The relatively recent and intense exploitation of US natural
gas reserves is resulting in an increased dependence on
butadiene imports, according to a report released
Tuesday from business intelligence group GBI
The business intelligence companys latest study predicts
that the disparity between butadiene production and demand will
climb in the near future as the US moves away from crude oil
and naphtha to the increasingly cheap natural gas.
The percentage of C4 hydrocarbons required for the production
of butadiene is very low in natural gas compared to crude oil
or naphtha. As a result, growing demand will necessarily
require a boost in imports.
US butadiene demand last year stood at 1.9 million tons
comparable to the 1.6 million tons the country produced.
However, GBI Research predicts demand will hit 2.4 million tons
by 2020, while butadiene yield will climb at a slower rate,
reaching 1.9 million tons by the end of the decade.
The next four years in particular are expected to be relatively
bleak in terms of butadiene production growth. Beyond that
period, a number of on-purpose technologies are currently in
development, possibly boosting overall production.
However, it will take some time for these to emerge as a viable
alternative supply option, GBI says.
The US imported 329,118 tons of butadiene last year, with
Canada, South Korea, Netherlands, China, the UK and Germany the
leading suppliers. GBI Research expects that figure to rise to
524,916 tons by 2020.