Transparency Market Research has identified that the global market for ethylene is moderately fragmented, with the top five players accounting for 57.9% share in 2013. The five players are: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), The Dow Chemical Company, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell plc, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec Corporation). Most of the companies operating in the global ethylene market are prominent names in petrochemical industries with dedicated manufacturing technologies along with experience and expertise to manufacture ethylene.
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The ethylene market is characterized by joint ventures and strategic agreements. For instance, in March 2014, The Dow Chemical Company announced that its joint venture with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. of Japan had successfully initiated full-scale, commercial production. In August 2014, Borealis AG signed an agreement with DuPont Holding Netherlands for purchasing the company’s 67% shareholding in Speciality Polymers Antwerp, while the year before, SABIC and Royal Dutch Shell plc had announced the plans for expansion of several projects at sadaf. The global market for ethylene is projected to reach a valuation of US$234.2 bn by 2020.
Asia Pacific to Sustain Surging Demand
The global ethylene market is segmented on the basis of application and end user. By application, the market is segmented into polyethylene, ethylene oxide, ethylene benzene, ethylene dichloride, and others including vinyl acetate and alpha olefins. In terms of volume, polyethylene is the most significant segment but the demand for ethylene oxide is anticipated to expand at the healthiest CAGR during the forecast period, reaching an overall market share of 12.9%. The rising demand for ethylene derivatives in packaging and other industries is likely to drive the global ethylene market in the next few years.
By end user, the market is segmented into packaging, automotive, construction, agrochemical, textile and others including soaps and detergents. Packaging is expected to remain the most prominent market segment. Geographically, Asia Pacific dominates the demand for ethylene in the global market and is expected to sustain the demand during the forecast period.
Automotive Industries Escalating Demand
The global ethylene market is primarily driven by increasing demand for ethylene in packaging, which is considered one of the most important marketing aspects that influence consumer’s purchasing decision. Construction industry is another potent consumer for ethylene market, readily utilizing ethylene derivatives such as ethylene dichloride, polyethylene, and ethyl benzene in a wide range of application. Increasing demand in automotive applications is also predicted to drive the global ethylene market.
Conversely, volatility in prices of crude oil, which is the basic building block for the production of ethylene and its derivatives such as ethane, propane, butane, naphtha, and gas oil, is expected to negatively impact the overall growth in the global market for ethylene. Moreover, regulatory issues are anticipated to act as restraints for the market as commonly used ethylene derivatives such as ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol are harmful chemical substances.
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According to the author of the report, “Currently, ethylene is manufactured through a highly energy-intensive process which involves two steps: recovery of ethane from natural gas and refinery streams and the thermal cracking of ethane in the presence of steam. In next few years, mass production of ethylene by process of catalytic oxydehydrogenation is expected to act as an opportunity for global ethylene market.”
The information presented in this review is based on a Transparency Market Research report, titled, “Ethylene Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 - 2020.”
Key Segments of the Global Ethylene Market
Global Ethylene Market: By Application
- Ethylene oxide
- Ethylene benzene
- Ethylene dichloride
- Others (including vinyl acetate and alpha olefins)
Global Ethylene Market: By End-user
- Others (including soaps & detergents)
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