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 Q4 2018
A heavy spate of cracker and BD unit shutdowns in the fourth quarter in Asia is expected to tighten supply during this period. South Korea’s Lotte Chemical and LG Chemical as well as China’s Shanghai SECCO and Fujian Refining Petrochemical (FREP) are scheduled to shut for maintenance in this quarter.
Demand may pick up in China after the National Day holidays on 1-7 October as the downstream SR and ABS makers are expected to re-stock their inventories. However, demand in South Korea, which is also a major consumer of BD, may slow down during this period ahead of the year-end festive holiday.
Planned cracker and butadiene unit maintenances should keep BD supply constrained through the first half of the fourth quarter, improving towards year end. However, supply could be restricted further depending on the ethylene market and its development in the face of new US capacities as growing ethylene length could lead to lower cracker operating rates and constraints on crude C4 production.
European butadiene demand in the domestic sector is likely to remain fairly constant through most of the fourth quarter but year-end working capital considerations could see offtake slow down in the last month. Export demand is more unpredictable and has started the quarter on a slow basis, but activities could pick up towards the end of the year, for early 2019 deliveries.
US BD supply in the fourth quarter is expected to improve as new crackers scheduled to come on line should increase production of crude C4 feedstocks. Despite an increased usage of lighter feedstocks, the increased volume should result in more co-products like crude C4. US capacity to process the additional crude C4 is expected to be adequate.
US BD demand is expected to be mixed in the fourth quarter. Demand into the tyre sector, the largest consumer of US BD, is expected to increase. However, some of this may be offset by recent moves to limit BD in tyre formulations. Demand into the construction sector is expected to decline as winter begins.
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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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