Petrochemicals: China demand for benzene to rise

23 August 2012 10:40  [Source: ICB]

Demand for benzene in China is expected to reach close to 1m tonnes in 2015 on the back of high consumption from downstream sectors, an industry executive said.

China's demand for crude-based and coal-based benzene will total around 800,000 tonnes and 180,000 tonnes respectively in 2015, said Cao Yang, deputy manager of the sales division at state-owned refining firm Sinopec.


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High consumption from downstream will boost benzene demand


Yang was speaking at the 10th China International BTX Forum 2012 conference, which ran from August 15-17 in Xi'an, China.

An estimated 840,000 tonnes of benzene in China in 2015 will be consumed for the production of four chemicals - styrene monomer (SM), phenol, cyclohexane (CX) and aniline, according to Yang.

"I believe that most of the demand and price fluctuations of benzene seen in the domestic China market would come mainly from downstream demand," Yang said.

Downstream demand for benzene in China is expected to total about 200,000 tonnes in 2012, compared with the 109,000 tonnes of supply available domestically, he said.

However, Sinopec is not expected to bring onstream its new benzene unit at Fushun in December this year to meet this gap in supply as demand will traditionally slow towards the year-end, Yang said.

"The timing of the demand is not always in sync with the availability of supply, hence I do not believe that we can deduce immediately that there is a shortage of benzene just by comparing the numbers," he said.

Yang said that Sinopec as a state-run firm carries a responsibility towards the Chinese market and will take the requirements from downstream sectors very seriously in assessing its price offers.

Sinopec will not favor any particular industry and will continue to set its prices based on the broad market situation as the leading producer in China, he added.

By: Jasmine Khoo
+65 6780 4359

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