Benzene, an aromatic hydrocarbon, is extracted from crude oil through refinery processes. Most common way of producing benzene is by steam cracking of naphtha, which is followed by its extractive distillation. Another process is that of hydroalkylation of toluene. Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid.
Benzene is used to manufacture other chemicals like nitrobenzene, cumene, alkyl benzene, cyclohexane, phenol, aniline, chlorobenzene, ethyl benzene, etc. Due to its high octane number, benzene is a key additive to gasoline. Ethyl benzene derivatives are adopted in the manufacture of tyres and other components in the automotive industry. Therefore, growth in automotive sector has a positive impact on demand for benzene.
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Ethyl benzene is an important feedstock for styrene. Growing styrene demand from consumers like paint & coatings, and foams & films will fuel growth of the benzene market. Positive outlook on other leading end-user industries like textiles, construction, and electrical & electronics will also prove favorable. Cumene is used to make acetone and phenol. Phenol is a chief raw material in the manufacture of foams, polycarbonate and epoxy resins. High consumption of phenol and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate is another growth contributor.
Volumes in the global and Chinese benzene industry are projected to exceed 45 million metric tons by 2020. The estimated CAGR would be about 3% from 2016 to 2020. The market may be restrained by concerns over adverse effects of benzene on environment and human health. Stringent regulations in Europe and North America are inhibiting demand. Fluctuations in prices of crude oil influence growth of benzene market.
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On the basis of applications, the market may be segmented into specialty chemicals, textile, transportation, and building & construction. With leading manufacturers shifting their operations in developing markets like China and India, Asia Pacific should dominate world production by 2020. China and Japan were the leading regional consumers of benzene and its derivatives.
Key players in the global and Chinese benzene industry are Sinopec Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Evonik Industries, and Dow Chemical Company. Other well-known vendors include BASF SE, PetroChina Company Ltd., Ineos Group, and Chevron Philips Chemical Company LP. The market is characterized by stiff competition. Participants engage in extensive research to develop products with better quality and properties.
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