Nearly half of the worlds ethylene will be
produced from ethane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by
2023, mostly at the expense of naphtha.
These findings were made available Friday in ESAI
Energys new study, entitled A Perfect Storm: Global Natural Gas
The shift in the global ethylene feedstock slate is driven by
ethane-based capacity in the US and the Middle East, and low natural
gas prices in the US and Saudi
Global ethylene production will expand from 127
million tpy in 2012 to 174 million tpy by 2023, an
increase of 47 million tpy. Of this growth, 24 million tons of
production will be ethane and LPG based, and 15 million tons
will be naphtha-based production.
The feedstock shift is most dramatic in
North America, where prolific shale gas
production yields cheap ethane in the US and is driving a
petrochemical resurgence. By 2023,
total planned ethane-based ethylene capacity additions amount
to an impressive 11 million tpy.
Increased ethane use in North America will mark the
return of that region as a highly competitive ethylene
derivatives producer and exporter, said Vivek
Mathur of ESAI Energy.
By 2023, North American exports of key ethylene derivatives
could grow to over 10 million tpy, which would double
todays levels. Exports will target not only Latin
America but also Europe and Asia, competing directly with
Middle Eastern exporters.
The increased substitution of naphtha by ethane,
however, will also impact the supply of other petrochemical by-products,
said Mathur. We are looking at lower production of
relatively higher value petrochemicals like propylene and