AFPM '12: On-purpose BD to meet supply crunch ­– TPC

01 April 2012 23:46  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--The growing supply crunch of butadiene (BD) will likely be met by on-purpose production, the head of US-based TPC Group said on Sunday.

TPC Group expects that the world will be short by 1.7bn lb/year (771,000 tonnes/year) of BD by 2017, said Michael McDonnell, the petrochemical producer's president. He made his comments at the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), which is hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

"The product is critically short and by no small amount," McDonnell said. "That has to be fulfilled in some way."

TPC's forecast assumes modest demand growth, and it does not assume that high BD prices could destroy demand, McDonnell said. Also, the forecast does not include TPC's planned on-purpose BD plant in Houston, which could start during the later half of this decade.

That plant could have a capacity of 600m lb/year (270,000 tonnes/year)..

TPC Group has made no new plant announcements beyond the on-purpose BD plant or its isobutylene plant.

Nearly all of the world's BD is produced by extracting the monomer from crude C4. Crude C4, in turn, is produced from cracking heavy feedstock such as naphtha.

In the US, crackers have switched to lighter natural-gas-based feedstock because of the advent of shale gas. This trend had reduced production of crude C4.

TPC Group produced BD through crude C4 extraction.

However, the company also owns the Oxo-D technology, which is used in on-purpose BD production.

BD is used to produce styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), butyl rubber and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) among others.

The IPC lasts through Tuesday.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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