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Since 2008, it has been apparent that the petrochemical supply landscape will be changing worldwide as feedstocks and technologies evolve—and we are certainly seeing that happening today.
This paper explores some of the changes taking place in the ethylene (the largest volume olefin) and aromatics arenas, but there will be an impact on methanol, propylene, ammonia and other chemicals as well. This means that across the board, petrochemical companies will need to think about adopting new business models for this shifting supply landscape.
The supply landscape is changing on several fronts, starting with North America. The use of unconventional technologies to develop shale resources is increasing gas availability and reducing gas prices significantly in this region. In addition, the shift of North American refineries to more paraffinic crudes is causing aromatics to be more expensive.
Meanwhile, the commercialization of coal-to-olefins (CTO) and methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technologies in China is adding a new olefin supply source. And in the Middle East, we are seeing limits to future gas supplies, as well as a push toward refinery-based chemicals.
These factors will affect each petrochemical chain differently.
Paul Bjacek, a senior manager in Accenture Research, leads global chemicals and natural resources research. He has more than 25 years of experience in chemicals strategy development and research, from base chemicals to specialty chemicals and polymers. Paul also frequently speaks and writes about issues affecting the global materials industry – visit his blog to learn more. He is based in Houston.
October 10, 2013
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