Basic research is largely a thing of the past among global petrochemical companies. Tough market conditions have forced them to confine their efforts to projects that are likely to offer a payback.
Research and development spending has been cut across the board during the 1990s. Some companies are cutting back after overly ambitious attempts to diversify, and are focusing on core products.
Petrochemical R&D is driven by technology rather than pure science nowadays, and minimizing costs is a major aim of every project.
In universities, traditional home of basic research, the last decade has seen a growth of commercial realism, with researchers increasin...