Feedstock Economics for Global Steam Crackers

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Alternative Feedstocks Ethylene Plants
Pavone, T. McCormack, G.
The high level of current profitability within the petrochemical industry has spurred an unprecedented number of announcements of new global capacity. Many of the announcements have been made by organizations with no previous background in petrochemicals, who believe they possess strategic competitive advantages for success in the business. The choice of cracking feedstocks has a tremendous impact on the future economic success of the venture. Feedstock determines the two major economic variables in ethylene plants: first cost and operating cost. For any particular ethylene plant design capacity, there is a range in investment cost, driven primarily by the choice of feedstock. In addition, feedstock costs represent over two-thirds of plant operating costs. This study presents the results of SRI work on determining the economics of ethylene plants based upon five alternative feedstocks, and then modifying the data for 10 global regions in which significant new ethylene capacity has been announced. The five feedstocks considered are: ethane, propane, butane, wide range naphtha, and atmospheric gas oil. The 10 regions considered in the study are the US Gulf Coast, Brazil, Western Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, and West Germany. The business climate considered in the study is the second half of 1989, and the market prices used for feedstock, utilities, products and labor represent average contract prices during the fourth quarter of 1989. 
Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.eslwin.tamu.edu) 
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