03 June 1996 00:00 [Source: ACN]
SOUTHEAST Asia will remain a net importer of ethylene and propylene into the next century despite the huge increase in cracking capacity being drawn up. The propylene shortfall will still be substantial in 2000, even with the increasing contribution of refinery propylene.
Ethylene capacity will exceed 6.5m tonne/year by 1999, DeWitt's Peter Jordan forecasts. Polyethylene will remain the dominant consumer, accounting for 80% of Southeast Asian demand in 2000.
Propylene capacity of close to 3.5m tonne/year by 1999 is increasingly made up by non-cracker sources. Propylene production from Southeast Asian refineries will reach 700 000 tonne/year by 1999, Jordan says. Current propane dehydrogenation capacity could be doubled within a year or two if studies now underway are pushed forward. Polypropylene will see its dominance eroded over the period as investment increases in propylene oxide, oxo-alcohols and acrylic acid, but will still account for 80% of propylene consumption in 2000.
'Supply could be very tight from 1997, and Southeast Asian sources will be pressed to increase exports,' Jordan says. 'Asian refineries and propane dehydrogenation will become increasingly important.'
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