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Petrochemical industry is changing quietly in the industrial pattern; experts give suggestions on the hot issues



It is the substantive implementation stage in the development plan of the petrochemical industry in the "Thirteenth Five-Year Plan". Raw material supply, technical capacity, market demand, industry policies and so on are experiencing a series of new changes.

It is the substantive implementation stage in the development plan of the petrochemical industry in the "Thirteenth Five-Year Plan". Raw material supply, technical capacity, market demand, industry policies and so on are experiencing a series of new changes. The industry pattern is to change quietly. In this context, what new problems are the oil refining, olefins, and aromatics industries facing? How to view these problems and how to solve them? At the petrochemical industry meticulous development meeting held on May 24, 2017 in Puyang, China, experts offered their suggestions.


Overcapacity and the intensifying competitions of the refined oil market are the main problems facing the oil refining industry. In this regard, vice president of the China National Petroleum and Chemical Planning Institute, Bai Yi, proposed the following suggestions: due to the large shortage in the aromatic hydrocarbons, olefins and other chemical raw materials, it has become an unavoidable trend for some oil refining enterprises to experience the transformation from the "fuel type" to the "chemical type". In the current period, it is not advisable for domestic refining bases and enterprises to take refinery products or businesses as the development goal. Refining enterprises should improve the proportions of olefin, aromatics and other basic chemical raw material products as much as possible, to provide raw material support of high quality for the downstream, thus driving the entire industry to improve quality and efficiency, transformation and upgrading. At the same time, he also reminded the enterprises that, from refining to chemical transformation, it requires not only heavy capital investments, but also in-depth study of the transformation of products and industries. Specific products must be given specific analysis.

The problem of the olefins industry mainly lies in raw materials. Compared with foreign cheap ethane raw materials, the domestic naphtha cracking is at a disadvantageous position in terms of cost. Bai Yi believed that it is necessary to promote the light weight of raw materials, and build a pattern of diversified raw materials. Specifically speaking, it is advisable to explore the feasibility of developing ethane/light hydrocarbon cracking ethylene, methane to olefins, or propane dehydrogenation to propylene by increasing the use of light raw materials such as refinery light hydrocarbon, oil field light hydrocarbon, condensate oil and recovery gas, and by seeking and relying on overseas light raw material resources. He also advised to highlight the diversified development characteristics of the downstream products of olefin, fully explore the deep processing potentials of naphtha steam cracking unit C4, C5, C9 and other by-products, to achieve the differentiation based competitions with other raw material routes.

The aromatics industry will have to adjust the layout, combined with the coordinated development of refinery and petrochemical integration. Domestic aromatic demand is large, but its capacity is largely affected by the refining capacity and the operating rate. Due to the overcapacity of China's refining industry, the aromatic production capacity in the short term will not grow too fast. The supply gaps of PX and the like will still exist. Refining and chemical enterprises should reasonably determine the first and second refining solutions and the PX scale. It is not advisable to increase the refinery scale or excessively turn the heavy oil into the light in order to pursue a larger PX scale. The refinery and petrochemical integrated solution for olefins, aromatics and oils is recommended, to achieve the reasonable proportion and processing scale.

Yang Yuanyi, vice chairman of the Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China believes that the high-end orientation is an important symbol for the petrochemical industry to achieve upgrades. At present, petrochemical enterprises in Europe, the United States, Japan and South Korea have been a step ahead in this aspect, while the self-sufficiency rate of China's high-end petrochemical materials is only about 60%, far from meeting the demand. To this end, China proposed the high-end upgrade target of petrochemical products in the "Thirteenth Five Year Plan" period. 20 kinds of iconic high-end petrochemical products are to achieve industrialization. At present, progress has been made in this regard. For example, Zhejiang University is doing industrial tests of the polyolefin elastomer POE; Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry, China Textile Academy and others have developed UPE/UHMWPE. In addition, the development of dynamically vulcanized elastomer TPV, PBT/spandex, PB-1, PPS, PI and other high-end products is also advancing.

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