The reliable and trustworthy Raffinate 1 & 2 report is published weekly by ICIS in Europe. The independent and unbiased spot price assessments cover northwest Europe and commentary can include a general overview, upstream and downstream news, production updates, both planned and unplanned, cracker margins and any other key influencing factors impacting the market at the time of publication.
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Raffinate 1 + 2: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2017
Raffinates 1 and 2 are by-products of ethylene and propylene production in a cracker via butadiene (BD) production. The European markets are structurally thin, as the volumes are kept for captive use or are locked into long-term contracts.
Raffinate 1 is used in the manufacture of a variety of polymers, such as polyisobutylene (PIB) and butyl rubber as well as fuel components, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and alkylate gasoline.
Raffinate 2’s main use is methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). Butene 1 can be extracted from it and this is a feedstock for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE).
Raffinate 1 and 2 supply should be more balanced in the third quarter 2017 as scheduled maintenances at some crackers and butadiene (BD) units will have been completed. However, strong demand from the MTBE sector currently on the back of increased export potential could mitigate any effects.
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Raffinate 1 + 2 Methodology
About Raffinate 1 + 2
Raffinate 1 and 2 are the streams produced from the processing of crude C4 olefins made as a by-product of ethylene manufacture from the steam cracking of liquid hydrocarbons such as naphtha and gas oil. Crude C4s typically contain butadiene, isobutene (isobutylene), butene-1, butene-2 and butane.
After butadiene is extracted from the crude C4 olefins, the remaining mixture of products (isobutene, butene-1, butene-2 and butane) is called Raffinate 1. After isobutene is removed from the Raffinate 1 stream, the remaining mixture of products is called Raffinate 2.
Isobutene from the Raffinate 1 stream is used in the manufacture of a variety of polymers such as polyisobutene (PIB) and butyl rubber, and fuel components such as methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and gasoline alkylate.
Major polymer end uses include sealing compounds and adhesives for plastic products, protective coatings and cable insulating materials.
The n-butene from the Raffinate 2 stream can be used in the manufacture methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). Butene-1 is used as a comonomer in the production of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). Butene-2 can be converted to propylene in a metathesis (olefins conversion) plant.