On-purpose BD may help fill global supply gap – conference

06 March 2013 19:47  [Source: ICIS news]

AMSTERDAM (ICIS)--On-purpose butadiene (BD) production could hold the key to help fill a gap in global supply in the coming years, industry participants predicted during the 8th ICIS World Olefins conference in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Conference participants, including speakers and delegates, were unanimous in forecasting that tightness in the BD market will continue, particularly in Asia where demand growth is seen outpacing supply.

Asia will have a shortfall of 500,000 tonnes already in 2013, a speaker told delegates.

One on-purpose BD project has been announced in the US, while three other units in Asia are expected to launch production in the next two years, the speaker added.

The US project, which was announced by Houston-based TPC Group in 2011, could add some 600m lb (270,000 tonnes/year) of capacity to the net-short US market by 2016.

The US company has previously said it expects that the global BD market will be short by 1.7bn lb/year by 2017.

BD supply in the US has become increasingly constrained as steam crackers in North America are producing less crude C4 because of a shift to lighter cracker feedstocks, such as ethane, which accounts for 60% of the US cracker feeds and the share of which is expected to grow further.

Crude C4, from which BD is extracted, is produced mainly through the cracking of heavier feeds, including naphtha.

BD is a key feedstock for styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), which is used in tyre manufacturing.

The 8th ICIS World Olefins conference was attended by 160 delegates from 25 different countries.

By: William Lemos
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