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The US butadiene market saw demand stand at 1.9 million tons last year - compared to the 1.6 million tons the country produced. Demand within the market has been forecast to hit 2.4 million tons by 2020, while butadiene yield will climb at a slower rate, reaching 1.9 million tons by the end of the decade.
The relatively recent and intense exploitation of US natural gas reserves is resulting in an increased dependence on butadiene imports. The disparity between butadiene production and demand will climb in the near future as the US moves away from crude oil and naphtha to the increasingly cheap natural gas.
The percentage of C4 hydrocarbons required for the production of butadiene is very low in natural gas compared to crude oil or naphtha. As a result, growing demand will necessarily require a boost in imports.
The next four years in particular are expected to be relatively bleak in terms of butadiene production growth. Beyond that period, a number of on-purpose technologies are currently in development, possibly boosting overall production.
However, it will take some time for these to emerge as a viable alternative supply option.
The US imported 329,118 tons of butadiene last year, with Canada, South Korea, Netherlands, China, the UK and Germany the leading suppliers. The number of imports within the US butadiene market has been forecast to rise to 524,916 tons by 2020.
For more information on the US butadiene market, see the latest research: US Butadiene Market
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