Global consumption of ethylene is expected to increase to 139 million metric tons by 2010 from 80.5 million tons in 1998.
World ethylene plant utilization is expected to increase to 92% by 2003 from the current level of 87%. In 2003, it is expected to decline to about 90% by 2005 before rebounding again towards 2010 (see chart).
These were among the findings of Chem Systems Inc., Tarrytown, N.Y., in a recent study that provides an outlook for worldwide ethylene supply and demand.
Forecasts were made for the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Japan, East Asia, and Oceania.
By 2010, total ethylene capacity is projected to increase by 62% over 1998 numbers, reaching almost 150 million metric tons.
The additions will involve a total investment of about $70-75 billion over the period, says Chem Systems.
The study also analyzes the cost of manufacturing ethylene in the Middle East, Venezuela, Western Canada, Malay sia, the U.S., India, Europe, Singapore, Brazil, and Japan.
It is projected that, in 2005, the ethylene producers in the Middle East will have an manufacturing cost advantage of about $250/metric ton over their counterparts in the U.S. and Western European.
Chem Systems predicted, "After the current shortage in the U.S. ethylene markets, due partially to operating problems at several olefin complexes, prices are expected to ease in late 1999 and 2000 due to lower operating rates and falling refined product prices. Thereafter, prices are expected to cycle back up and peak in 2003."