APIC '07: Japan ethylene op rates to fall to 70-80%

17 May 2007 05:08  [Source: ICIS news]

By Jane Gibson

TAIPEI (ICIS news)--Operating rates at Japanese ethylene plants could fall as low as 70-80% in 2010 due to China’s increasing self-sufficiency in ethylene production and the rise in imports from the Middle East into Asia, a report on Thursday showed.

The lower ethylene production rates could also create a propylene deficit, Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPIC) said.

The deficit will encourage the uptake of other technologies such as olefin conversion technology (OCT), fluid catalytic cracking and (FCC) and deep catalytic cracking (DCC), it added in a country report released at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference.

Increasing integration between the refining industry and the petrochemical sector will therefore be essential if Japan is to increase the cost competitiveness of the petrochemical industry, said JPIC.

 The use of surplus heavy oil and attaching added value products to unused by-product fractions out of the refinery are two possible ways of increasing integration between the two sectors.

High and volatile crude and naphtha prices meanwhile, mean that diversifying raw materials is essential if the Japanese industry is to remain competitive. The joint use of H-NGL, butane and gas oil, along with other materials, will become more common as a result, said the association.

The rise in crude prices is also encouraging the development of energy saving technologies.

JPIC said that working at a regional level and improving integration within petrochemical complexes through schemes such as The Research Association for Refinery Integration for group Operation (RING) will be more effective than companies acting on their own.

The introduction of LNG gas turbines and the efficient implementation of by-product gases and cold energy will help to cut green house gas emissions.

By: Jane Gibson
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