Butadiene - C4s Prices, markets & analysis
The ICIS Butadiene report is published for Asia, Europe and the US, though the Crude C4s section is published only for Europe and the US.
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Butadiene C4s Overview
Butadiene is a gas and belongs to the olefin group of petrochemicals.
It is a very versatile raw material and is used to make synthetic rubbers, polymer resins and a wide variety of other chemical intermediates.
The largest uses for butadiene are as a feedstock for styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and butadiene rubber (BR), both components in the tyre industry. It’s also used to make acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) which also has a wide variety of uses in the automotive sector amongst others.
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Butadiene - C4s: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2016
The butadiene (BD) market in the first quarter of 2016 is expected to remain relatively flat in Europe and the US, although an ongoing cracker outage in Singapore could keep the Asia market stable-to-firm.
Shell’s cracker and its 155,000 tonne/year BD unit are expected to be offline for four-to-six months, after an unexpected shutdown in late November 2015. The prolonged disruption in supply could lead to some upside in Asia BD pricing.
However, prevailing soft demand amid a slowing Chinese economy and weak macro-economic conditions is expected to moderate any significant price hikes. Downstream synthetic rubber makers, the major consumers of BD, are expected to operate their plants at reduced rates in China, the world’s largest automotive market and world’s second largest economy.
In Europe, small improvements in demand – partially encouraged by deeper discounts for contractual volumes – are expected to offset supply length, but BD unit operating rates will continue to be tailored to suit and hydrogenation of crude C4 is also likely to remain a preferred option for some.
Meanwhile, US market participants believe that supply length and weakness in crude oil values will continue to weigh on the BD market.
US BD demand was viewed as decent-but-not-great, but there was talk of some production issues in one of the downstream sectors that could put further pressure on the market.
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Butadiene/Crude C4 Methodology
About Butadiene - C4s
Butadiene is a colourless, non corrosive liquefied gas with a mild aromatic or gasoline-like odour. It is slightly soluble in water, more soluble in methanol and ethanol, and soluble in most common organic solvents such as acetone, ether, benzene, and cyclohexane. It readily polymerises in the presence of sodium or oxygen.
Butadiene is used to produce synthetic rubbers and polymer resins, as well as a few chemical intermediates. The largest uses are styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (BR), mostly used in tyres and automobiles.
The major source of butadiene is as a byproduct in the steam cracking of naphtha and gas oil to make ethylene and propylene. The butadiene is extracted from the C4 cracker stream using extractive distillation.
Other uses include acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins, styrene-butadiene latex and block copolymers, nitrile rubber, and adiponitrile (ADN).
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