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Navigating the Challenges Ahead: Insights for the European Polyolefin Pipe Resins Market in 2024


By PPN Editor | 22nd  February 2024

The European polyolefins market is gearing up for another challenging year in 2024, as highlighted by Borealis CEO Thomas Gangl in recent statements to Argus. With factors such as high costs, inflationary pressures, and ongoing import challenges, stakeholders in the petrochemicals industry are bracing themselves for continued turbulence.

Understanding the Landscape

Borealis, a key player in the polyolefin pipe industry, reported a significant drop in operating profit compared to the record-setting performance of 2022. Gangl attributed this decline to various factors, including impairments related to inventory revaluation and the overall downturn in the chemical market. Despite these setbacks, Borealis remains resilient and committed to navigating the complexities of the market.

Factors at Play

Several factors contribute to the challenging environment facing European polyolefins manufacturers. High costs, driven by inflation and energy prices, pose significant hurdles to profitability. Additionally, the influx of new global PE and PP plants, coupled with uncertain demand from China, adds to the complexity of the market dynamics.

Strategic Responses

In response to these challenges, Borealis is doubling down on its strategy of producing specialty grades tailored to specific industries such as wire and cable and automotive. Gangl emphasized the importance of focusing on niche markets where demand remains robust, despite the broader market uncertainties.

Monitoring Market Disruptions

Borealis is closely monitoring disruptions to shipping routes, including those affecting the Red Sea and Suez Canal. While these disruptions have led to higher freight costs and impacted European PE and PP prices in recent weeks, Gangl does not foresee a significant structural impact on the market. Borealis remains vigilant, however, and continues to adapt its strategies in response to evolving market conditions.

Progress and Prospects

Despite the challenges, Borealis remains optimistic about its long-term prospects. Construction of a new PE plant in Abu Dhabi is progressing well, with over 50% completion reported. Additionally, efforts to improve the reliability and efficiency of existing facilities, such as the Bayport Polymers joint venture in Texas, are underway. Borealis expects these projects to contribute to long-term profitability, leveraging their scale and access to cost-advantaged feedstock.


As the European polyolefins market braces for another year of challenges, stakeholders must remain agile and responsive to evolving dynamics. By focusing on specialty grades, monitoring market disruptions, and investing in strategic projects, companies like Borealis can navigate the uncertainties and emerge stronger in the long run. Despite short-term headwinds, the industry’s commitment to innovation and resilience positions it well for sustained success in the future.