The ethylene production capacity in the world is likely to rise at a robust pace in 2012, according to a report by Oil & Gas Journal.
World ethylene capacity has gradually risen from 119.6 million tons per year (tpy) in 2007 to 126.7 million tpy in 2008, 130 million tpy in 2009, 138 million tpy in 2010 and around 141 million tpy in 2011.
In 2011, two new world-scale ethylene plants came up – a 1.2 million tpy plant in Saudi Arabia and a 1.3 million tpy plant in Venezuela. In comparison, eight new ethylene plants went operational in 2010 with a total capacity of 8.65 million tpy.
For 2012, OGJ predicts the global ethylene production capacity to rise swiftly by 6.5 million tpy, if all projects that are currently underway commence operations as per their schedules.
However, new capacity addition in 2013 may again decrease to little over 2 million tpy. But post-2013, the capacity would again continue to increase at rapid pace, according to the OGJ.
Several ethylene capacity expansion projects are currently underway in various parts of the world.
In Africa, Japanese company Toyo Engineering Corp. and ENPPI, under the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum, are jointly constructing a 460,000 tpy ethylene plant in Alexandria, which is scheduled to commence operations in early 2015.
In Asia, ExxonMobil Chemical Co. has begun commissioning its second petrochemical plant in Singapore last year. The project includes a 1 million tpy ethylene steam cracker, a 450,000 tpy polypropylene unit, and a 340,000 tpy benzene production unit.
An 800,000 tpy ethylene project is coming up in central China as a joint venture of South Korea’s SK Group and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec).
In May this year, Sinopec and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. announced setting up of the world’s largest and most advanced ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymer (EPT) production plant in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. The plant is scheduled to commence production in first quarter of 2014.
In the Middle East, ethylene and related projects are coming up at a quicker pace. The Government of Qatar is investing US$ 25 billion to more than double its current petrochemical production capacity of 9.2 million tpy to 23 million tpy by 2020. Likewise, new EPT projects are also envisaged in Saudi Arabia.