know how to do that. It’s about money. That’s quite possible, but mobility is way different. It’s a mobile source. There are cars, trucks, and airplanes moving around, which is much more difficult to capture that CO2.

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market


What is that transition? We need to do mobility first and you can move it to power where you can capture it in power, then you can do solar, nuclear, and all these other alternatives for power gen, or you go to hydrogen, but hydrogen takes energy to make – it does not come free. That sector has to go in that sequence. If you think about petrochemicals, most of them use some energy to make it, but at the end of the day, the carbons and hydrogens go into a landfill.

It’s a carbon sink. It’s no different than capturing CO2 out of a stack and sticking it in the ground. It is the sink for plastic or CO2. It does not go back into the environment other than leakage with waste, which we are trying to solve. In that regard, it’s a carbon sink. The world does not want to think about it that way, but that’s the reality. That’s how the way the molecules work. It helps directionally to make that up.

Our industries collaborate. We are already working to solve these problems on emissions in the processes themselves down the big project in Alberta, Canada. The Gulf Coast of the US is looking at putting the infrastructure in to move CO2 from producing sides to someplace to sequester it. This is stuff we know how to do. It means costs, and is the consumer willing to pay that cost for that convenience? That’s what’s to be determined.

How does this affect regional cost competitiveness?

It’s going to be the same drivers. Do you have a raw material that’s cheap? For instance, if all demand drops and the US stops producing as much oil as we did, we are going to lose this other nice feedstock that we call ethane. If we lose ethane and there’s less ethane, our assets could be stranded because that’s the only feed they can run, which means the other regions may get a benefit because they can build on the heavier feeds and build to suit. We will rebuild and crude all the chemical plants in the US Greenfield. I’m hard-pressed to see that happening but never say never. It’s something that could happen.

There are a lot of factors and regulations. Regulations on oil production and gas production are part of the factor that influences as well.

It creates uncertainty in the US. Are you going to drill or not drill? You are going to build a new plant if you are not sure the new administration you are going to get every 4 or 8 years is going to change his view completely, and that’s the challenge.

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market


You talked to a lot of chemical companies. What are their big questions and approaches? When we think about this, is there a concern? Do you see a common focus? Where are their uncertainties that affect how they are operating their business and investing in their future?

We are a bit behind on the circularity issue and plastic leakage, but I think they are ahead of the curve on CO2 and the fact that there’s a consortium being developed by these companies on the Gulf Coast to build CO2 infrastructure. It goes a long way to tell you what they are thinking. Let’s get ahead of this. We know how to do it. That was building a plant are going to hopefully do FID, improve this plant and make this thing happen.

We know how to do it. They are happy to invest and we are contributing, but they all are also saying, and I did the analysis once when a piece I wrote on the Dow, it is more steel. “You need more plants in the footprint. You need more parts of the plant that you are going to have to add, which means more capital,” which means shareholders are going to want to return, or they are not going to give you money. By definition, if it costs you more, you need more margin to make that happen or maybe you don’t build.

Do you still see investment happening pretty significantly?

We don’t see a pause in plastics growth for all the things we said. It’s an enabler. People are realizing that the alternatives are much worse, “Let’s push you to fix the things you can fix and let’s have the minimal leakage, but we are going to still invest in petrochemicals,” is our view.

We have touched on a number of things here in terms of general markets, and the potential effect of the Russia-Ukraine energy transition. What are some leading indicators? What should we be watching for over the rest of 2022 that are going to have the potential to impact chemical markets significantly?

The duration of the conflict is one key. We are doing a lot of discussions internally about what is the rebuilding process of Ukraine after you see all these buildings built out. Where does that money come from, and who is going to pay for it? The biggest thing we are watching is if this goes longer, what happens to the oil liftings and transportation fuel liftings out of Russia? The world does not have a lot of spare capacity. Oil prices are so high. Most of them are maxing out what they can. Saudi has some degrees of freedom. The US is maybe less.

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market


We have the resource, but we have the concern that we don’t know what our government’s policy is going to be to go drive to pull more oil out of the ground. From entry to exit, we have more oil production. That was always in our base plan. Is it going to be enough to satisfy seven and a half million barrels a day of lower production or output coming out of Russia?

Not the US nor the Saudi. The only thing that is saving is the COVID and the shutdowns in China, which have brought down their oil demand considerably. It’s masking what’s going on because if they were pulling as hard as they normally do, I think the oil prices probably would be a bit stronger. It’s the duration of the conflict and what’s going to happen to the exports out of Russia.

As you say, China and how it comes out of the COVID shutdown.

Will there be another conflict? There are bombs being launched from Yemen into Saudi, and other political actors are making some noise. North Korea is making noise. We are not for lack of geopolitical events. We have one big one, but a bunch of others are doing it.

There are a lot of geopolitical tensions and that always has the potential for a big impact. We may or may not realize it, but it’s happening. This has been good. Thank you for joining us. I appreciate you giving some time and having the conversation.

I appreciate your reaching out. I’m happy to do it.

Thank you to everyone for reading this episode. Keep reading, liking, and sharing, and we will continue to grow.

This episode is sponsored by AVEVA. 

Important Links


About Steve Lewandowski

TCSP 50 | Chemical Market

Steve Lewandowski is the Vice President – Olefins at IHS Markit, a leading global provider of information, insight and consulting services to the global chemical, petrochemical and refining industries.

During a career spanning 30 + years in the refining and chemical industry, Steve has experience across the spectrum of refining and petrochemical hydrocarbon value chains covering a wide array of financial, strategic, technical and commercial roles. Before his move to IHS Markit, Steve was Senior Manager of Base Chemicals at TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining, Inc. In that capacity, he managed the P&L of the base chemicals business including: joint venture relationships, strategic guidance to the partnerships, plant operational interfaces, project development, and the commercial responsibility for olefin and aromatic monomers including styrene.

Prior to the Base Chemical Senior manager role, Steve had increasing responsibilities within the Petrochemical business at TOTAL. The Latest assignment was overseas, Brussels Belgium, responsible for the Global aromatics long term commercial business activity. The assignment included P&L responsibility and strategic project development for TOTAL around the world. Prior to the Belgian assignment he worked as manager of the US aromatics business. Before 2000 Steve was involved in the refining and fuels side of the Hydrocarbon chain both for what was then FINA Oil and Chemical and for Star Enterprise (a joint venture between Texaco and Saudi Aramco) working as a process engineer, optimization engineer, fuels blending optimizer, branded/unbranded fuels marketing and supply lead, and in a business development role.

Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State Universityand an MBA with of focus on finance and economics from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!