ChemOrbis Europe Petrochemicals Conference: Where will feedstock markets go?
Kirby reported that oil markets still remain weak while demand is growing and the global economy is not in recession, which creates a different view relative to the 2008 oil crash. According to him, oil prices will move back into balance in 2016 as persistently low prices will begin to curtail non-OPEC oil production.
For capacity additions, he pointed out that US domestic demand for ethane is growing. Several major companies have already completed debottlenecking projects at their existing plants while several new projects are under construction now and will be started by 2020. Iran is also expected to establish new ethane-based petrochemical production sites in the near term. For Asia, meanwhile, new capacity additions will be mostly focused on the coal and methanol to olefins process in the upcoming five years.
According to Kirby, China’s aggressive capacity additions will fail to close the supply-demand gap for ethylene in the country while China will move close to self-sufficiency in propylene. Looking into derivatives, he argued that China’s PP market is still oversupplied while PE investments remain below demand requirements. China will add over 4.5 million tons of PDH capacity and 3.3 million tons of methanol to olefin capacity in 2015-2016.
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