Transparent Propylene Market: Ceresana Publishes the Worldwide First Study on the Entire US Propylene Value Chain

Propylene is one of the most important base materials for the petrochemical industry. The market research institute Ceresana has now published the worldwide first complete study of the entire propylene value chain in the USA: Starting with the feedstocks gasoil, naphtha and propane, up to the several downstream products and the corresponding end markets, the complete US market for propylene is analyzed. Additionally, Ceresana offers forecasts until 2021.

Propylene – Important Petrochemical

The importance of propylene becomes apparent in its market volume. More than 14 million tonnes were consumed in the USA in 2013. Thus, propylene is the second most important petrochemical feedstock after ethylene. Downstream industries manufacture a range of products based on propylene. Direct applications include, besides the plastic polypropylene, chemicals such as propylene oxide, acrylonitrile, cumene, butyraldehyde, acrylic acid and isopropanol.

Fracking to Influence Propylene Prices

As a result of the shale gas boom, ethane became much more important for steam crackers. In contrast to other feedstocks such as naphtha or gasoil, the cracking of ethane yields a rather high amount of ethylene but only small amounts of propylene. This development has a notable influence on prices for propylene and ethylene in the USA. The change from naphtha based crackers to ethane based production reduced the supply of propylene and increased volatility of prices.

More Propylene by Dehydration of Propane

In order to counteract the supply deficit, the USA will manufacture an increasing amount of propylene from propane. Dehydrogenation of propane is a way to produce a high amount of propylene directly. Ceresana expects the share of propane in propylene production to rise to more than a third in 2021. Manufacturers are profiting from increasing propane supply in the USA.

Polypropylene Prime Application

Propylene is mainly processed into polypropylene. Ceresana forecasts US demand for this standard plastic to increase by about 2% until 2021. Polypropylene is one of the most common packaging materials. Other applications include fibers, textiles, vehicle parts, electrical devices and household goods.

Polyurethane Scoring With Versatility

The segment propylene oxide is highly dependent on the US market for polyurethane (PUR). PUR demand in the USA recovered comparatively quickly after the economic crisis hit, pre-crisis levels were already exceeded. The development on the PUR market is supported by innovations in particular, which continue to open up additional application areas. The manifold application possibilities include building insulation, cooling and refrigerating units, furniture and bedding, shoes, vehicles, varnishes, coatings, adhesives, binders, and rubber. But also the segments sports and leisure as well as electronics and electrics are reporting a rising demand for polyurethanes.

Limited Growth for Oxo Alcohols

Butyraldehyde, manufactured from propylene using oxo synthesis, is processed directly in to the oxo-alcohols butanol and 2-ethylhexanol in the USA. Butanol is used in the production of varnishes, fragrances and the syntheses of ethers and esters, while 2-ethylhexanol is, amongst others, utilized in various plasticizers. We expect downstream industries to provide only limited impulses for oxo alcohols in the near future.

The Study in Brief:

Chapter 1 depicts supply and prices of feedstocks and their effects on the propylene industry, starting with crude oil and natural gas up to gasoil, naphtha, propane, ethane and butane. Quarterly depiction of the years 2005 to 2013 and forecasts for the years 2013 to 2021 is provided.
In addition to an analysis of propylene production split by feedstock and production process, effects of the shale gas boom on prices for propylene and ethylene will be explained in detail.

Chapter 2 offers an overview over the market for propylene in the USA: market data regarding development of revenues, demand and production, current and future capacities as well as international trade are examined in detail.

Chapter 3 analyzes the market for derivatives of propylene. Data on demand, revenues, prices, costs, production, trade and a list of manufacturers including current capacities is provided for the most important applications.
Chapter 3.1 will analyze the market for polypropylene. Propylene oxide and the downstream markets propylene glycol, polyether polyol and polyurethane (PUR) will be covered under heading 3.2. Section 3.3 is dealing with the acrylonitrile value chain, from acrylonitrile to acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS)/styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN). Demand for propylene in the segment cumene is examined in regard to downstream products such as phenol and acetone as well as the plastics polycarbonate, epoxy resins, phenolic resins and methyl methacrylate (MMA).
Further sections separately depict and analyze markets for the propylene derivatives acrylic acid and isopropanol as well as for the alcohols butanol and 2-ethylhexanol.

Chapter 4 offers a useful directory of producers within the US propylene value chain. The profiles are clearly arranged according to contact details, sales, profit, product range, production sites, and summary profile.
Each profile also includes specific information about the value creation chain as well as current and future production capacities for propylene and derivatives. These are split by site and product.
Extensive profiles of 48 are given, including LyondellBasell, ExxonMobil, Shell, Dow, Ineos, BASF, Total, Braskem, Enterprise Products and DSM.

About Ceresana

Ceresana is a leading international market research and consultancy company for the industrial sector and operates branch offices in Constance, Vienna and Hong Kong. For more than 10 years, Ceresana has been supplying several thousand customers from 55 countries with up-to-date market intelligence. Extensive market knowledge creates new prospects for strategic and operational decisions.

Ceresana's clients profit from implementation-oriented consulting services, tailor-made single-client studies and more than 90 independent multi-client market studies.

Ceresana's analysts are experts in the following markets: Chemicals, plastics, additives, commodities, industrial components, consumer goods, packaging, agriculture, and construction materials.

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