European polyethylene market outlook more bearish than PP’s: Borealis – The outlook for the European polyethylene market is more bearish than that of polypropylene – European polyethylene market PP Borealis

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European polyethylene market outlook more bearish than PP’s: Borealis

Rotterdam (Platts)-

The outlook for the European polyethylene market is more bearish than that of polypropylene, Borealis’ vice-president for polyolefins marketing and new business development, Maria Ciliberti, said Tuesday at the S&P Global Platts European Petrochemicals Conference in Rotterdam.

“The short-term capacity increases will have price pressure on the polyethylene side, while the shorter-mid term PP market is in a different position. Hence we are looking at a number of investments including the PDH [propane dehydrogenation plant] in Belgium.”

According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, a period of excessive oversupply is expected in the global polyethylene market between 2017 and 2023. On the other hand the global polypropylene market is expected to remain tight through 2022 and be in deficit through 2026.

Another 12.4 million mt of PP capacity will be needed from 2023 for the market to achieve adequate balance and keep pace with demand.

At the conference, much has been said about the expected ample availability of LPG in the US, and the value of feedstock flexibility in exploring margin growth.

Cracking lighter feedstock yields less propylene leading to increased global emphasis on on-purpose propylene production.

Most European crackers use naphtha to produce propylene.

In November, Borealis said it would soon move to the front-end engineering and design phase for a new PDH plant to produce propylene from propane after successfully concluding the pre-FEED phase in June.

The plant, with a propylene production capacity of 740,000 mt/year, will be built at the Borealis production site in Kallo, Belgium.

Start-up of the plant is scheduled for the beginning of 2022.

The building of a PDH plant in Europe would allow Borealis to capitalize on using propane’s cost advantage as a feedstock.

–Daved Chohan, daved.chohan@spglobal.com
–Edited by Jonathan Dart, jonathan.dart@spglobal.com

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