ICIS provides reliable and trustworthy weekly price assessments for propylene in Asia, China, Europe and the US. Daily market intelligence is also available for coverage of the Asian markets. Depending on the region, quotations are for spot and contract. Our locally-based expert reporters can provide those involved with propylene or related markets with up-to-date and unbiased intelligence allowing this essential tool to be used in decision-making processes.
Market commentary gives news and analysis on day to day activity, production updates, upstream and downstream movements, import and export activity and any other key factors influencing prices.
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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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Upstream of Propylene
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Propylene: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2016
US propylene market participants in the second quarter will continue to gauge the impacts of a new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit that started up in December 2015. The PDH unit took some net buyers out of the market, making spot activity more limited and obscuring the near-term price trend. Market participants are expecting some upward pressure on pricing during the second quarter because of a heavier-than-usual cracker turnaround season and the spring refinery maintenance period. Still, the newly added capacity is expected to help offset some of those supply impacts. Additionally, the market is structurally long, and sources said that inventory levels are steady-to-rising.
In Europe, propylene supply is expected to be mostly balanced in the second quarter. While demand will be entering peak season, propylene consumption could be offset by a series of derivative turnarounds. Still, prices could be supported as the bulk of the cracker spring maintenance slate will be under way, and because of a major refinery outage through April. Propylene prices are expected to keep in line with those of the US and Asia to avoid last year’s extreme length.
Asia's propylene prices appear poised for a stable-to-soft second quarter as several new PDH and deep catalytic cracking (DCC) units come on stream in China around May-June. However, market sources largely do not expect a plunge in northeast Asian prices, because of support from the cracker turnaround season in the second quarter.
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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