Propylene production is undergoing a dramatic shift, with the US expected to become a net exporter by 2017, according to a new study released by Argus Media.
Rising production of propane from US shale formations, along with shifts to heavier feedstocks in the Middle East and lighter feeds in Europe are affecting propylene supply more than any other product. No product in the petrochemical chain is expected to undergo more changes in upstream sourcing, production and economics over the next few years than propylene.
US and Chinese producers in particular are investing heavily in propane dehydrogenation, or PDH, technology, which converts propane into propylene to fill the supply gap caused by slower growth in ethylene cracker capacity and lighter cracker feedstocks output. Argus DeWitt expects global propylene demand to lag behind capacity growth, creating a global surplus, assuming all planned capacity is built. With propylene as the base for many everyday products such as plastics, automotive parts and synthetic fibers for clothing, this signals an important trend for many businesses.
“The propylene industry has gone from stagnation five years ago to continuous expansion for the foreseeable future,” Argus Media chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks said. “The 2014 Argus DeWitt Propylene Annual will be a valuable resource for those affected by the changing dynamics of the propylene market.”
Olefins, such as propylene, are the largest and most liquid petrochemicals markets in the world.
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