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Weak gasoline creates benzene opportunity

By Paul Hodges on 29-Nov-2010

Benzene markets have become increasingly volatile over the past few years. This is because there are now no major sources available of on-purpose supply, to balance demand.

My speech at our Aromatics Conference in Berlin last week highlighted the changes that had taken place. Over the past 2 years, benzene spreads versus naphtha had fluctuated between minus $100/t and plus $400/t. Whereas historically, spreads had remained in an $80 – $200/t range, as on-purpose hydrodealkylation units (HDA) had supplied up to 20% of demand, and been able to balance the market.

The YouTube interview with ICIS’s Elaine Burridge highlights the key points, and the problems being caused for styrene markets by current tight supply conditions. It argues that the changes underway in gasoline markets offer consumers the chance to achieve a new balance, based on potentially distressed feedstock availability.