Probe Economics LLC
Chemical Industry Business Analysis and Consulting.

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Data & Models

Probe Economics LLC, began as an econometric modelling shop at a U.S. university; so models and databases are an important, if not the most important, core competency of the company. Most of Probe’s models go back to "Economics 101," which taught us that prices and volumes are determined by the intersection of supply and demand curves. Probe personnel have command of, and have used successfully in business situations, some sophisticated techniques, including mixed-integer programming, dynamic optimal control theory, Rockefellar duality theory, regional input-output models, and non-linear equation estimation, but these techniques all hark back to that simple, "Economics 101" principle.

Most of Probe’s modelling techniques can be found in academic journals and textbooks, but no-one, other than Probe, has applied them successfully to real chemical industry business problems. We know which techniques will work, stay within a budget and deliver results that the client can understand and use. Even though more sophisticated techniques are available, we often recommend a simpler approach for the client, in order to stay within the budget and mesh better with the client’s way of thinking and working.

One of Probe’s better-developed models is for world petrochemicals. This model, which is coded into thousands of lines of linked electronic spreadsheets, can be depicted roughly as follows:

globalmodel.gif (25296 bytes) 


Typical of many of Probe’s models, the analysis begins at the top and proceeds downward (sometimes called a "Top-Down" approach). It begins with macro factors such as a country’s resource endowment, demographics, stage of development, political system, trade strategy and economic output (GDP). The factors drive the supply and demand for petrochemicals and polymers, as well as the development of the energy and refining sector that is so important to petrochemicals. Oil prices and resource endowments determine the level of oil and gas drilling and, ultimately, the supply of hydrocarbons for use in chemical production. Demographics and income levels determine the demand for heating oil, gasoline and other refined products, which in turn determine refinery configuration and the prices of chemical feedstocks. In the end, this methodology generates internally-consistent and reasonably-accurate forecasts of chemical supplies, demands and prices by country and region.

Probe personnel have developed and successfully used similar models for chlor-alkali, other inorganic chemicals, rubber chemicals, oil and gas, uranium and a wide variety of other materials. This body of knowledge and experience positions Probe to build a model that addresses your specific business problem and provides insights and approaches that would not otherwise be apparent.

In the following, we provide a list of the chemicals, polymers, hydrocarbons and economic indicators covered by various Probe models and databases.


A. Multiclient Reports (1)

Energy and Economic Indicators

For the U.S.:

  • GDP
  • GDP Price Deflator
  • U.S. Unemployment Rate
  • Value of Dollar
  • Crude Oil Price
  • Natural Gas Price
  • Electric Power Costs
  • Price Index for Chemicals
  • Chemical Plant Cost Index
  • For Most Other Countries and Regions:

  • GDP
  • Demographics
  • Industrial Production
  • Motor Vehicle Registration
  • Feedstocks and Oxygenates

  • Ethane
  • Propane
  • n-Butane
  • n-Butylene
  • Isobutylene
  • ULR Gasoline
  • No. 2 Heating Oil
  • Octane Barrels (Valuation)
  • Pygas
  • LSR Naphtha
  • Gasoil
  • Low Sulfur Residual Fuel Oil
  • Mixed Xylenes
  • Toluene
  • Methanol
  • Fuel Ethanol
  • Basic Petrochemicals

  • Ethylene
  • Propylene
  • Butadiene
  • Benzene
  • Orthoxylene
  • Paraxylene
  • Monomers and Intermediates

  • Acetone
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Cyclohexane
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Ethylene Oxide
  • Phenol
  • Phthalic Anhydride
  • PTA
  • Styrene
  • Vinyl Chloride Monomer
  • Polymers

  • HDPE
  • LDPE
  • Polyester Resin
  • Polypropylene
  • Polystyrene
  • Polyvinyl Chloride
  • Inorganic Chemicals

  • Ammonia
  • Caustic Soda
  • Chlorine
  • B. Reports, Databases and/or Models Updated On An "As-Needed" Basis (2)

    • ABS Resins
    • Acrylic Acid
    • Acrylic Fiber
    • Activated Alumina
    • Adipic Acid
    • Alumina
    • Ammonium Sulfate
    • Aniline
    • Anthraquinone
    • Bisphenol-A
    • Butanediol
    • n-Butanol
    • Butyl Acrylate
    • Calcium Carbonate
    • Caprolactam
    • Carbon Black
    • Chloroprene Rubber
    • Clays
    • Coal Tar
    • Coal Tar Chemicals
    • Corn Starch
    • Corn Sweeteners
    • Cresylic Acids
    • Cumene
    • DMT/PTA
    • Plasticizers
    • Dextrose
    • Dimethyl Ether
    • Dinitrotoluene
    • EPDM Rubber
    • ETBE
    • Ethylene Dichloride
    • EVA/VAE Resins
    • and Adhesives
    • Environmental
    • Technologies
    • 2-Ethyl Hexanol
    • 2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate
    • FCC Catalysts
    • Formaldehyde
    • Fumaric Acid
    • Glycerine
    • Glyoxal
    • Hydrocarbon Resins
    • and Intermediates
    • Hydrochloric Acid
    • Hydrogen Cyanide
    • Hydrogen Peroxide
    • Industrial Gases
    • Isobutanol
    • Isophthalic Acid
    • Isoprene
    • MDI/PMDI
    • Maleic Anhydride
    • Manganese Chemicals
    • Methyl Ethyl Ketone
    • Methyl Isobutyl Ketone
    • Methyl Isopropyl Ketone
    • Mononitrobenzene
    • MTBE
    • Neopentyl Glycol
    • Nitric Acid
    • Nitrile Rubber
    • Nylon Fiber and Resins
    • Other Oxo products
    • Parachlorobenzaldehyde
    • Phenolic Resins
    • Phosgene
    • Phosphoric Acid
    • Polybutadiene Rubber
    • Polyester Fiber and Film
    • Polyvinyl Acetate
    • Polyvinylidene Chloride
    • Potash
    • Potassium Carbonate
    • Potassium Hydroxide
    • Potassium Permanganate
    • Precious Metal Catalysts
    • Prenol
    • Propylene Glycol
    • Propylene Oxide
    • Pyrethroid Intermediates
    • Resorcinol Resins
    • Rubber Chemicals
    • SB Rubber/SB Latex
    • Soda Ash
    • Sodium Chlorate
    • Sodium Cyanide
    • Sodium Methylate
    • Sodium Sulfate/Sulfite
    • Solvents
    • Soy Protein Binders
    • Styrene Block Copolymers
    • Sulfates/Sulfites
    • Sulfuric Acid
    • Sulfur Dioxide
    • Synthesis Gas
    • Tall Oil and Derivatives
    • Titanium Dioxide
    • Toluene Diamine
    • Toluene Diisocyanate
    • Trimellitic Anhydride
    • Trimethylolpropane
    • Urea
    • Urethane Elastomers
    • Vinyl Acetate Monomer
    • Vinylidene Chloride
    • Waxes
    • White Mineral Oil
    • Wood Pulp
    • Zeolite Cats/Adsorbents
    • Zinc Oxide
    • Epoxy Resins


    1. Multiclient reports are updated on an as-needed basis. Some reports have a full, quantitative work-up of supply, production, exports, imports, demand, cost, margin and price, while others only deal with one or two of these.

    2. Existing materials may include only a database or cost model, or may include a complete study. Some portions of this information are updated every year or two, while other portions may not have been updated for 10 years.

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