GLG Network Survey: Petrochemical Industry

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The GLG Surveys team interviewed 70 C-level executives working in the petrochemical industry across the US and Europe (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain).

What will you learn from this survey?

  • These respondents discussed the COVID-19 impact on the sector and provided insights into its performance in the first half of 2021.
  • The research also investigated the current demand issues and predictions for the rest of the year.
  • Lastly, the survey looked into the conditions down the value chain globally and across sectors such as feedstocks, olefins, aromatics and polymers.

Examples of findings:

  • In Europe, the majority of respondents (96%) reported a negative COVID-19 impact on the petrochemical market compared to 55% in the US.
  • Respondents evaluated the impact of COVID-19 across various sectors and reported feedstocks experiencing the greatest impact from COVID-19, with 60% of experts stating it performed below expectations in H1/2020.
  • Historically, buyers built inventory when oil prices were rising to protect downstream margins. However, 45% of the US respondents stated they actually decreased their inventories in the last 6 months, compared to only 6% reported in Europe.


The GLG Surveys team drafted the questionnaire with the support of GLG Network Member, Paul Hodges, Chairman at International eChem.

  • 1 x Individual responses (“raw data”) in Excel.
  • 1 x PPT report with aggregated data.
  • Executive summary with key takeaways and highlights from the raw data.


  • In your view, what has been the overall COVID-19 impact on the petrochemical market?
  • Historically, buyers build inventory when oil prices are rising to protect downstream margins. In your sector, how do you think inventories have been over the past 6 months?
  • How would you describe conditions down the value chain in your main regions?
  • In your view, how prepared are companies in your sector in servicing clients in the automotive industry considering the rapid transition from gasoline/diesel cars to electric vehicles?
  • What do you think are the biggest challenges when it comes to the transition to autonomous vehicles over the next few years?
  • The approaching COP26 conference is likely to see Net Zero emission targets adopted for CO2, with possibly major impact on petrochemicals. Which of the following best apply to your sector?
  • Looking further ahead out to 2023, which of the following statements best applies to companies in your region
  • Assuming the oil prices will remain the same, how do you expect your sector to react in H2/2021?


This survey is available to subscribers of the Energy and Industrials (EI) sector (Limited subscriptions and above). This offer includes the raw data file and a high-level presentation through PowerPoint. Please contact your GLG representative for details on your firm’s access.

Request other available and upcoming Network Surveys within the sector:

  • GLG Tracker: Refineries II – New!
    • Second survey to follow the first wave conducted in December 2020. 50 high level decision makers at European refineries commented on the future of the industry. The survey investigated the impact that COVID-19 has had on the industry and whether it is expected to bounce back.
    • Questionnaire was drafted by Andy Rae, former VP at Shell Oil Company. Data released May 2021. 
  •  Geophysical Services New!
    • 50 senior executives within the Geophysical Services industry discussed the current trend and outlook for these services and end markets. Topics covered include the impact from COVID-19 on the industry, as well as oil prices.  
    • Questionnaire was drafted by Mike Edwards, Board Member at Geopost Energy. Data released May 2021. 
  • European Airports Outlook New! 
    • 50 senior executives working at airports in Europe discussed about expected passenger volume and main factors that can help or slow down the recovery to pre COVID-19 levels. The survey also gathered insights about their views on COVID-19 passports and how their introduction will align with country quarantining restrictions, along with projections on which countries will recover the quickest from the impact of COVID-19. 
    • Questionnaire was drafted by Alex Kirby, former Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors at Gatwick Airport.
  • Coal Phase-Out – New!
    • 70 senior executives working at power plants and utility companies in Europe and North America provided their views on the organisational, investment and market implications of the coal phase-out. The survey also gathered insights into alternatives that fuel organisations are planning to use in the future and what prerequisites are missing for the market to become ready for the phase-out of coal.  
    • Questionnaire was drafted by Markus Hatwig, former Head of Group Strategy for the Vattenfall Group. 
  • GLG Tracker- Hydrogen Market Overview II – New!
    • Second wave to follow the initial survey conducted in December 2020. 45 users of hydrogen in the energy and industrials industry, as well as manufacturing and construction, discussed about the use of hydrogen and how it can also be used as fuel replacement for green initiatives. 
    • Questionnaire was drafted by Brendan Bilton, former Managing Director at AcalEnergy. 
  • GLG Tracker- Automotive Suppliers II 
    • Second survey to follow the first wave conducted in August 2020. 60 current procurement and supply chain professionals at European OEMs discussed their views on future purchasing intention and vendor preferences.  
    • Questionnaire was drafted by Paul Spadafora, former Chief Engineer, Global SUV at General Motors Company.


Please be advised that GLG Network Surveys operate differently than traditional GLG consultations, surveys, teleconferences, etc. and it is advisable that you consult with your firm’s legal and/or compliance department to review your use of the product and the payment for such work under your current subscription.

By downloading this document and/or participating in the Network Survey, you understand and agree that the information and material provided by GLG, including survey results and survey proposal information, is provided for your own insight and informational purposes only. You further acknowledge and agree that this is a Network Survey for multiple GLG clients, and the results will be provided to all GLG clients that agree to participate in the Network Survey and GLG clients that agree to purchase the Survey results in the future. All survey results do not constitute investment advice or a recommendation. In using this Survey, you agree to hold Gerson Lehrman Group and the Survey respondents harmless and free of all liability as a result of your use of this Network Survey, other than liability resulting from the gross negligence or wilful misconduct of the protected party. You otherwise agree to be bound by Gerson Lehrman Group’s Usage Policies in your interactions with Gerson Lehrman Group and your receipt of services. These Survey results are for are for client’s own use and client shall not redistribute, disseminate, publish, or display the same, in whole or in part, to any third parties or publicly without the prior written permission of Gerson Lehrman Group, except explicitly set forth in your agreement with GLG. This survey will be double-blinded to both client and respondent. GLG reserves the right to restrict the number of clients that can pre-commit access. These Network Surveys are priced outside of standard GLG subscriptions but at a substantially reduced price to commissioning a fully proprietary GLG Network Survey. Upon finding these terms acceptable, please send an affirmative confirmation via email, which GLG will file in its records. Once confirmed, please note that the Client’s agreement to purchase the Network Survey is a legally binding and irrevocable commitment. If the survey is not included within your subscription, GLG will invoice Client for the fees due for the Network Survey. Please note that some respondents may not be Network Members, and the Terms and Conditions of Network Membership would not apply to such respondents and detailed records for them will not be available aside from the information that GLG captures in the Network Survey.

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