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Downstream slumbers as plastics backlash grows

Recycling will increasingly alter supply fundamentals, while legislation targeting single-use plastics will erode demand

The oil industry continues to expect that rising petrochemicals use will be central to demand growth over the next two decades. But campaigns against single-use plastics (SUP), which make up about a third of plastics demand, look set to curb that growth while creating new technological and structural challenges for the industry. Petrochemicals feedstock accounts for approximately 13mn bl/d, or about 13pc, of world oil demand, according to the IEA. BP, in its Energy Outlook 2019, that a worldwide SUP ban scenario could curb oil demand in 2040 by as much as 6mn bl/d. SUP products include shopping bags, food wrappings and plastic bottles, which are all under scrutiny by legislators and regulat

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