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Argus DeWitt launches benzene annual

Houston, 11 March 2014

Global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus has announced the launch of the “2012/2013 Argus DeWitt Benzene Annual”. The annual publication provides a comprehensive overview of global supply and demand fundamentals, trade patterns and balances for benzene and key derivatives.

The past year has seen record benzene prices amid extreme price volatility owing to the lack of benzene feedstocks. The 2012/2013 Argus DeWitt Benzene Annual places this trend in context while providing detailed supply and demand forecasts for benzene and styrene out to 2017.

The report offers an insightful overview of the latest market trends. Shale oil and gas developments have generated cost advantages for US refining, olefins production and manufacturing in general. But greater use of lighter refining and cracker feeds led to reduced benzene production in 2012. This in turn boosted imports of benzene and benzene-rich feedstocks, which contributed to higher benzene prices and increased market volatility in 2013.

Amid the excitement surrounding the shale boom in the US, the report finds that benzene markets will face changes going forward as extraction feeds remain in short supply globally and tightness in the styrene markets will support benzene prices.

The 2012/2013 Argus DeWitt Benzene Annual also identifies a number of key trends that will have an impact on global markets and supply dynamics in the 2014-17 forecast period, including:

  • Global operating rates for benzene production units will remain under 70pc over the next three years because of a lack of extraction feedstocks. The shortage of feedstocks is likely to become more acute as ethylene producers in western Europe and Asia-Pacific switch to light feedstocks. Benzene production is forecast to grow by 1.8pc/yr in 2014-17.
  • New paraxylene capacity in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East will add additional supplies of co-product benzene into the global market.
  • Demand growth for benzene will be strongest in the aniline/MDI and cumene/phenol chains and most of that growth will occur in Asia-Pacific.
  • Little new styrene capacity will be added in the forecast period, and US styrene producers are expected to export to all regions. Those styrene exports will require additional benzene imports, which could surpass 1.7mn t in 2015.
Argus Media chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks said: “We are pleased to announce the launch of the 2012/2013 Argus DeWitt Benzene Annual. The publication offers critical analysis for anyone with interest in the long-term prospects of the often volatile global benzene market.

Argus, through its purchases of DeWitt and Jim Jordan & Associates (JJ&A) offers a full range of international petrochemical services. Argus DeWitt reports cover global trade and pricing for aromatics, olefins, butadiene, methanol, MTBE, hydrocarbon resins and other petrochemicals. Argus DeWitt publishes nearly 200 price references, which are widely used for benchmark pricing and analytical purposes. In addition to reports, Argus DeWitt provides consulting services and publishes multi-client studies.

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About Argus Media
Argus is an independent media organization with almost 600 full time staff. It is headquartered in London and has offices in each of the world’s principal commodity centers. Its main activities comprise publishing market reports containing price assessments, market commentary and news, and business intelligence reports that analyze market and industry trends.

More than half of Argus employees are commodity journalists who specialize in reporting news and price information relating to physical energy and related commodity markets. They operate according to a rigorous Editorial Code of Conduct and a compliance and ethics Policy that align with best journalistic practice, including the avoidance of conflicts of interest.

Argus is a leading provider of data on prices and fundamentals, news, analysis, consultancy services and conferences for the global crude, oil products, natural gas, electricity, coal, emissions, bioenergy, fertilizer, petrochemical, metals and transportation industries. Data provided by Argus are widely used for indexation of physical trade. Companies, governments and international agencies use Argus information for analysis and planning purposes.

Argus has 19 offices globally, including London, Houston, Washington, New York, Calgary, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Dubai, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow, Astana and other key centers of the commodity industries. Argus was founded in 1970 and is a privately held UK-registered company.