The rise of on-purpose propylene technologies as world embraces shale

Gas tank in Hong Kong
Source: DollarPhotoClub

The global propylene industry is witnessing a change in the feedstock scenario in various parts of the world – a new report entitled “Global Propylene Industry – On-Purpose Technologies to Gain Prominence” has found. In North America, propylene supply from steam crackers is expected to decrease in coming years as abundant and inexpensive natural gas liquids (NGLs) feedstock from shale gas is slowly replacing heavy feedstock in steam crackers. Persistently high crude oil price is also discouraging the use of naphtha China and Europe.

To cope with the changing feedstock scenario and high crude oil prices many producers are embracing on-purpose propylene technologies which produce high quantities of propylene by using alternative feedstocks such as NGLs and coal. Use of these technologies is being witnessed mostly in Asia-Pacific and North America. For example, earlier this month, German giant BASF has announced that it is considering building a methane-to-propylene plant in the U.S. to capitalise on cheap American gas.

In Asia-Pacific, more than 50% of new capacity will come from on-purpose technologies while in North America, 100% of the new capacity will come from on-purpose technologies. With the increasing demand for propylene and uncertainty of propylene supply from stream crackers, the use of on-purpose technology will continue to increase in the future.

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