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GSCW chat recap: How COVID-19 impacted downstream energy industry

Rob Benedict talks petrochemicals and COVID-19.

This fireside chat is a part of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week. Day 5 focuses on energy, mining and chemicals.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: How the downstream energy industry is navigating COVID

DETAILS: COVID-19 impacted the energy industry in ways from cutting demands to reducing uses for petrochemicals. American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers kept an eye on supply and demand trends during the pandemic and how downstream companies were utilizing petrochemicals differently thanks to the virus.

SPEAKER: Rob Benedict, vice president of petrochemicals and midstream at American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.

BIO: With over 15 years of federal government and industry association experience in legislative, policy, and regulatory arenas, Benedict is a leader with AMFP who advocates for safe, sustainable, and data-driven solutions.  


“Like most industries, we suffered a severe shock in demand and also a severe shift in demand… Coupled with a big cut in oil from OPEC regulations and it was a perfect storm. Last April demand for jet fuel dropped 80%, gasoline 50% and diesel 20%.”

“Plastic and plastic films, the petrochemicals that went into those actually did pretty well. Things that went into construction or manufacturing and large-scale things struggled… But we are seeing a return. I don’t think we’re back to normal, but we are seeing a return with things like propylene and ethylene.”

“Ethylene is doing well, which is significant because the U.S. supplies about 20% of ethylene globally. In the last week or two, we saw some impacts from the freeze in Texas that showed some short-term delay… We’ve seen a lot of analysts talking about a new normal, but we see the new normal looking a lot like the old normal.”

Kaylee Nix

Kaylee Nix is a meteorologist and reporter for FreightWaves. She joined the company in November of 2020 after spending two years as a broadcast meteorologist for a local television channel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kaylee graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2018 and immediately made the Tennessee Valley her home. Kaylee creates written summaries of FreightWaves live podcasts and cultivates the social media for FreightWaves TV.