Propylene Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS offers trusted and reliable market intelligence for those buying or selling Propylene or related products in the global Propylene market.
Our reporters across Asia, Europe and the US keep in touch with local markets, bringing you price assessments, in-depth news and analysis which you can rely on to guide you in your commercial decisions.
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Propylene overview Transcript
Propylene is a gas and belongs to the olefin group of petrochemicals. Along side ethylene it is one of the most important building blocks in the petrochemical industry.
Propylene consumption is dominated by the production of polypropylene, which accounts for about 60% of global propylene demand. Other important derivatives of propylene are: acrylonitrile, propylene oxide, acrylic acid and oxo-alcohols. All of these have a wide variety of uses in the industrial and commercial sectors.
Propylene is primarily produced along side ethylene in the steam cracking process, the steam cracking of petroleum based products such as gasoline, naphtha and LPG. Propylene is also produced as a by-product of gasoline manufacture in fluid catalytic crackers (FCC's) in refineries.
There is also the propylene dehydrogenation route for the production of propylene.
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Propylene news and market information products from ICIS
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News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to Propylene
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Upstream of Propylene
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Propylene: Market overview
The European propylene market has started 2014 on a firm footing, largely attributed to inventory builds and some ongoing, unplanned production issues, and players are not expecting any significant shifts in structural demand levels. While there are no scheduled cracker maintenance shutdowns until the second quarter, there are planned outages on refinery-based propylene production and at a large propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility during the first quarter. This, together with the tendency to crack lighter feedstocks because of an economic advantage, could see European propylene supply on a tight leash. A further squeeze on supply could come depending on ethylene derivative performance, which, if poor, could result in further cuts in cracker rates. Price-wise, the tendency is for a stable-to-upward direction throughout the first quarter in terms of contract prices, though this will hinge to a large extent on upstream crude and naphtha developments. Spot prices are generally expected to keep close to the prevailing contract price.
The US propylene market is expected to start 2014 strong before prices soften on concerns of demand destruction ahead of the peak season, when prices will likely increase again. The volatility is largely stemming from tight supply, which is expected to be a dominant theme in the market as lighter feedstocks are favoured for most crackers. Overall demand is expected to be steady, but firm prices could bring about demand destruction if it leads to polypropylene (PP) losing market share to other polymers.
Asian propylene prices are expected to remain strong in the first quarter on the back of a series of shutdowns at crackers and propylene units. Up to 13 northeast Asian crackers, including six units in Japan, are expected to shut for maintenance in the first half of the year, starting from February. Four propylene units are also scheduled to commence their shutdown maintenance in February and March. Buying activity in the key Chinese market, however, has slowed down as a result of the weak performance of the downstream PP industry, and market players said China’s spot demand could remain tepid if that major derivative sector fails to see a pick-up after the 31 January-6 February Lunar New Year holiday.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
News & analysis
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Propylene is a colourless, flammable gas that burns with yellow, sooty flames. It is a dangerous fire risk because it is highly flammable and explosive when mixed with air or oxygen.
The dominant outlet for propylene is polypropylene (PP). Propylene is also used to produce acrylonitrile (ACN), propylene oxide (PO), a number of alcohols, cumene and acrylic acid.
The two main sources of propylene are as a byproduct from the steam cracking of liquid feedstocks such as naphtha as well as LPGs, and from off-gases produced in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units in refineries. The remainder of propylene is produced using on-purpose technologies such as propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and metathesis.
Propylene is highly flammable and needs to be stored in pressurised or refrigerated tanks.
Upstream of Propylene
Downstream of Propylene