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In an ideal world, ethylene producers would be churning out above-average profits.The industry is characterized by steadily growing demand. According to IBM/Chem Systems Inc., Tarrytown, N.Y., world ethylene demand will grow by about 4.7%/year during 1997-2005.In reality, producers are trying new and old ideas to increase profits as the ethylene industry heads into a sustained period of low margins.The reason for the expected low margins is that, although demand is growing, capacity additions are growing in parallel. Continued capacity additions to capture incremental demand are both a business necessity and a business nightmare for ethylene producers, even though they sometimes lead to p...

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