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How 3 key trends are reshaping China's olefin industry

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11 March 2021

How 3 key trends are reshaping China's olefin industry

Report summary

China is diversifying its ethylene production by technology, feedstock and ownership. Thanks to massive investment, the country’s ethylene self-sufficiency will improve from 58% in 2020 to 83% in 2025 and ethylene equivalent imports will be largely reduced. China's leading petrochemical plants are growing bigger and stronger, which will force some smaller, outdated and uneconomical oil refineries and chemical plants out of business. From an economic perspective, China’s CTO, gas crackers and integrated refinery and petrochemical complexes can compete with US ethane crackers. While MTO investment has stalled, CTO capacity is becoming more concentrated among a few players – even though the pace of development has slowed. As a result of this round of development and rationalisation, we expect China’s overall position in the global petrochemical industry to only improve. This is a challenge to the wider olefins industry for which China has traditionally been a key export market.

Table of contents

  • Executive summary
  • Changes on China’s olefin horizon
  • Integrated refinery and petrochemical plants disrupting the olefins production route
  • Gas cracking making its mark in China
  • MTO investment stalling, CTO giants emerging
  • Global implications

Tables and charts

This report includes 6 images and tables including:

  • China steam cracker projects in 2021-2025
  • China's ethylene self-sufficiency
  • China gas cracker plants
  • Annual olefin capacity addition from MTO
  • Olefin capacity from major CTO producers
  • Ethylene cost and margin by 2025: oil price scenario at US$80/bbl

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    How 3 key trends are reshaping China's olefin industry

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