BPF Director-General Peter Davis speaking yesterday at the Global Polymer Innovation Expo (GPIE) in Columbus, Ohio said the world has plentiful oil and gas reserves and global polyolefins capacity should be sufficient to meet demand growth for plastics up to 2017.
But Mr Davis said "Politicians are avoiding debate on world population growth and the strain on our planets resources." He outlined the many ways in which Plastics can help cope with a booming population.
Oil and Gas
Peter Davis said "Plastics production accounts for only 4% of oil and gas use. The world has plentiful reserves of both." He mentioned shale gas discoveries; oil sands in Canada and Venezuela could provide enough oil for 200 years. The US Congressional Budget Office estimates there are 175bn barrels of oil equivalent in oil and gas reserves on federal lands. Iran and Iraq have huge reserves, much unexploited.
Peter Davis said "higher costs of extraction and political turbulence can mean higher costs for oil and gas."
Polyolefin Supply (with thanks to IHS)
Peter Davis said in 2011 worldwide Plastics demand was 205 million tonnes. Polyethylene's average annual growth rate is forecast to be 4.7% 2012-17 and PE capacity around the world is rising to meet demand from 147m tonnes in 2011 to 170m tonnes in 2017 and 200m tonnes by 2020.
China's PE capacity will rise from 21.6m tonnes in 2012 to 30.5m tonnes in 2017.
Only in W. Europe will it decline from 14.9m tonnes to 13.6m tonnes.
The same pattern is predicted for Polypropylene where China's capacity will rise from 23m tonnes in 2012 to 34.2m tonnes in 2017. In W. Europe capacity there will be a small decline. PP capacity will more than meet demand by 2017.
PET demand growth is seen as fairly flat up to 2017 but there will be a huge amount of excess capacity particularly in the Middle East.
Peter Davis said "Globally it looks as if Plastics supply can meet demand looking forward, but in Europe it is worrying that plastics raw material production will decline. This is a strategic issue and the reason why the BPF supports industry calls for our Government to create an Office of Resource Management."
Plastics and World Population Growth
Peter Davis said the World's population was 3bn in 1960, reached 7bn last year and may rise to 11bn by 2050. Great Britains' population of 61.4 million is growing faster than any other European country. Great Britain may have to house 10 million more people by 2026.
Peter Davis said in Columbus "Politicians avoid debate on population growth. How many children a couple have is difficult political, religious and economic territory. Our rapidly growing population is a strain on our Planet's resources, environment and species."
On a more positive note Peter Davis outlined some of the many ways Plastics can help cope with our growing population.
- Plastic tanks and pipes for conservation and distribution of fresh water. Over a billion people have no access to clean water.
- Efficient Food Production. Plastics pipes or lining channels with film can prevent 20% water loss from irrigation trenches. Polytunnels protect crops from rain and pests.
- Reducing Food Wastage. In the developing world as much as 50% of fresh produce is wasted due to poor harvesting and packaging. Plastics packaging preserves food from field to kitchen and portion packs reduce food wastage.
- Minimise Greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic components are significantly reducing the weight of motor vehicles and aircraft, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.
- Energy Conservation. In India PVC-U windows are recommended to keep out heat and EPS Insulation reduces energy needs and CO2 emissions up to 50%.
- Good Healthcare. Blood bags, prostheses, heart valves and drug delivery systems. Isoprene condoms.
- Emergencies and Disasters. When earthquakes and flood strike there are plastic: tents, sheeting, water bowsers, portable toilets.
Peter Davis said "Innovation and flexibility is the key to plastics success. These qualities mean Plastics will have a vital role in coping with population growth."
For all media enquiries, BPF logos and images, please contact Philip Law, Public & Industrial Affairs Director on 0207 457 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to the editor:
1. The BPF is grateful for the assistance of IHS Dusseldorf on polymer supply.
2. With other associations and institutes the BPF on 20th August called for the location of an Office of Resources
Management on raw materials shortages.
British Plastics Federation (BPF) is the UK trade association for the plastics industry – representing the whole supply chain including polymer producers, distributors, additives suppliers, machinery manufacturers, processors and recyclers.