HOUSTON (ICIS)--Exports are expected to play a role in the US ethylene glycol (EG) markets as new capacity comes online in the future.
For most of this year, the markets are likely to be balanced-to-tight due to turnaround activity and stronger demand.
However, this has the potential to change with new projects that are slated to start production (see below).
It is widely believed that the domestic market will be unable to absorb all of the new EG capacity, thereby putting downward pressure on prices and facilitating exports to China.
As a result, while the US is currently a net importer, the country could eventually shift to being a net exporter.
It also raises the question of whether producers that currently import EG into the US would continue to do so when additional capacity hits the market.
The CC Polymers' polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant could support some domestic consumption if it comes online as market players expect in late 2019.
Major glycol producers in the US include Eastman Chemical, Huntsman, Indorama Ventures, LyondellBasell, Nan Ya Plastics, Shell Chemical and MEGlobal.