Asia benzene growth to be driven by expanding TDP capacity

21 November 2013 10:00 Source:ICIS News

BRUSSELS (ICIS)--Asian benzene volume growth over the next five years will be driven by expanding TDP (toluene disproportionation) capacity and the polyester chain, a European trader said this week.

TDP converts toluene to benzene and xylenes, while selective toluene disproportionation (STDP) produces a paraxylene (PX)-rich stream. 

Speaking at the 12th ICIS World Aromatics and Derivatives conference on Wednesday, Jochem Wolfis, a benzene trader with Integra, noted that with approximately 9m tonnes of PX capacity scheduled to come onstream in the next five years, this would see a corresponding growth in benzene production of around 25%.

“The key point to take away is that we will see more benzene provided that the PX capacity will run,” he added.

Despite this capacity growth, Wolfis expects that China will continue to import benzene from the southeast Asia region because of the underlying refinery and gasoline driven economics.

Benzene derivative growth in Asia over the next five years is projected at around 24-28m tonnes, a large part of which is in phenol, where capacity increases are likely to outpace GDP growth in the region.

“Operating rates, production margins and arbitrage will keep Asian benzene under control, but this does not mean we should underestimate the impact of changes in the years ahead,” Wolfis said.

The 12th ICIS World Aromatics and Derivatives conference runs from 20-21 November, 2013.

By Truong Mellor