Published December 2020
Ethylene oxide (EO) is a basic chemical primarily produced by the catalytic oxidation of ethylene. EO is a chemical intermediate that cannot be directly used and is further reacted to produce a wide spectrum of products. Ethylene glycols (mono-, di-, triethylene glycol) constitute by far the single-largest outlet for ethylene oxide, accounting for over 80% of the EO market in 2020. Other dominant end uses include higher-value derivatives such as ethoxylates, ethanolamines, glycol ethers, polyethylene glycol, and polyether polyols.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of ethylene oxide:
Between the late 1990s and the late 2000s, North America lost significant momentum on the back of new large-scale EO capacity commissioned in the Middle East and Northeast Asia. In the United States, EO/EG producers lost their competitive edge because of higher raw material costs and aging production units.
The advent of shale gas production in the region has changed the fate of the US and North American petrochemical industry. Natural gas liquids coproduced along with natural gas (ethane and propane, essentially) are now competitively priced feedstock readily available for the petrochemical industry. As a result, the new petrochemical project pipeline has significantly picked up in North America and new EO capacity will be started through 2025.
World consumption of EO is dominated by Northeast Asia (primarily mainland China). During the forecast period to 2025, Northeast Asia will continue to dominate worldwide consumption, but significant large-scale EO/EG projects in North America will help boost North American EO demand strongly through 2025.
For more detailed information, see the table of contents, shown below.
IHS Markit’s Chemical Economics Handbook –Ethylene Oxide is the comprehensive and trusted guide for anyone seeking information on this industry. This latest report details global and regional information, including
IHS Markit’s Chemical Economics Handbook –Ethylene Oxide has been compiled using primary interviews with key suppliers and organizations, and leading representatives from the industry in combination with IHS Markit’s unparalleled access to upstream and downstream market intelligence and expert insights into industry dynamics, trade, and economics.
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