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Ethylene price index

This post is a summary of the Ethylene price developments. The price developments of Ethylene are expressed in US$ prices converted FX rates applicable at the time when the price was valid. Ethylene price index developments are calculated from multiple separate sources of data to ensure statistical accuracy.

The outlook for Ethylene prices, on the second tab, is generated from different inputs including:

  • Very recent price developments of immediate cost drivers of Ethylene prices
  • Recent price developments of underlying feedstocks which drive the price of Ethylene
  • Market futures for both cost drives and feedstocks of Ethylene prices
  • Adjustment of current supply/demand imbalances in the Ethylene market
  • Longer term trends in likely demand conditions

Further information on the Ethylene Asia price chart

What is Ethylene

Ethylene (also known as ethene) is a hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C2H4. It is a colorless, flammable gas with a sweet, fruity aroma. Ethylene is the simplest alkene (a hydrocarbon with a carbon-carbon double bond) and is an important industrial chemical.

Ethylene is produced on a large scale and is used in a variety of applications, including the production of plastics, fibers, and rubber. It is also used as a chemical intermediate in the production of a wide range of chemicals, including solvents, detergents, and explosives.

Ethylene is produced from a variety of feedstocks, including natural gas, coal, and crude oil. It is commonly produced through the steam cracking of hydrocarbons, in which high-temperature steam is used to break down larger hydrocarbons into smaller molecules, including ethylene. It can also be produced by the fermentation of sugar or the partial oxidation of ethanol.

Ethylene is a highly reactive chemical and can be polymerized (linked together) to form a variety of polyethylene plastics, which are used in a wide range of applications, including packaging, construction, and automotive parts.

 

How is Ethylene produced

Ethylene is produced on a large scale and is used in a variety of applications, including the production of plastics, fibers, and rubber. It is commonly produced through the steam cracking of hydrocarbons, in which high-temperature steam is used to break down larger hydrocarbons into smaller molecules, including ethylene.

There are several methods for producing ethylene, including:

Steam cracking

Steam cracking is the most common method for producing ethylene. In this process, a feedstock, such as natural gas, naphtha (a liquid hydrocarbon mixture), or ethane (a hydrocarbon found in natural gas), is heated to a high temperature (800-1200°C) in the presence of steam. The steam helps to break down the feedstock into smaller molecules, including ethylene, propylene, and other hydrocarbons.

Partial oxidation of ethanol

Ethylene can also be produced by the partial oxidation of ethanol. In this process, ethanol is mixed with oxygen and heated to a high temperature (500-700°C). The reaction produces ethylene and water.

Fermentation

Ethylene can be produced by the fermentation of sugar. In this process, sugar is fermented by bacteria to produce acetic acid, which is then converted into ethylene and water through the process of thermal decomposition.

Thermal decomposition of ethane

Ethylene can also be produced by the thermal decomposition of ethane, a hydrocarbon found in natural gas. In this process, ethane is heated to a high temperature (700-900°C) in the absence of oxygen. The reaction produces ethylene and hydrogen.

Cracking of heavy oils

Ethylene can be produced by the cracking of heavy oils, such as crude oil or tar sands. In this process, the heavy oil is heated to a high temperature (700-1000°C) and subjected to high pressure. The reaction produces a range of hydrocarbons, including ethylene.

 

What is Ethylene used for

Ethylene is a versatile chemical that is used in a wide range of applications. Some common uses for ethylene include:

Plastics

Ethylene is used as a feedstock for the production of a variety of plastics, including polyethylene, polystyrene, and PVC. These plastics are used in a wide range of applications, including packaging, construction, and automotive parts.

Fibers

Ethylene is used as a feedstock for the production of fibers, including polyester and nylon. These fibers are used in clothing, carpets, and other textiles.

Rubber

Ethylene is used as a feedstock for the production of synthetic rubber, which is used in the manufacture of tires and other rubber products.

Chemical intermediate

Ethylene is used as a chemical intermediate in the production of a wide range of chemicals, including solvents, detergents, and explosives.

Agricultural chemicals

Ethylene is used in the production of agricultural chemicals, including herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides.

Food preservation

Ethylene is used to control the ripening of fruits and vegetables. It is also used to preserve the freshness of cut flowers.

Medicine

Ethylene is used as a starting material in the production of some medications, including antihistamines and antidepressants.

 

What types of Ethylene are there

There are several types of ethylene, which differ in terms of their purity and the presence of impurities or additives. Some common types of ethylene include:

Technical grade ethylene

Technical grade ethylene is a lower-purity form of ethylene that is used as a feedstock in a variety of industrial applications. It may contain impurities and may not meet the purity standards for food or pharmaceutical use.

Food grade ethylene

Food grade ethylene is a higher-purity form of ethylene that is suitable for use in food and beverages. It meets the purity standards set by regulatory agencies for use in food and drinks.

Pharmaceutical grade ethylene

Pharmaceutical grade ethylene is an ultra-pure form of ethylene that meets the purity standards set by regulatory agencies for use in pharmaceuticals. It is used as a starting material in the production of medications and other healthcare products.

Synthetic ethylene

Synthetic ethylene is produced through chemical synthesis rather than steam cracking or partial oxidation. It may be of a higher purity than naturally-derived ethylene and may be used in applications that require a very pure feedstock.

Blended ethylene

Blended ethylene is a mixture of ethylene with one or more other chemicals. It may be used in a variety of applications depending on the specific blend of chemicals.

 

Which countries produce the most Ethylene

Ethylene is produced in many countries around the world. Some of the major producers of ethylene include:

China

China is the largest producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of over 70 million tons.

United States

The United States is the second-largest producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of around 50 million tons.

Russia

Russia is the third-largest producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of around 25 million tons.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a major producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of around 20 million tons.

Iran

Iran is also a significant producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of around 15 million tons.

South Korea

South Korea is a major producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of around 10 million tons.

India

India is a significant producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of around 8 million tons.

Belgium

Belgium is also a major producer of ethylene, with an annual production capacity of around 7 million tons.

 

How big is the Ethylene market

The ethylene market is a significant and growing industry, with a global demand of over 150 million tons per year. The market is driven by the increasing demand for plastics, fibers, and rubber, as well as the growing demand for chemical intermediates and agricultural chemicals.

Ethylene is used in a wide range of applications, including the production of plastics, fibers, rubber, chemicals, and agricultural products. It is also used as a chemical intermediate in the production of a wide range of chemicals, including solvents, detergents, and explosives. The demand for these products is expected to continue to grow, driving the demand for ethylene.

The ethylene market is highly competitive, with a large number of companies operating in the industry. The major players in the market include ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron Phillips Chemical, SABIC, and BASF. These companies have significant production capacity and hold a large share of the global market.

According to https://oec.world/ :

Ethylene are the world’s 596th most traded product.

In 2020, the top exporters of Ethylene were Netherlands ($682M), South Korea ($608M), United Kingdom ($587M), Japan ($502M), and United States ($401M).

In 2020, the top importers of Ethylene were China ($1.35B), Belgium ($921M), Indonesia ($552M), Germany ($432M), and Sweden ($360M).

Further information

 

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