12 September 2013 13:11 [Source: ICIS news]
BRUSSELS (ICIS)--European ethylene oxide (EO) demand in the next five years will continue to be supported by growing demand for ethoxylates, an industry consultant said on Thursday.
Speaking at the 2nd ICIS European Surfactants Conference in Brussels, Belgium, John Hodgkinson, business manager, EG, EO and derivatives at Technon OrbiChem, predicted that ethoxylate demand will grow by 1.7% over the next five years.
Ethoxylates are added to alcohols and phenols to give surfactants.
“The [ethoxylate] forecast is 1.7% growth to 2018, which is fairly good for a mature market. For ethanolamines it is about 1.6%, with e-series glycols ethers around 0.7%,” he said.
“This is good news for major EO producers, since they are also ethoxylate producers. But the problem in Europe is available capacity and consumption. A good year for ethoxylates and ethanolamines will bring tightness to the [EO] market,” Hodgkinson added.
However, monoethylene glycol (MEG) is the major derivative for EO – and this market is driven by polyester fibre demand in Asia and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in Europe.
When looking at EO demand and taking MEG out of the equation, the consultant put ethoxylate at 50% of global EO demand.
The 2nd ICIS European Surfactants Conference runs until Friday, 13 September.
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