28 January 2008 00:00 [Source: ICB]
2006: 125m lbs (56,700 tonnes) 2007: 126m lbs 2011: 131m lbs, projected. Demand equals production plus imports (estimated to average 4m lbs/year) less exports (estimated to average 25m lbs/year). Imports and exports of triethylene glycol (TEG) have not been reported by the US Census Bureau since 1998. Source: ICIS Chemical Business
Historical (2002-2007): 1%/year. Future: 1%/year through 2011. Source: ICIS Chemical Business
Historical (2002-2007): High, 90 cents/lb, contract, Gulf, tanks, FOB low, 32 cents/lb, same basis. Current: 86-90 cents/lb, same basis. Source: ICIS pricing
Natural gas dehydration, 58% solvents, 11% plasticizers, 11% polyurethanes (PU), 7% humectants, 4% unsaturated polyester resins, 3% miscellaneous, including coating resins and textile lubricants, 6%. Source: ICIS Chemical Business
The major use of TEG is in the drying of natural gas, due to its strong hygroscopic nature. TEG is favored over other, chemically similar desiccants such as monoethylene glycol (MEG) and diethylene glycol (DEG) because of its higher boiling point, viscosity and specific gravity. Gas dehydration accounts for nearly 60% of TEG's consumption and is its primary growth segment - growing at about 1.8%/year for the past five years.
TEG's growth in applications other than natural gas drying is likely to remain stagnant, as TEG competes at a cost disadvantage with other glycols in these segments. Consequently, its use is limited to those applications where its higher boiling point or lower volatility is valued. These application areas are stable, if not actually growing in volume.
Like DEG, TEG is a by-product of MEG manufacturing. But unlike DEG, TEG is not produced in excess of market demand. To meet market demand, additional TEG is manufactured from DEG, with the addition of ethylene oxide (EO).
The market for TEG has been tight in recent times because of steadily increasing demand, but also because of constraints in the supply side, in addition to limited production capacity.
DEG has been tight, as producers channel EO away from MEG into alternative EO derivatives, like ethanol amines for instance, which have more attractive margins. As a result of the tight supply situation, and increasing feedstock costs, pricing for TEG has increased by 15%/year over the past five years.
The market for TEG has become considerably tighter this year, following the lead of ethylene and DEG.
The firm demand and tight supply situation has driven up TEG prices to new highs - about 20% above last year's average price range.
The tight supply situation and high pricing are expected to continue for at least the short term as the fundamental problem facing the ethylene glycols (EGs) market is a lack of new capacity and a tight supply situation for DEG.
Over the forecast period, TEG demand in the US is anticipated to rise by 1%/year.
US triethylene glycol capacity, millions of lbs/year
|Dow Chemical||Taft, Louisiana||40|
|Eastman Chemical||Longview, Texas||8|
|Equistar Chemicals||Bayport, Texas||25|
|Formosa Plastics||Point Comfort, Texas||5|
|Huntsman||Port Neches, Texas||8|
|Old World Industries||Clear Lake, Texas||11|
|PD Glycol||Beaumont, Texas||9|
|Shell Chemicals||Geismar, Louisiana||24|
SOURCE: ICIS CHEMICAL BUSINESS
*Million lbs/year of triethylene glycol (TEG) derived as a coproduct in the manufacture of monoethylene glycol, from ethylene oxide (EO) hydration, and "on-purpose" TEG production by reacting diethylene glycol (DEG) with EO. The industry generally operates to minimize by-products formation in ethylene glycol (EG) production. Thus, about half the TEG demand is satisfied by synthesis from DEG. Capacities are nameplate. Actual production depends on both the production level and grade of EG produced.
Profile last published November 15, 2004
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