Process Economics Program Report 220
Ethylene Feedstock Outlook
Published: May 1999
SRIC projects that feedstocks will be adequate for petrochemical production over the next decade, even though demand for those feedstocks is growing twice as fast as the supply of petroleum based feedstocks (4%/yr versus 2%/yr). We conclude that, because petrochemical feedstocks account for only 15�20% of the total naphtha supply, it will not be necessary to resort to extraordinary processing steps.
World demand for ethylene increased by 5%/yr between 1985 and 1995, propelled mostly by meteoric growth in the Asia-Pacific Region. However, the Asian financial crisis, which began in mid-1997 and which has led to an overall industrial slow-down, is expected to lower the world ethylene growth rate to 4%/yr between 1995 and 2005. Ethylene demand is projected to rise from 70 million t/yr in 1995 to 104 million t/yr in 2005, requiring 173 million t/yr of feedstock in 1995 and 247 million t/yr in 2005.
The refining industry, the main provider of feedstocks, is expected to increase crude oil distillation capacity by 2%/yr�from 62 million b/d in 1995 to 74 million b/d in 2005. Naphtha supply is expected to increase by 180 million t/yr (4.3 million b/d) by 2005�from 881 million t/yr (21 million b/d) in 1995 to 1 billion t/yr (25.3 million b/d) in 2005. World natural gas liquids supply is expected to grow from 180 million t/yr in 1995 to 234 million t/yr by 2005 (5.7 million to 7.4 million b/d).
Taken together, the conclusions of this report and PEP Report 222, Petroleum Industry Outlook, provide insights into the interrelationships between the petrochemical and energy industries. In the future, creative resource management and appropriate technology deployment for refineries and petrochemical plants will be needed to meet increasingly strict fuel requirements and rapidly growing demand for petrochemical feedstocks.