In the future, the survival and development of domestic coal-to-ethylene glycol projects will suffer major setbacks


Once one of the "leaders" of the new coal chemical industry, coal glycol is now in an unprecedented predicament. On the one hand, the continuous decline in crude oil prices in 2015 has had a very great impact on the entire coal-to-ethylene glycol industry, making the cost advantage of coal-to-ethylene glycol over ethylene glycol almost disappear. On the other hand, the public dispute over the environmental protection of coal chemical industry caused by the haze problem has become increasingly fierce, resulting in a series of national industrial policies tightening. To make matters worse, after several years, the coal-to-ethylene glycol demonstration device has not been able to successfully reach the production standard. What will be the future of coal to ethylene glycol? A variety of unpredictable signs can not help but let the industry began to look at this former new coal chemical industry with a skeptical eye.

Although the industry is not very optimistic about coal to ethylene glycol, but there are still many people in the industry who are still optimistic about its development prospects.

The future of coal to ethylene glycol is bleak

The College of Chemical Engineering of Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology said that according to the comprehensive cost calculation, coal glycol can only have a competitive advantage with ethylene method when the crude oil price is above 80 US dollars/barrel. Although most of the domestic coal-to-ethylene glycol projects use lignol with lower prices as raw materials, and most of the project owners are large-scale coal enterprises in transformation, the early investment of coal-to-ethylene glycol equipment is large, and the technology is not fully mature, can not run at full load, and the equipment depreciation cost is high, which weakens its cost advantage. If the oil price predicted by market participants in the past two years will hover around 70 to 80 US dollars/barrel, and the coal price has stabilized and rebounded, then the future survival and development of domestic coal glycol projects will suffer a major setback.

At present, the main technical bottleneck of coal-to-ethylene glycol is the impurity content and the ultraviolet transmittance of the product, which can not fully meet the requirements of polyester grade. Because the technology is not mature, the sales market of coal to ethylene glycol can only be 10% of the downstream market of ethylene glycol resin, antifreeze and other low-end markets.

Yanchang Petroleum Group said that because the quality can not meet the polyester standard, coal ethylene glycol can only be mixed with petroleum ethylene glycol in a low proportion. If it can not successfully enter the polyester market, coal glycol can be said to have no market prospects, and its so-called cost advantage compared with ethylene method is meaningless.

China Chemical Council said that affected by the global economic downturn, China's garment exports have been and will continue to face greater pressure, polyester demand growth will also slow down, and prices will continue to move down, will eventually lead to ethylene glycol price reduction, compressing the profit margins of related enterprises.

Regarding the incomplete maturity of coal to ethylene glycol technology and the promotion of industrialization projects, experts from East China University of Science and Technology and the School of Chemical Engineering of Northwest University pointed out that: First, the catalyst problem, which has been developed by many domestic research institutes, has problems to be solved, such as short life, precious metal component content and hot spot control in the reaction process; Second, whether the final product can reach the polyester grade has yet to be verified; Third, there is no accurate technical and economic evaluation and environmental assessment, and the extent of competitiveness needs to be carefully tested. Therefore, the future development of the industry still needs further research and testing, it is not suitable for large-scale promotion, and the focus is to do a good job of project demonstration.

Petrochina Lanzhou Chemical Research Center believes that the better basis for future expectations is mainly the large domestic supply gap. In 2015, the demand for ethylene glycol in China is expected to reach 15 million tons, while the actual production of the two process routes is only 6.6 million tons, a gap of 8.4 million tons, and the self-sufficiency rate is less than 50%. In the next few years, the situation of high dependence on ethylene glycol is difficult to change in the short term.

Henan Energy Chemical Group Luoyang Company revealed that the impact of the ethylene law does exist, but from the domestic point of view, the new capacity of the naphtha route integration device in the next few years is very limited, and the market will not be very large. According to statistics, from 2014 to 2015, only about 1.3 million tons of ethylene glycol in the domestic ethylene method was put into operation, while the new capacity of coal to ethylene glycol will reach 4 million tons, which is three times as much. At the same time, ethylene glycol in foreign countries, especially in the Middle East, is restricted by trade policy measures such as freight and tariffs in China, and its price into China may not have an absolute advantage. In addition, although the price of ethylene glycol has plunged and the ethylene method has been pressed, at present, the gross profit of coal to ethylene glycol is still 500 yuan/ton. In the long run, the global economic stagflation pattern is bound to reverse, oil prices with the macroeconomic recovery climbed to 80 US dollars/barrel, the recovery of economic normalcy is the trend of The Times, then coal glycol can gradually replace imports, ushering in the golden development period.

Danhua Technology Company, which has been expanding its production capacity, is quite optimistic about the market prospects of coal-to-ethylene glycol. It is believed that the domestic rich coal lack of oil and gas, the relative shortage of crude oil resources, and international oil prices can not have been falling, long-term oil prices are bullish, in this context, coal glycol as a key support project in the revitalization of petrochemical planning, the future market potential will gradually appear with the rise in oil prices.

With the support of the strategic pilot Science and Technology project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Major scientific problem orientation project and the national "973" program, the Institute has developed a complete set of second-generation coal-to-glycol technology with complete intellectual property rights, including new high-efficiency and low-cost catalysts, technologies and new technological processes. Compared with the first generation technology, the second generation of coal to ethylene glycol technology further optimizes the process flow, realizes the reduction of the catalyst precious metal load and the replacement of toxic metals, the catalyst performance and life have been greatly improved, the cost has been greatly reduced, and the environmental protection of the technology has been greatly improved.

(Source: China Investment Advisory Network)