The ICIS Butadiene report is published for Asia, Europe and the US, though the Crude C4s section is published only for Europe and the US.
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Updated to Q3 2018
Several cracker maintenance shutdowns in Q3 are expected to tighten supply. South Korea’s Lotte Chemical, Taiwan’s FPCC and Singapore’s PCS are all slated for maintenance during this period. Production issues in Japan, with Maruzen Petrochemical’s Keiyo Ethylene cracker unexpectedly running at reduced rates from late June, may further tighten supply.
The downstream synthetic rubber plants, which were shut earlier in June and July, are expected to ramp up their operating rates from August onwards. Plants for the other derivative, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), are also expected to run at near optimal rates in the third quarter, bolstering demand for BD.
Light feedstock cracking is set to persist given the ongoing advantage to cracker operators in terms of cracker margins over naphtha cracking. Further constraints on operating rates due to high summer temperatures could impact more significantly on BD output, but no maintenance outages are planned during the third quarter.
Domestic demand for BD is expected to remain on a firm footing, although there will likely be some reductions in offtakes in certain areas for seasonal reasons and derivative maintenance. Export demand is robust and after a small pause in May-June, there are signs that export demand from the key Asia market is returning.
Supply increases for US butadiene (BD) are expected to come from slightly improved production of BD and upstream crude C4, and increased avaialbity of imported product from Europe, following softening demand from Asia for European material.
Falling prices on increased supply and healthy economic indicators are leading most US BD buyers to expect strong consumption in the third quarter. Most of the demand growth is coming from plastics-related sectors, as rubber-related end-uses are still seeing low levels of demand growth.
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The major source of butadiene is as a by-product in the steam cracking of naphtha and gas oil to make ethylene and propylene.
Butadiene is a colourless, non corrosive liquefied gas with a mild aromatic or gasoline-like odour. It is slightly soluble in water, more soluble in methanol and ethanol, and soluble in most common organic solvents such as acetone, ether, benzene, and cyclohexane. It readily polymerises in the presence of sodium or oxygen.
Butadiene is used to produce synthetic rubbers and polymer resins, as well as a few chemical intermediates. The largest uses are styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (BR), mostly used in tyres and automobiles.
The major source of butadiene is as a byproduct in the steam cracking of naphtha and gas oil to make ethylene and propylene. The butadiene is extracted from the C4 cracker stream using extractive distillation.
Other uses include acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins, styrene-butadiene latex and block copolymers, nitrile rubber, and adiponitrile (ADN).
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December 5, 2018 // The Maxwell New York City
Exploring the drivers for the future of the US butadiene market