Process Economics Program Report 204
Economics of Petrochemical Complexes
Published: February 1991
The resurgence of the basic petrochemicals industry during the second half of the 1980s has resulted in many grassroots petrochemical complexes being planned for the early to mid-1990s, in a variety of global locations.
In this report we evaluate the economics of new petrochemical complexes in ten regions of the world, using prevailing market prices during the fourth quarter of 1989. The regions studied are Brazil, western Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Federal Republic of Germany.
We evaluate production economics for ethylene based on five alternative feedstocks (ethane, propane, butane, wide-range naphtha and atmospheric gas oil). The ethylene derivatives evaluated are high-density polyethylene, linear low-density polyethylene, ethylene glycol, ethylene dichloride, polyvinyl chloride, styrene, polystyrene, linear alpha-olefins and ethanol. Propylene derivatives evaluated are propylene homopolymer, propylene block copolymer, acrylonitrile, propylene glycol, cumene, 2-ethylhexanol and isopropyl alcohol.
We then convert the production economics for ethylene and for individual ethylene and propylene derivatives to site-specific economics for each of the ten regions. Lastly, we combine data from the individual steam cracker and olefin derivative studies to create four petrochemical complex configurations and we evaluate the region-specific production economics for each complex configuration.