Process Economics Program Report 209
Aromatics Industry Outlook
Published: June 1992
The aromatics industry today is experiencing considerable uncertainty resulting from the move toward reformulated gasoline in the United States and changes in crude oil prices. This report assesses the impact of changes occurring in the fuel markets, and is intended to help petrochemical producers and refiners identify future opportunities in the BTX aromatics market.
In this report, we examine the likely process changes and modifications that refiners will have to make in order to produce reformulated gasoline. The BTX market is closely linked to the refining industry, because the primary use of aromatics is in the gasoline pool. Petrochemical demand for aromatics is a small percentage of the total demand, and BTX consumption and production are likely to be affected by the changes in refining. We estimate the future availability of BTX aromatics from U.S. refineries based on a variety of gasoline reformulation scenarios and regional capabilities. To reduce aromatics levels in gasoline, less BTX will be produced by catalytic reforming. Nonetheless, we expect an increased volume of benzene to be extracted from the gasoline pool, which will in turn reduce the amount of toluene used to make benzene via hydrodealkylation (HDA).
We present worldwide and regional BTX supply and demand balances for the recent past and SRI's projections for 1995 and 2000. A buildup in new BTX capacity since the late 1980s, combined with an economic recession, have caused a downcycle in the BTX industry. While BTX demand is forecast to increase worldwide following economic recovery, overcapacity will continue for the next several years.
A forecast of future BTX prices, including a crude oil price scenario, is also presented.