Coal chemicals wave sweeps China

By Malini Hariharan

A few months back the blog had expressed sceptism on a Chinese company’s plans for a methanol-to-olefins (MTO) project based on imported methanol. The economics of such projects appear doubtful but many Chinese companies are looking to go down the same road.

In its annual review on China’s coal chemical industry, Consultancy ASIACHEM states that “a number of enterprises in China’s coast regions are planning to take the advantages of good logistic conditions and the adjacency to consuming market and invest in MTO projects based on outsourced methanol”.

Ningbo Heyuan, Dalian Dahua Fujia, Zhejiang Xingxing New Energy Technology, Jiangsu Shenghong Group and Chia Tai Energy Chemical have announced plans for such projects. And Ningbo Heyuan has even secured financial support and started construction of a 1.8m tonnes/year MTO plant. The project, which would yield 600,000 tonnes/year of ethylene, is scheduled to be onstream by 2012, says AsiaChem.

The successful commissioning of Shenhua Batou’s MTO project last year and availability of local technology has spurred interest in MTO projects.

shenhua baotou.jpg
Pic source: Shenhua

Asiachem estimates that more than 20 MTO and methanol-to-propylene (MTP) projects with a total capacity of 10m tonnes/year have been planned. The blog has so far counted 12 projects – details available in this file china coal chemical projects.xlsx.

Interest in coal-based monotheylene glycol (MEG) projects is also picking up with more than 20 projects in the pipeline.

The coal-to-chemicals wave is here to stay.

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