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The ethane addiction: How long will the US advantage last?

01.01.2014  |  Wanichko, J. ,  T.A. Cook Consultants Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina

The US petrochemical price advantage gained from shale is well known, but the impact of that advantage on competition between the US and Europe is also important.

Keywords: [natural gas] [petrochemicals] [ethane] [shale gas]

The price advantage US petrochemical producers have gained from shale has been well documented, but the wider effect of that advantage on competition between Europe and the US demands equal attention. Here, the increasing use of ethane as a feedstock and its effects on the global petrochemical industry, both in terms of product availability and the market-specific nuances that affect the survival of its key players, are examined.

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Antonio D'Alessio Italy

The progressive substitution of naphta crackers with ethane crackers, will significantly reduce the production of coproducts (propylene and butadiene).. The scarcity of butadiene on the market will have devasting effects on the production of syntetic rubbers and, consequently, tyres manufacturing.
It is mandatory to develop new innovative, viable production processes for butadiene. A promising way is to produce "biobutadiene", using as raw material bioethanol, coming from fermentation of agricultural vegetal waste.
These technologies have been developed and industrialized by the Italian Chemical Industry, and are available.

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