Isoprene Status And Development Trend

- Aug 09, 2018 -

Isoprene is an extremely important chemical raw material, mainly extracted from cracked C5 light fraction. Currently, isoprene is mainly used to produce synthetic rubber and some fine chemicals after being separated. With the continuous development of the domestic isoprene industry, the application field is also expanding, but the current major domestic parade is not optimistic, the market growth is weak, and it is urgent to seek new industry growth points.


China's isoprene capacity continues to expand

By the end of June 2018, China's effective production capacity of isoprene reached about 355,000 tons. The production capacity in the past decade has increased rapidly, with an average annual growth rate of 9.86%. The largest production unit for isoprene is the 300,000 tons/year carbon five separation unit of Huizhou Ikesi, which was put into operation in June this year. Zhejiang Petrochemical has also proposed to build a 300,000 tons/year carbon five separation unit.


In 2011-2014, China's isoprene exports were basically stable at 60,000-70,000 tons, and since 2015, exports for three consecutive years have fallen by more than 20%. In 2016, the annual export volume dropped to 36,000 tons. In 2016, the record of zero imports was broken, with an import volume of 13,000 tons and a net export (export-import) volume of 23,000 tons. In 2017, the import and export of isoprene staged a “big reversal”, which changed from a net export to a net import. According to customs data, the export volume is 30,000 tons, the import volume is 32,000 tons, and the net export (export-import) is -0.2 million tons.


In the situation of rapid growth of isoprene production capacity in China, the import volume of isoprene is still increasing significantly. According to relevant analysis, the first one is that the Korean YNCC and Lotte Chemical C5 separation unit were put into operation in 2016, bringing stable and low. The source of the price. In 2017, imports from South Korea accounted for as much as 85%. The second is the application of downstream SIS production growth and pesticide intermediates. The output of SIS increased from 94,000 tons in 2016 to 102,000 in 2017, the output increased by 8.5%, and the demand for isoprene was about 0.7 million tons. Pesticide intermediates also contribute to the annual consumption of isoprene. According to incomplete statistics, the amount of pesticide intermediates in 2017 was around 15,000 tons.


 Elastomers will become the main area of growth

The main downstream applications of isoprene are in rubber elastomers, curing agents, pharmaceuticals, fragrances and pesticides. From the perspective of the global market, the market for high-purity isoprene is growing in the elastomer field (SIS/SEPS/SIBR/IIR), with its main uses concentrated in the automotive, packaging, medical and disposable hygiene products sectors.


In May 2017, a research report issued by market research firm Smithers Pira, based in Leatherhead, England, showed that the global thermoplastic elastomer market will climb at an annual rate of more than 5% in the next five years. The automotive industry is the main end-use sector, and the growth rate of medical and packaging applications will also be higher than the average growth rate in each region. China started late in terms of elastomers and has made some developments in recent years. In 2017, China's SIS production capacity was 150,000 tons, the output was 102,000 tons, and the operating rate was around 68%. In 2017, Baling Petrochemical's 20,000 tons/year SEPS plant was successfully put into operation. Become the third company in the world to produce SEPS.