APIC ’13: Shale gas weighs on ramp-up of bio-PE production

09 May 2013 11:29  [Source: ICIS news]

TAIPEI (ICIS)--The rise of shale gas has caused expansion of the bio-based polyethylene (PE) sector to stall, an analyst said on Thursday.

The North American shale gas boom, which has led to a sharp reduction in the cost of developing PE in the region, has arrested the development of bio-based PE, one of the most developed bio-plastics sectors, according to Doris de Guzman of industry analyst Tecnon OrbiChem.

Speaking at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) in Taiwan, de Guzman said: “Bio-PE is the second-largest [bio-based chemical] in terms of global production capacity, but unfortunately there seems to be a stall in activities for bio-based PE because of the shale gas development in North America,” she said.

Bio-based PE made up 17.2% of the 1.6m tonnes of bioplastics produced in 2011, de Guzman said.

Bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (bio-PET) made up 38.9% of the total, while bio-based phthalic anhydride (bio-PA) was the third-most produced, with 1.6% of the total.

Dow Chemical and Mitsui had been scheduled to break ground on the second phase of a $1.5bn (€1.14bn) sugarcane-based ethylene and PE facility in southeast Brazil this year, but the partners made the decision in January this year to postpone development of the PE facility.

APIC is being held on 9-10 May in Taipei, Taiwan.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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