Primary Petrochemicals in the GCC: Toluene Market Tracker
The study provides market information on one of the largest petrochemical regions, which is important for understanding the global market from a strategic perspective. The study enlists key manufacturers and their production capacities for toluene in the GCC along with a brief market overview and projected capacity expansions. Trade statistics for 2012 and price trends from 2008 to 2012 have been provided with a detailed analysis. The study includes a brief commentary on the major applications globally, key insights and future growth prospects for toluene.
Toluene is currently being produced only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). SAFRA, Eastern Petrochemical Company (Sharq), and Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (YANSAB) are the only producers of toluene.
Toluene is primarily used as a precursor to benzene in the GCC, thus a significant part of the total production of toluene does not reach merchant markets. The substantial volume of local demand in the GCC is met through imports.
The demand for toluene is also influenced by benzene production, where toluene can be converted into benzene by hydro-dealkylation. In the merchant market, local production and imports of Toluene are directed towards the solvents industry, for use in paints, adhesives, and other uses.
Major part of the toluene imports into the GCC countries is from Asia, however, the trade within the GCC countries is negligible. UAE, however, re-exports Toluene to Asian countries, whereas the exports from the local manufacturing facilities in the KSA are insignificant.
Local demand for toluene through its derivatives is growing in the GCC countries, with the KSA expected to lead the demand by 2015. One of the primary drivers is the rapidly evolving Polyurethane industry.
The GCC countries currently import Toluene diisocyanate (TDI), one of the major derivatives of toluene and a basic feedstock in the manufacture of Polyurethane. Looking at the growth potential of the isocyanates, SABIC plans to bring on stream a world-scale isocyanates complex in the KSA by 2015.
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