Huntsman's MA to benefit from low cost N America butane: CEO

31 July 2013 17:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based Huntsman expects its maleic anhydride (MA) business to benefit from low-cost butane, the CEO said on Wednesday.

In fact, butane should become an advantaged raw material in North America going forward, said Peter Huntsman, CEO. He made his comments during an earnings conference call.

Huntsman's process for making MA uses butane as a feedstock. In North America, Huntsman owns two MA plants in Louisiana and Florida with a combined capacity of 156,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS plants and projects.

Supplies of butane in North America have been increasing because of the advent of shale gas and shale oil.

In particular, oil producers regard butane and other natural gas liquids (NGLs) as a byproduct. As a result, they will continue producing butane as long as it remains profitable to produce crude – and regardless of pricing for butane.

Huntsman said the company should be able to hold its margins for MA as its competitors rely on different feedstock to make the material.

In the future, butane pricing should reflect that for natural gas versus its traditional reference to crude oil, Huntsman said.

In addition to making MA, butane is also used as a blendstock in US gasoline during the colder months in the country.

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By: Al Greenwood
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