Ethylene markets will see increased competition in the medium term between high-cost Asian and European naphtha crackers and lower-cost ethane crackers in the Middle East and the US, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In the 12 October Medium-Term Oil Market Report the agency predicted that global ethylene capacity will rise to 183.4mn tons/year in 2017 from 147.6mn t/y in 2011, equivalent to yearly growth of 3.7%.

In 2012, oil equivalent demand for ethylene production stands at 12.2mn b/d, of which 36% is ethane/LPG, 55% naphtha and nearly 8.5% ‘other products’. The US accounts for the largest share of total demand with 17%, followed by China (12%), Saudi Arabia (8%), Japan (7%) and South Korea (6%). The IEA says that one of biggest changes in recent years is the more rapid increase in Chinese demand and the emergence of Saudi Arabia as a major petrochemical hub. (CONTINUED - 487 WORDS)