14 April 2008 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Ethyl acetate (etac) is an active solvent that is mainly used in industrial lacquers and surface coating resins. It is also used as an extraction solvent in the production of pharmaceuticals and food, and as a carrier solvent for herbicides. Miscellaneous uses include adhesives and cosmetics.
The European market is quite balanced, with ample supply available. Demand is good and steady, although one producer cited poor demand in the first quarter as dollar-based imports undermined sales. Imports continue to arrive at usual levels.
UK major INEOS has acquired rival BP's vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) and etac businesses effective from April 1. The deal includes a 250,000 tonne/year etac plant in Hull, UK.
Prices in Europe have been bumping along the low-€900s/tonne since mid-2007. Current business is being done in the range €900-920/tonne, although there is talk of deals below this level. High and volatile ethylene feedstock costs continue to challenge margins for ethylene-based players. European prices are higher than those in the US and China, rendering euro-based material uncompetitive.
Several new technologies have been commercialized. BP's Avada process at the Hull plant uses ethylene and acetic acid, with a solid catalyst, and is targeted at locations where competitive ethanol is unavailable.
Davy Process Technology of the UK has licensed its ethanol-based process to South African chemical producer Sasol. In this route, ethanol is dehydrogenated to acetaldehyde, which reacts further to form etac.
China National Petroleum has developed a one-step ethanol process where ethanol is partially oxidized to acetic acid and then esterified with excess ethanol.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Etac is a colorless, mobile and volatile liquid, with a characteristic fruity odor. It is highly flammable and can form explosive mixtures with air. Flashback can occur in a fire as its vapors are heavier than air. Etac is moderately toxic by inhalation.
In Europe, demand is forecast to be flat, or even contract slightly as consumption by the local paints and inks sector shrinks as production moves eastwards. Global demand growth is put at 3-4%/year, driven by demand for surface coatings in Southeast Asia and China. Strong growth in the Middle East is being seen in inks and flexible packaging.
Players talk of the possibility of future consolidation in Europe as ethylene-based producers struggle to compete against more profitable ethanol-based production, which is tipped to gain market share in the short term. Europe could become more reliant on imports to satisfy demand of more than 300,000 tonnes/year.
Three projects are planned: one each in Japan, India and China for 2009-2010.
MAJOR GLOBAL ETHYL ACETATE CAPACITY*, '000 TONNES/YEAR
|Carbohim - Wood and Chemical||Nizhny Novgorod, Russia||30|
|Celanese||La Cangrejera, Mexico||92|
|Pampa, Texas, US||60|
|Pulau Sakra, Singapore||60|
|Changhua Chemical||Jiangyin, China||40|
|Chiba Ethyl Acetate||Ichihara, Japan||50|
|Eastman Chemical||Kingsport, Tennessee, US||27|
|Longview, Texas, US||32|
|International Ester||Ulsan, South Korea||75|
|IOL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals||Ludhiana, India||33|
|Jiangmen Handsome Chemical Development||Jiangmen, China||140|
|Jiangsu Sopo Chemical||Zhenjiang, China||270|
|Jilin Fuel Ethanol||Jilin, China||50|
|Jubilant Organosys||Gajraula, India||26|
|Korea Alcohol Industrial||Ulsan, South Korea||25|
|Kyowa Hakko Kogyo||Yokkaichi, Japan||40|
|Laxmi Organic Industries||Mahad, India||35|
|Nanchang Ganjiang Solvent Plant||Nanchang, China||80|
|Rhodia Brasil||Paulinia, Brazil||100|
|Sasol||Secunda, South Africa||55|
|Shandong Jinyimeng Chemical||Linshu County, China||180|
|Shanghai Wujing Chemical||Wujing, China||200|
|Showa Denko||Nanyo, Japan||150|
|Showa Esterindo Indonesia||Merak, Indonesia||60|
|Somaiya Organo Chemicals||Sakarwadi, India||50|
|Svensk Etanolkemi||Domsjo, Sweden||35|
|Yangtze River Acetyls||Chongqing, China||80|
|NOTE: * excludes plants under 20,000 tonnes/year|
Profile last published November 3, 2003
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