April 2004

Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Increase light olefins production

New methods based on proven FCC technology provide additional olefins source

Dharia, D., Kim, H., McCue, D., Stone & Webster Inc., A Shaw Goup Co.; Letzsch, W., The Shaw Group; Chapin, L., Stone & Webster, Inc.

Over the next 20 years, propylene demand is increasing and driven by market demand for polypropylene, acrylonitrile and phenolic resins.1 Over the last five years, propylene demand (4.5 –5%) has grown faster than demand for ethylene (3.5 – 4%). This trend is expected to continue. In 2003, the breakdown of the estimated 56.4-million-ton (MMt) market for propylene is 67% from steam crackers, 30% from FCC units and 3% from other processes. However, with the higher usage of ethane as feedstock for steam crackers, the average ratio of propylene to ethylene production (P/E ratio) has decreased and this trend is also expected to continue. This demand and supply situation will reinforc

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