April 2018

Trends & Resources

Business Trends: Asia and Europe join the feedstock evolution with steam crackers

Steam crackers lay at the heart of petrochemical operations.

Steam crackers lay at the heart of petrochemical operations. These units process various feedstocks into the key petrochemical building blocks of ethylene, propylene, benzene, etc. In 2016, steam crackers accounted for 97% of ethylene, 47% of propylene and 32% of benzene produced worldwide. Operations at these critical units have a fundamental impact on the profitability of petrochemical manufacturers, and feedstock selection can be the most important contributor to financial success. Since the start of shale gas production in the US in 2009, natural gas liquids (NGL) production—including ethane, propane and butane—has risen sharply, and monthly production has more than doubled in the past

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